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University helps eco-friendly sportswear company become more sustainable

07 September 2017 @TeesUniNews

 

A team of entrepreneurs is being helped to create a sustainable circular economy for their eco-friendly sportswear company thanks to expertise and facilities at Teesside University.

Peter Lillie
Peter Lillie

Grn Sportwear also joined the DigitalCity Fellowship Accelerator programme, accessing funding and support to help accelerate the development of their ‘web shop front-end’ offering that allows clients the opportunity to sell through a bespoke web store.

The ambition of Grn Sportswear is to be at the centre of a supply chain with design, manufacturing and packing processes all within a 10 mile radius. And that is coming to fruition after relocating to the University’s business incubator, Teesside Launchpad.

Grn’s directors decided to relocate the company to Middlesbrough from Bristol after agreeing that the Tees Valley was the best environment for the company to achieve its aims and continue to grow.

The company, founded by Peter Lillie, a native of Middlesbrough and a Teesside University graduate, along with fellow directors Rob Webbon and Guy Whitby.

Grn makes high quality sportswear, predominantly for cycling, swimming, running and triathlon, using ethically sourced and recycled materials.

The company has exclusive use in the UK for fabric which has been made from recycled materials, including plastic bottles and fishing nets.

Since moving into Teesside Launchpad, the company has been able to take advantage of the numerous networking and co-working opportunities offered by the University and forge a number of successful partnerships.

The team has worked closely with the University’s fashion design students to design and develop a range of swimming rash vests, made from recycled plastic bottles. They also plan to use the University’s biometrics laboratories to test how their products perform under different conditions.

We’ve created an imprint for other companies and I like to think that the graduates who have worked with us will take that away with them and look at how they can apply it elsewhere.

Peter Lillie

The company is also in discussion with the University about internship opportunities for students.

In addition, they joined the DigitalCity Fellowship Accelerator to start to develop their unique web platform. The Fellowship Accelerator is an intense 10-week support programme that also provides grants of up to £5,000 for early stage digital companies, together with a programme of workshops, collaboration events and bespoke consultancy support.

Peter said: 'There are three pillars upon which we built the business.

'We wanted to produce sportswear that is high-performing.

'We wanted it to be made from sustainable materials and, finally, we wanted it to be manufactured within the UK, with ideally everything sourced from within a 10 mile radius.

'Moving to Teesside Launchpad is helping us to create that sustainable, circular economy.

'We have been able to produce a range of clothing that has been designed and sublimated here, printed here and sent out from here.

'We’ve created an imprint for other companies and I like to think that the graduates who have worked with us will take that away with them and look at how they can apply it elsewhere.'

Laura Woods, Director of The Forge, Teesside University’s business hub, said: 'We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to help Grn Sportswear in its quest to become as eco-friendly as possible.

'Turning unwanted materials into high quality sportswear is a brilliant concept and we look forward to working with the team as the company continues to grow.'