Luke Smith, who is founder and CEO of Seaweed Culture, is one of the final 100 businesses from across Great Britain aiming to take home a top award at the Santander X UK Awards.
The innovative and forward-thinking business, seeks to tackle climate change by reducing methane emissions in livestock through the introduction of seaweed as a part of the livestock diet, and is one of 60 businesses vying to win the Launch category at the Santander X UK Awards, where the national winner will take home a top prize of £15,000.
Luke developed his passion for supporting the environment whilst studying at the University of Lincoln, UK, and he identified seaweed as a unique method of helping the livestock industry to meet net-zero targets and create climate conscious products.
Luke, who received advice and funding from Student Enterprise throughout his start-up journey to support him, has developed a novel land-based cultivation system to grow a seaweed species not native to the UK.
When incorporating less than 0.2% of the chosen seaweed species into their daily diets, methane emissions were reduced by up to 95% in the selected cows, without changing the quality or taste of the produced meat or milk while also increasing productivity and reducing cost to the farmer.
Ahead of the pitching heats at the Oval in London on the 28th November, Luke is now taking part in an intensive, tailored business training programme. After making it through a field of 500 applications, to have made it down to the final 100 is a huge achievement in itself, but with the extra training Luke will be hoping to go all the way when the Award finalists are selected on the 28th.
Six businesses from the Launch category will be chosen to take part in the final the following day at London’s One Marylebone where the judging panel will be headed up by Santander UK CEO Mike Regnier.
Speaking about his progress in the Awards, Luke said: “Being part of the Santander X Cohort has really helped the business refine its approach moving forward. It has been a great opportunity to learn and strengthen our own understanding alongside supporting the business.”
Should Seaweed Culture bring home the award, it would add to the growing list of accolades which both Luke and the business have already secured. The company won the Environmental/Sustainable Business of the Year at the Lincolnshire Business Excellence Awards 2022, whilst Luke has previously been recognised as one of Lincolnshire’s 30 Under 30.
Luke has also delivered recently delivered a TEDx talk with TEDxBrayfordPool on seaweed tackling climate change in the livestock industry.