Less waste, more circularity: Startups from 22 countries present their ideas in Circular Valley

Circular Valley has invited young entrepreneurs from five continents to connect them with business leaders from the Rhine-Ruhr region of Germany. This enables cooperation
between startups and established companies.

An Indian team presents bottles made from paper waste. A Kenyan startup pitches a concept for sanitary pads made from agricultural waste and bioplastics. And a startup from Colombiaexplains how to make sustainable building materials from shoe soles. These are just three of the ideas that business representatives from the Rhine-Ruhr region got to know this week.

Circular Valley has invited 36 startups from 22 countries to Germany. Over the next three
months, these startups will be supported in bringing their ideas to the market and in finding customers, partners and investors. "The time of linearity is over; we have to transition tocircularity. And you are the fuel for this change", said Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff in his keynote, executive director of the Circular Economy initiative of the Federation of German Industries.

Circular Valley is both the location and facilitator of these unique exchanges. Circular Valley lies in the heart of Germany's Rhine-Ruhr region which is home to numerous traditionalindustrial companies. Now, it hosts Circular Economy startups from all over the world. The Circular Economy Accelerator ensures that these young companies gain the economicknowledge to take off and grow. Moreover, it brings together these startups with potential partners from the local economy, who are looking for solutions to achieve greatersustainability. The circular economy is more than just recycling. The entire process from design to end-of-life needs to be restructured from a circularity perspective.

The great diversity of the audience at the Kick-Off in Wuppertal points to the high relevance of the topic to numerous industries. Executive-level representatives of small, medium-sizedand large companies including CEOs from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, from raw material producers and waste disposal companies all followed the startups'presentations.

The first two batches of Circular Valley's accelerator program since early summer 2021 have successfully connected startups to partners. Among others, startups developing plastic-free envelopes or a method to collect plastic from waterways to avoid it reaching the ocean, have generated great interest across a wide range of stakeholders in Circular Valley.

Two representatives per startup can join the Circular Economy Accelerator program in
Wuppertal. Most representatives have a background in engineering, sciences or
programming. The goal now is to position their startup, establish a network and understand the needs of possible partners and customers. The program supports the startups in furtherdeveloping their products, manufacturing them on a larger scale, obtaining funds from investors or scaling their idea. In all of this, the large partner network of Circular Valley provides crucial support.

During the three-month accelerator program, the startups can connect to local stakeholders, take part in workshops and coaching sessions and visit Circular Valley partners on site. Thegrand finale is the Demo Day on September 9th. The young entrepreneurs will then present in front of hundreds of representatives from business, science, politics and the public toshow, how the time spent in Circular Valley has advanced their ideas.

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Source: Circular Valley