ABOUT
Circular Economy Accelerator Program
About the Program

For each Circular Economy Accelerator program in Circular Valley, we look for early-stage circular economy companies move to Wuppertal to take part in an intense 4-month program or three on-site attendance blocks of two weeks each.

The Circular Economy Accelerator runs programs with 15 start-ups twice every year.
Financial Support

On-site batches are supported up to 20k € to cover local living costs. Also, they profit from free co-working space.

Mentoring

Both, on-site and virtual batches will receive dedicated mentoring and become part of the huge network of Circular Valley – e.g. corporate partners, scientific partners, alumni, investors, press and more. Founders engage with customers and partners, pitch to potential investors and press at the Pitch Night, and turn science into a real products paid for.
Focus

We are looking for start-ups with concrete ideas/inventions that help accomplish the vision of eliminating waste.

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 in line with the EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) is electronics, information and communication technology, 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're compressing years of learning and gaining experience into a four-month window.
Your start-up 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
100+ global market leaders, which are located in a 60 minutes radius or less
Established and new companies leading in circularity
Leading scientific institutions
Cold call and email training
Creating mentor relationships through our extensive network in the Rhine-Ruhr Region
Running experiments
Working with Circular Valley scientific and start-up staff
Pitching to investors, press and professional audience
Talking to other teams and building networks
Panels of mentors and talks about tech product production, business models, intellectual property, sales, product design
Business development round table
Know your numbers – market size, cost of goods sold, profit margin, and more
Creating a powerful pitch deck
Figure out your ten-year vision in order to work backwards and build a world changing circular economy company
FAQ
Where is the accelerator located?
The first accelerator starts in the east of Wuppertal on the Vorwerk premises in Laaken.
Do I have to be at the Circular Economy Accelerator for the entire 4-month period?
Yes. We require that you are primarily based in Wuppertal. This benefits you because you can take advantage of the numerous acceleration opportunities, networking and mentoring that will be provided.
We offer an alternative of three on-site attendance blocks of two weeks each

Exception: In case of a pandemic, the batch will be virtual rather than on-site. The coaching and the meetings and pitch nights etc. will be provided online.
Do I have to stay when the program ends after 4 months?
No. It's your company, so you can work and live wherever you'd like.
I'm a single founder. Can I apply by myself, or do you only accept teams?
If you are a single founder, we suggest you find at least one other co-founder. All startups should have at least two people in Circular Valley during the program.
Can I apply if our company or founders are not from Germany? Can you help with Visa/immigration issues?
Yes. We explicitly welcome participants from all geographies. Circular Valley is a true melting pot of nations. Anyone from anywhere can apply. You do have to be legally in Germany during the program, of course. Once accepted, we can help with legal/immigration issues.
How much funding do Circular Economy Accelerator start-ups receive?
On-side batches are supported with 20k€ to cover local living costs. The first batch takes place virtually and therefore receives no financial support.

For both on-side and virtual batches the following applies:
As part of the program you 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 and business. You will also have the opportunity to pitch to press, corporate partners, investors etc. during and at the end of the program at Pitch Night.

Through the alumni network and the contacts established, the start-ups can also benefit beyond the duration of the program.
How much equity does the Circular Economy Accelerator take?
The Circular Economy Accelerator does not take any equity. Our purpose is to share gained Circular Economy knowledge to "grow the economy while protecting the environment".
How do I apply for the Circular Economy Accelerator program?
I don't have a company yet, just an idea, can I apply?
All you need to apply is a well thought out idea and two co-founders minimum. We'll help you with all the rest.
I already have funding; can I still apply?
Yes, we accept teams that have previously raised funding.
What kind of companies are you looking for?
As stated above, we are looking for start-ups with concrete ideas/inventions that help accomplish this ambition. 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.

Our industry focus in line with the EU Green Deal and CEAP is electronics, information and communication technology, 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.
Does the Circular Valley program provide housing?
We don't provide accommodation.
What happens at the end of the Circular Economy Accelerator program, am I on my own?
Teams will move out of our co-working space after the 4-month period, but they continue to be part of the Circular Valley family and alumni network.
How are you operating during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, the first batch will be virtual rather than on-site. The coaching and the meetings and pitch nights etc. will be provided online.