Circular Economy Accelerator Program
About the Program

For each Circular Economy Accelerator program in Circular Valley, we look for circular economy startups taking part in a 2-month program with two on-site phases in Wuppertal. The first on-site phase is optional and is particularly suited to early stage start-ups. This phase teaches basic business and Circular Economy skills.

The Circular Economy Accelerator runs programs with 15 startups twice every year. Benefits of participating in the program include:

  • Direct and close contact to our 140+ partners from industry, R&D and government
  • Experiencing and becoming part of a truly international, diverse and innovative environment
  • Tailor-made expert workshops and training modules as well as individual mentoring and coaching to support startups' further development
  • Facilitated networking with 300+ global market leaders from Germany's Rhein-Ruhr region (includes the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, Münster, etc.)
  • Peer-to-peer exchange between startups and their international networks
  • Global alumni network in the (post-)accelerator phase
  • Financial support concerning travel, accommodation and business-related expenses during the accelerator program
Financial Support

We cover the costs related to the participation in the program for two people per start-up. This includes:

  • Travel to, from and in Wuppertal
  • Visa and administration costs
  • Accommodation
  • Per diem rates in accordance with German law to co-finance living expenses (e.g. food)
  • Access to in-house covered areas of competence from the Circular Valley team
  • To be reimbursed, large cost items need to be signed off with the Circular Economy Accelerator team before the cost is incurre
As part of the program, you may have the possibility to get access to lab space from participating corporates, co-working with a community of likeminded teams, our mentor network which melds science, politics and business. You will also have the opportunity to pitch to press, corporate partners and investors repeatedly throughout the program.

Startups will receive dedicated mentoring and become part of the large Circular Valley network. This network includes corporate partners, scientific partners, alumni, investors, press representatives and more. Founders engage with customers and partners, pitch to potential investors and a wide audience at the DemoDay.

We are looking for startups with specific technologies, ideas and new business models to help accomplish the vision of eliminating waste.

The focus is on designing out waste, production technologies with minimized environmental impact, marking technologies, product passports, tracking & tracing, collection, separation of waste streams, waste logistics, re-use models, novel recycling technologies, novel service models and digital enabling technologies.
EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP)

Our industry focus is in line with the EU Green Deal and CEAP which is electronics, information and communication technologies, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings, furniture, high impact intermediary products (steel, cement, chemicals), food, water and nutrients.
Additionally, we are broadly looking for innovations that support re-use of composite materials.
Accelerate Science & Business
Together with our partners we compress years of learning and experience into a three-month window.
Your startup has left the academic project phase. You want to take your idea to market and commercialize it, make it into a real product or service that companies or individuals are willing to pay for.

We connect you to potential customers, so that you can test what it needs to be successful.

You will be equipped with all the necessary tools of the trade for a founder to open new doors and close deals. With every interaction you get better by the day.
Examples of specific advantages and learnings:

  • Networking and contact possibilities with our 140+ partners, including:
    Global market leaders, located in a 60-minute radius or less
    Established and young companies leading in circularity
    Stakeholders from politics
    Leading scientific institutions
  • Development of mentor relationships through our extensive network in the wider Rhine-Ruhr Region
  • Running experiments
  • Working with Circular Valley scientific and startup staff
  • Pitching to investors, press and professional audience
  • Exchanging with other startups
  • Workshops and trainings about tech product production, business models, intellectual property, sales, communication, etc.
  • Creating a powerful pitch and read deck and obtaining pitch training
  • Know your numbers – market size, cost of goods sold, profit margin, and more
  • Creating a powerful pitch deck