At first, it was just an idea - and then it quickly took off: In December 2020, the Circular Economy Accelerator was registered, and in June 2021 the first cohort of 15 international start-ups already started their work.
Even though most of the program had to take place virtually due to Corona, this did not detract from the goal of supporting young companies in their development and at the same time bringing forward ideas of the Circular Economy.
The results of the outstanding efforts were on display on August 30, 2021, at the Demo Day. The pitch event took place in Wuppertal's "Gaskessel", a former gas storage facility, which has been converted into an exhibition space. In front of 200 guests and partners, 14 national and international start-ups presented their business ideas for the Circular Economy. The shortest journey was made by b.fab Gmbh and Plastic Fischer GmbH from Cologne. The b.fab GmbH uses CO2, which is synonymous with climate change, to produce proteins and chemicals. Plastik Fischer already successfully collects plastic waste from rivers using a special device. EcoFoodly (Nice/Sydney) and Pika Diapers (Tel Aviv) had made the longest journey.
Johannes F. Kirchhoff, managing partner of Kirchhoff Group, explained how in a Circular Economy disassembling will gain an importance similar to production today.
Lauren Kjeldsen, member of the Executive Board and President Specialty Additives at Evonik, shared interesting insights into Evonik's activities related to Circular Economy.
Helen Burdett, head of the Circular Economy initiative at the World Economic Forum in Davos, emphasized the importance of establishing a hot spot for the topic with Circular Valley®.
The subsequent cross-industry discussions lasted late into the evening. We are very pleased that several start-ups could secure funding as a result of this first acceleration program.