European circular start-up award launched

German investment firm Green Alley Investment GmbH has kicked off its annual European circular economy award for start-ups by calling for companies to submit entries by 27 July.

All innovative business models related to resource preservation, resource recovery, circular economy and recycling have been invited to apply for the award’s third year. Last year the prize was won by UK company Adaptavate, a start-up developing an ‘eco-friendly’ alternative to traditional plasterboard, comprised of up to 75 per cent agricultural waste.

Green Alley and the award’s partners – German crowd-funding platform Seedmatch, British investment and support programme Bethnal Green Ventures and the European Recycling Platform (ERP) Finland – say that through the award they hope to impact Europe’s waste problems, reduce their effect on the environment and create new economic opportunities.

European circular start-up award launched This year’s Green Alley Award is showing particular interest in ‘building a bridge between Berlin, London and Helsinki’, which the investment firm says are start-up hubs serving as pioneers of the circular economy. Green Alley says that the cities are ‘role models’ and it hopes to see an idea that can ‘initiate synergies between these capitals and other cities in Europe’.

“Resource efficiency is a pressing issue for the UK. We need to find new ways to power society, reduce carbon emissions, deal with waste and adapt to climate change, in a way that will help make communities more resilient”, says Jessica Stacey, Partner at Bethnal Green Ventures. “There are some great start-ups in the UK applying technology to solve these issues – such as Winnow, which helps to dramatically cut food waste, or Open Utility, which has created a new market for renewable energy. The Green Alley Award is a great opportunity for UK start-ups to connect with green ideas in Berlin and Helsinki, and to receive the support needed to help them grow and scale across Europe.”

Award details

Following the application deadline on 27 July, a group of finalists will be chosen to pitch to a panel of industry specialists in Berlin in October. Each of the start-ups chosen as finalists will receive advice on how to establish successful business models and how to enter the market through individual workshops with experts of the circular economy

The winning company will win a prize package of cash and services worth up to €30,000 (£23,000). In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to raise funds through crowd-funding or investments and to participate in an accelerator programme at Bethnal green ventures.

European circular start-up award launched
Last year's winners Adaptavate
In 2015, the Green Alley Award received over 100 applications from all over Europe, including ideas from Germany, Israel, Bulgaria, Ireland, and the UK.

Young entrepreneurs encouraged to rethink existing patterns

Launching the award, Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Green Alley Investment GmbH said: “We would like to encourage young entrepreneurs across Europe to rethink existing patterns of consumerism and waste habits. Last year we have already seen some of the diversity and potential that especially UK start-ups stand for. The British winner Adaptavate was proof for the UK’s strong start-up ecosystem and its focus on innovation in renewables and resource efficiency. We hope to see even more entrants from the UK this year.”

Jens-Uwe Sauer, founder and CEO of Seedmatch, added: “We have been partners with Green Alley since the very beginning. In the last rounds, young entrepreneurs showed us that the circular economy lies close to their heart. And all of them approach the topic entirely differently. That kind of variety of ideas is exactly what we wish to see again. We are looking forward to the third year of the award and many applications from all over Europe.”

More information about the Green Alley Award can be found on the competition’s website.

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