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Latest News / Top Ten Innovators Awards: Spotlight on Amber Energy, SK Motor Syndicate and Caffé Letterario Artemisia


Bright energy management solutions, automotive services and cultural experiences are three innovative businesses to have each won Merit awards of US $5,000 in the Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators awards programme.

Amber Energy from the UK was started by Nick Proctor in 2009 to support businesses in the purchase and management of their energy, with the aim of increasing operational efficiency and implementing the most cost-effective use of resources. Providing consultancy and energy management solutions, Amber Energy sources suppliers, introduces initiatives to encourage energy conservation and implements renewable energy initiatives within their operations. Amber Energy has grown to employ 23 full time staff and is forecasting a net profit of £1.7m (US $2.4m), as turnover continues to grow by 70% per annum. Nick believes that innovation will enable him to push that 70% growth up to 100% growth over the next few years.

Commenting on the importance of innovation to the success of his business model, Nick said, “Our people, our values and our mission are what makes us different, but what makes us innovative is the way in which we have incorporated the latest technology into our service and solutions.

“Developing around our salesforce CRM, building our own app that lets business users see the changing position of their energy contracts on the live markets, and giving students rewards for using less energy has helped set us apart.”

Since it started in 2010, Amber Energy has delivered energy savings for its customers totalling £150m (US $219m).

Nick plans to use his award to help kick-start his new Energy Relief not-for-profit enterprise. This will support local and international charities, including electrifying Africa and to place access to power within an arm’s reach of everyone in the world.

SK Motor Syndicate from Pakistan is a vehicle restoration, modification and repairs company with a used car retail arm. By placing an emphasis on technology and innovation, the business’ founder, Shakaib Uzzaman Khan provides a unique range of services within the regional market through reprogramming and building circuits. Through links with global automotive parts vendors, Shakaib is able to offer clients services, the latest diagnostic tools and parts that can be used to maintain and prolong the life of their cars well after the original manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

Placing innovation at the heart of his business has enabled Shakaib to develop a competitive advantage in the local market. Services ranging from procuring engines from global vendors using Skype and giving customers service alerts via SMS, to reprogramming circuits to ensure replacement components and parts are compatible, ensure that Shakaib’s customers receive an unrivalled quality service.

Highlighting the importance of innovation to his business, Shakaib said, “Innovation and continuous improvement are key to success. Innovation is our USP, enabling us to save our customers time and money, and our links with automotive experts internationally ensures we do the job right first time. Innovation has enabled us to increase profits by 35% and to create jobs for 20 skilled people.

“I intend to establish a 24 hour one-stop-shop automotive centre, so everything anyone ever needs for a car repair is available at one point.”

Shakaib also plans to develop an Automotive R&D lab where electronic engineers can access the latest technology and develop their automotive repair skills.

SK Motor Syndicate works with a network of 18 local vendors, employing 75 people, and ultimately wants to expand throughout the country.

Since starting his business in 2011, Shakaib has become a figurehead for entrepreneurial achievement in the local area, speaking at universities and other high profile forums on his experiences, to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs.

Caffé Letterario Artemisia from Italy is a non-profit cultural space and café run by Domenico Pizzichillo. Operating since 2013, the business provides art, craft, music and educational services including running events such as training courses, creative workshops and conferences. In addition, the space provides catering focused on locally sourced healthy products with a low carbon footprint. Domenico has created a sustainable business model for cultivating cultural services within small, isolated towns and villages.

Explaining the key reasons behind the success of his business, Domenico said, “Providing high quality food and beverages at an affordable price, combined with easy access to a wide range of artistic and cultural events is important. Also, providing the opportunity for customers to participate in conferences, and training events in the arts and cultural sphere enables us to drive customer loyalty and enhance brand awareness.

“We provide a welcoming and comfortable space for lovers of good food, art, music and culture, and we offer a range of events to appeal to all ages and tastes. Also our membership scheme provides customers with access to a wide range of art and cultural attractions and various discounts with local businesses.”

Using communications technology and innovation within his business, Domenico has managed to provide a connection and focal point for lovers of art music and culture within Basilicata, creating greater social and cultural cohesion in what can be a fragmented and isolated rural region.

The Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators awards programme offers young entrepreneurs, who have shown success through innovation, the opportunity to receive further investment. By supporting innovation, Shell LiveWIRE intends to not only promote the long-term sustainability and growth of the individual winners, but to create role models for future entrepreneurs. The inaugural 2015 awards saw 27 businesses compete for a place in the top ten, representing ten Shell LiveWIRE programmes around the world, and encompassing a diverse range of industries.


Top Ten Innovators Awards: Spotlight on Amber Energy, SK Motor Syndicate and Caffé Letterario Artemisia
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