UK: HS2 Ltd announced the launch of an ‘innovation accelerator’ programme on June 16 aimed at attracting start-ups and small businesses to put forward ideas to be incorporated into the first phase of the high speed line between London and the West Midlands.

The project promoter says the initiative focuses on three thematic challenges related to the HS2 programme: productivity, the environment, and the circular economy. An online portal will be opened for one month, after which time HS2 Ltd will chose five of the ideas submitted to take forward on the accelerator programme. The five winners will be provided with commercial and technical support and rent-free working space to develop their proposals. After six months of development, the concepts will then be pitched to industry investors and HS2 Ltd’s supply chain.

Launching the portal, HS2 Head of Innovation Howard Mitchell said ‘I encourage individuals and firms of all sizes, from start-ups and budding entrepreneurs to established businesses, to go online and share their ideas. The construction of HS2 will show the world the very best of British skills, innovation and ambition. We hope that the accelerator programme will both offer new ways of delivering HS2, but also generate new jobs, technology and opportunities.’