International Women's Day 2020

 

International Women's day fell on 8th March 2020, with the theme 'Each for Equal'. This aims to challenge gender stereotypes and bias to make the world a fairer place for everyone. 

At CuanTec, we have an even split of men and women across the company, from the board to our scientists, women are represented at all levels. We recognise this doesn't happen everywhere are really proud to have reached this. 

Our CEO, Dr Cait Murray-Green has written this blog post talk about CuanTec's achievements and how our approach helps to create equal opportunities for women and men:

 

"CuanTec is a brave company. We are deliberating challenging norms and boundaries and when the world tells us we “can’t do it like that” we come back with a very strong “Why not?”.

We didn't set out specific gender targets to have representation from women throughout the company. We have instead set out to find the best people for any given job or task and been very welcoming of all applications and selected those that fit our team and needs best.

As far as gender is concerned we have an equal board of directors and we have an equal split on overall employees and in our scientific team.  That is unusual for a technology company and we are proud to have created an environment where all people feel equal and can see that there are no glass-ceilings.

I think part of this achievement comes from the philosophy and position of CuanTec within the BioEconomy area. We are not a profit-focussed Pharma or Oil company. We are, in our nature, wanting to develop ourselves as a company working in harmony with sustainable raw materials. We are creating products which perform to high technical standards but which have a final end of life that provides nutrition back to the environment.

The company personality is co-operative, gentle and hospitable - it could be argued that we are naturally more “feminine” to our approach to the way we operate internally and the business models that we implement. Perhaps that is behind our gender balance success?

I’d like to think it was also partly because we are creating technology solutions that are exciting and necessary and give us all hope that we really can make plastic pollution history - something everyone should be involved in.

 

Cait"

IBioIC Annual Conference

On the 5th and 6th February 2020, CuanTec attended the IBioIC Conference held at the University of Strathclyde. This was a fantastic event bringing together many people from different aspects of the BioEconomy.

The event was kicked off by Vivian Parry encouraging the biotech sector to get their messages out there – not by shouting facts at people but by engaging more with the public and building trust. We must not get bogged down with the specific facts or become preachy, but instead tell our story. We have solutions to help improve the world from several angles including healthcare and environment. We must create our own narrative before others do.

The rest of the two days were filled with lots of talk from various people who are a part of the bioeconomy. This included a showcase of IBioIC members, helping business to grow, talks about public engagement and policy as well as the wonderful work IBioIC carries out to encourage young people to become involved in STEM including their HND support, MSc, Internships and PhD programmes. There were lots of opportunities for networking and meetings throughout the two days which proved to be very useful for lots of attendees.

CuanTec also participated in the conference. Head of Science Tracy took part in a session about the Bioeconomy in Ayr and CEO Cait spoke about CuanTec is battling foodwaste. The session about Food Waste was full of small companies with fantastic ideas to combat one of the world’s biggest issues.

The outcome of the conference was one of real hope – Scotland has many innovative solutions to a number of issues facing the world. From food waste to fashion, our bioeconomy is growing every day. We must continue to encourage future generations to pursue their ideas and engage with the public about what the bioeconomy is and how we can help solve world problems.

It's Our Birthday!

 

“3 years is a long time in business – at least the first 3 years are – hard work, emotionally and mentally tough, but very worthwhile.

90% of new businesses fail, and 60% of them collapse in the first 3 years – but here we are, still here and still making a noise about our ambitions and achievements. CuanTec is growing, succeeding and building a reputation as a leader in Circular Economy solutions and BioEconomy technologies.”


Cait Murray-Green, CEO, CuanTec

 

It really does feel amazing to say this – today is the 3rd anniversary of opening our first ever lab space. We have come a long way in that short space of time and looking back over our achievements so far fills us all with a great sense of pride and invigorates us for the challenges yet to come.

On 9th January 2017 we began with 3 employees in an empty lab in MediCity, Glasgow. Now, we have 2 equipped labs across Glasgow and Oban with 13 employees including 8 fantastic full-time laboratory scientists.

The ability to move so quickly has been largely due to support from several investors. We have won substantial funding from many different sources, including HIGGS Edge award (Scottish Edge) Sky Ocean Ventures, Scottish Investment Bank and most recently Co-innovate, administered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

In late summer 2018, we caught the attention of one of the UK’s largest supermarkets after winning John Lewis and Partners pitching competition, JLAB. The support from Waitrose has been invaluable for bringing our product forward. We are very excited to continue working with them over the next year and bring CuanSave to market by 2021.

