Circular Valley - grow the economy, protect the environment
In our current "linear" economy, resources are extracted from the environment, processed into products and services and ultimately disposed of as emissions in the soil, air and water - about 100 billion tonnes in 2020. Circular Valley aims to counteract this development.
Circular Valley is a globally unique hotspot for the establishment of a future-oriented circular economy.
International start-ups, companies, science and politics meet here to collaborate across sectors and technologies on closing material loops along existing value chains, to develop policy recommendations and political frameworks and to inform the public about the topic of circular economy.
Based in Wuppertal, in the greater Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, Circular Valley is at the centre of Europe's most dynamic business region: within a 100 km radius, there are more than 20,000 international companies, over 70 universities, as well as around 160 million inhabitants. Nowhere else in the world do 300 global market leaders find themselves in such close proximity to each other, many of whom are already engaging with circular value creation. With its long tradition of setting market-shaping impulses, this cosmopolitan region offers ideal conditions for start-ups to settle and conduct research.
The idea behind Circular Valley developed from the observation that while there are many hotspots around the world focusing on certain sectors (e.g. Silicon Valley for platform companies), no such region exists for circular value creation. Until now, there is no hotspot at which people can come together to work on this important issue.
In May 2021, the Circular Valley Foundation was registered in the Foundation Register, and in June 2021, the first cohort of 15 international start-ups started in the Circular Economy Accelerator - mainly virtual due to Covid-19. Twice a year, a new cohort comes together at the Accelerator in Wuppertal-Laaken, to work on ideas and business-models with the support of mentors from industry and academia. The Demo Day marks the end of the 4-month program, at which the start-ups present themselves and their ideas to partners and the interested public.
The non-profit Circular Valley Foundation is the funding provider of the Circular Economy Accelerator, while the state NRW and the EU provide financial support for the work of the Circular Economy Accelerator. In addition, various sponsors support the Accelerator.