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Entrepreneur of the Month: Iain Percy, Artemis Technologies

Iain Percy

How is business? 

Business is really good. Our main focus currently is leading a Belfast consortium that is bidding to return commercial shipbuilding to the city, so needless to say it is a very exciting time.

Along with our partners in industry, academia, and local government, we have a strategy to decarbonise maritime transportation by using research and collaboration to produce innovative, sustainable technologies and products.

Using Belfast as a base, we’re tapping into the tremendous local talent pool and supply chain, capitalising on the region’s rich shipbuilding heritage and expertise in aerospace and composite engineering.

The consortium is the only applicant from Northern Ireland remaining in contention for the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund, with a decision due this spring on which project will successfully receive funding of £30m.

Meanwhile, we are well on our way to producing the world’s first zero-emissions workboat in Belfast, as we integrate our electric eFoiler propulsion system into an 11 metre carbon fibre vessel in a joint venture with Denmark’s Tuco Marine Group.

How did you get started in the industry?

We started Artemis Technologies in 2017 as a sister company to the Artemis Racing professional sailing team.

I had joined the team in 2012 after taking part in the London Olympics where I added a silver medal to golds won in Beijing and Sydney. Competing at the very highest level of high-performance yacht racing, including several America’s Cup series, we constantly strived to innovate and find new solutions to improve performance while also reducing energy.

It was obvious to us there was huge potential to harness that knowhow and put it to commercial use with the ultimate aim of developing a new type of zero-emissions craft.

Typically, who are your clients or customers?

As a world leader in yacht design, we work for many high-performance racing teams across the globe and others in the maritime industry, attracted by our approach to design that is more in line with aerospace and motorsport. Ultimately, we envisage our products being used across the world by transport authorities as the technology develops and the appetite for zero-emissions vessels as a means to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere increases.

Do you enjoy what you do, and what in particular?

I absolutely love it. For me, it is a tremendous privilege to work in an industry that allows me to take my love of sailing and apply it to something that will potentially make a significant difference to lives and economies across the globe.

We’re already established as the world’s leading high-performance maritime design and applied technologies company. Now we are on a mission to help decarbonise the maritime industry, and the journey is fantastic.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

I don’t think it would be fair to describe anything as ‘difficult’ but clearly when you are researching and developing solutions that have never been done before, there are considerable challenges to overcome. That’s why we’ve assembled a truly world class team that brings together expertise from the worlds of yacht design, motorsport, and aerospace.

What are the challenges facing your sector, and the economy in general?

One of the greatest challenges facing not just our sector but the global economy is climate change. However, that is precisely why we are in business. Even the name ‘Aretmis’ refers to the Greek goddess known as a protector of nature.

The International Maritime Organization has committed to cutting emissions by at least half by 2050 while the UK government wants all new maritime vessels to be designed with zero-emissions capable technologies from 2025 onwards.

We believe that Northern Ireland is going to be at the very forefront of driving the industry towards that goal by developing new green innovations that will impact the globe.

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