 

Cait presenting our CuanSave prototypes to HRH Prince Charles after our success at JLAB competition

"Waitrose wish CuanTec a Happy 3rd Birthday. We're delighted to have been able to work with them on an exciting development - a new film for food packaging potentially made out of waste langoustine shells.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with CuanTec and celebrating our successes together in the future."   

- Nikki Grainge, Partner and Packaging Development Manager, Waitrose

 

2019 saw us being recognized as Research Business and Start Up of the Year by the Herald Pioneer Awards. Over the past few years we have been awarded quite a few awards including Best Blue Biotechnology 2018 at Scottish Enterprise Awards and winning the Innovation award at the Nature of Scotland Award in the same year. We are hugely proud of our achievements and are delighted when other people recognize this too, especially when you consider the tough competition we have been up against. Looking forward, we have already been nominated in the Scottish Rural Awards 2020 for in the Innovation Category.

                                      

Some of our award successes through the years, and our finalist badge for the upcoming Scottish Rural Awards 

 We’ve caught the attention of the press, featuring on BBC Scotland (news), BBC Alba (news), STV (news) and Channel 4 (Food Unwrapped). We’ve also been in a number of publications including the Financial Times, The Scotsman, The National, British Plastics and Rubber Magazine, Impakter and The Advocate (part of GAA) just to name a few.

"It’s been tremendously exciting to cover CuanTec’s first years. The company has a strong story and a promising future – something I’ll be following closely as plastic pollution and sustainability battles become more urgent. CuanTec is passionate about its work and about communicating the science behind it to the layperson. That’s something else that helps set this innovative company apart and I can’t wait to see what the future brings."

- Kirsteen Paterson, The National 

 

Over the years we have built up relationships with many other small businesses across the UK such as Inverawe Smoke House, Fabulous Fish and FloGro Systems. Collaboration is vital to our business model and ethos of creating a circular economy. For example, FloGro Systems send us the shells shed from their prawns which we will formulate in packaging for them to then sell the prawns in – a great example of how businesses can work together in sharing knowledge and resources to find the value in ‘waste’ products and reuse it for another purpose.

 

"CuanTec is a brilliant example of scientific design providing an innovative solution to one of our biggest challenges amidst the climate change emergency debate! Their invention of a new material which can be used to create biodegradable plastic is the kind of progress which could entirely revolutionise the packaging industry by helping to use food waste from langoustines to create a solution to the single use plastics crisis. Thinking differently through design – whether it be engineering, scientific, product, systems or more conventional design – is going to be instrumental in helping generate new circular economy solutions and business models as we work towards a more sustainable economic growth approach which helps to combat the climate emergency.  Examples like this are just what is needed and we look forward to seeing many more new scientific design solutions emerging as CuanTec scale their business!"

-Alison McRae, Senior Director, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

 

The past 3 years have been phenomenal. There have been many challenges along the way that we have overcome and have made our successes that much more enjoyable. Looking forward 2020 is set to be another incredible year. We are set to finalise our formulation, complete our first scale up, open our pilot plant and begin production. We will be sending our finalised product for all relevant industry testing to ensure accreditation for the quality and health and safety of our product. This will lead to the creation of new jobs across our two current sites and at our pilot plant – watch out for further announcements! We also have a number of international events coming up such as conferences in Germany, China and potentially Canada.

 

“We are very proud to continue to support Cuantec’s mission to solve the plastic waste crisis through innovation over the next decade!

-Jamie Rowles, Head of Investment, Sky Ocean Ventures

    

Cait presenting at Our Ocean Wealth Summit 2019 along with Jamie Rowles from Sky Ocean Ventures. 

CuanTec along with the other companies Sky Ocean Ventures is working with to reduced plastic pollution.

 

We’d like to thank all supporters of CuanTec. From those who donated to our crowd funding, business investors, employee’s past and present and the public who believe it what we do and want us to succeed. We have a lot of work still to do in our mission to cut down on plastic pollution by replacing single use plastic food packaging. The next 12 months will be a lot of hard work, but we are ready. We are ready for the challenges, from overcoming technical issues to convincing huge corporations that their ‘take, make, dispose’ models are wrong and circular economies are the responsible way of moving forward. We are ready to help clean up our oceans and try to reverse the damages caused by human’s irresponsible activities. We are ready to promote new innovations to tackle climate change.

We’re ready to fight to protect our earth. We’re ready to make plastic pollution history. Are you?

 

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