For the second time, HS2 is seeking five small firms (SMEs – small to medium-sized enterprises) to join its Innovation Accelerator programme.
An online application portal will be open for one month, after which time HS2 will choose five of the companies entered to take forward on the Innovation Accelerator. The winners will be asked to come up with innovative solutions on:
- How people can best spend time at stations before their train goes;
- How to optimise digital solutions for building HS2 to make every second count.
In return, the Accelerator will provide commercial and technical support and rent-free Birmingham-based working space where the winners can develop their proposals. After six months, solutions will be showcased and pitched to industry investors and HS2’s supply chain, which is made up of the thousands of suppliers.
The first tranche of innovators was chosen from 109 applicants and is now working on the challenges of productivity, environment and the circular economy. Ideas include 3D concrete printing and using automated drone technology to assist with the planting of seven million trees along the HS2 route.
Howard Mitchell, HS2’s head of innovation, said: “We received over 100 applications from innovative tech start-ups and SMEs to join Cohort One of HS2’s Innovation Accelerator programme, which beat all our expectations.
“The level of interest underlines the opportunity that HS2 offers to some of the most innovative and dynamic young firms in the country.
“I’m therefore extremely positive about the prospects for Cohort Two, and new thinking on how we build Britain’s new high-speed rail network and enable passengers to make best use of their time in our stations. “
The portal closes to applications on 18 September 2020. HS2 will announce the successful enterprises in the autumn.