Published on 28/06/2021
Climate Hackathon NatWest Aston University Birmingham


  • Aston University, alongside four other universities in Birmingham are teaming up with NatWest’s Climate Hackathon
  • Students can join forces to develop green and sustainable ideas for business
  • Part of NatWest’s commitment to championing climate solutions

Five of Birmingham’s universities are being brought together as students join forces to develop ideas for green and sustainable business practices as part of NatWest’s Climate Hackathon.

Developed as part of NatWest’s commitment to championing climate solutions and the push towards a low-carbon future, the event will be delivered as part of the bank’s Business Builder and Climate Accelerator programme.

Around 50 students and alumni across BSEEN (a start-up support programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, led by Aston University in partnership with Birmingham City University, Newman University and University College Birmingham) and The University of Birmingham, will be invited to take part in the two-day interactive event on 7- 8 July.

The students will be challenged in teams to develop innovative, green-focused business solutions aimed at fostering sustainable behaviours for life, during higher and further education. With the guidance of NatWest’s Enterprise team, they will then take their idea through to business modelling, proof of concept, prototyping and to market, with the event culminating in a pitching workshop.

A panel discussion will also take place on day one, supported by senior stakeholders in the city’s climate affairs..

The main aim of the Climate Hackathon will be to encourage the development of new ideas and innovations that provide a positive impact on the world’s fight against climate change. It is hoped that many of the ideas formed during the challenge will be taken further by the students, either via their university studies or through the NatWest Climate Accelerator programme.

At the end of the second day, teams taking part will be invited to submit a completed business overview and 60-second pitch for consideration. The winning team will receive funding from the universities, to deliver a MVP (minimal viable product) as well as secure a place on the NatWest’s Climate Accelerator programme.

Josh Winfield, Regional Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “I am humbled that all five of the city’s universities are uniting in support of our Climate Hackathon. Open and available to anybody with a desire to combat climate change, we’ll not only be keeping a climate focus but developing enterprise and leadership skills too.

“With the winning entry being able to access our Climate Accelerator programme, I am excited by the fact that we’re at the nucleus of some fantastic concepts and who’s to say we’re not on the precipice of a world-beating, Birmingham-based climate solution.”

Jodie Bird, Entrepreneurial Skills Officer at The University of Birmingham, said: “The Climate Hackathon will be a great opportunity for our students to develop and further their Entrepreneurial skills and mindset, whilst contributing towards the fight against Climate Change”

Carolyn Keenan, Project Manager for BSEEN said “The BSEEN project recognises the huge importance of tackling climate change issues now. That is why we are committed to running the climate change hackathon in partnership with NatWest, to encourage our incredibly innovative students and recent graduates to create and develop new ideas”.

NatWest is committed to playing a key part in tackling climate change. As part of this, at least 25% of the spaces in the bank’s 12 UK wide entrepreneurial accelerators, which support around 1,000 entrepreneurs a year, will be dedicated to supporting climate-focussed businesses.


Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.


Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world.


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About NatWest


NatWest serves customers in England and Wales, supporting them with their personal, private, and business banking needs. NatWest helps customers at all stages in their lives, from opening student accounts, to buying their first home, setting up a business, and saving for retirement.


Alongside a wide range of banking services, NatWest offers businesses specialist sector knowledge in areas such as manufacturing and technology, as well as access to specialist entrepreneurial support.


NatWest has been running MoneySense, an impartial financial education programme for 5–18 year-olds, for more than 21 years. By the end of 2018, NatWest will help another 1 million young people to understand and take control of their finances.


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