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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 - over 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 heart of NRW and the Rhine-Ruhr region, Circular Valley is at the centre of Europe's most dynamic business region: within a 500 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.
— What is Circular Valley?
— Circular Valley stands for a globally unique hotspot for the establishment of circular value creation with the aim of developing technologies that counteract the globally increasing problem of more than 100 billion tonnes of yearly emissions (CO2, construction waste, production waste, household waste). These emissions are largely generated because our current economic system is designed in a linear way.
— What is the idea of Circular Valley?
— In Circular Valley, start-ups from all over the world come together twice a year to develop a material cycle on a previously defined topic, in dialogue / collaboration with partners from industry and science. Together, companies and start-ups develop ideas such as reusing materials or increasing the lifespan of products, making this more economically feasible than the wasteful use of precious and scarce resources.
— How did the idea for Circular Valley come about?
— 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.
— Where is Circular Valley?
— Circular Valley is understood to be the entire wider Rhine-Ruhr region including the Rhenish Revier, Lower Rhine, Bergisches Land, Münsterland, East Westphalia-Lippe and South Westphalia. Circular Valley is located at the centre of Europe's most dynamic business location: within a radius of 500 km, there are more than 20,000 international companies, over 70 universities and round 160 million inhabitants.
— Where is the Circular Economy Accelerator located?
— Based in Wuppertal, in the middle of NRW and the Rhine-Ruhr region, the Circular Valley Accelerator is located in the center of Europe's most dynamic business location. Here, all participants are offered excellent starting conditions for collaborating and developing their visions further.— Circular Valley is understood to be the entire wider Rhine-Ruhr region including the Rhenish Revier, Lower Rhine, Bergisches Land, Münsterland, East Westphalia-Lippe and South Westphalia. Circular Valley is located at the centre of Europe's most dynamic business location: within a radius of 500 km, there are more than 20,000 international companies, over 70 universities and round 160 million inhabitants.
— Who are the partners of Circular Valley?
— The project is supported by NRW Economics Minister Prof. Dr. Pinkwart as patron, as well as by the Social Affairs and Economics Ministries of NRW and by a steadily growing network of currently over 70 industry partners and academic institutions.
— What does Circular Economy Accelerator offer young companies?
— Twice a year, 15 start-ups come together in so-called cohorts, focusing on predefined topics within the Circular Economy Accelerator. In this way, we enable ideal working conditions for all participating companies to work on their ideas in collaboration with industry and science contributing to circular material cycles.
— Who can apply?
— Young entrepreneurs from all over the world whose work focus on reducing emissions, enabling true recycling or producing materials in a more resource-efficient way are invited to apply, regardless of the sector they operate in.
— Is there financial support for Circular Valley?
— The state of NRW and the EU provide financial support for the work of the Circular Economy Accelerator. In addition, various funding bodies support the Accelerator as sponsors.

In addition, we are applying for further funding and research projects together with our partners.
— Who is the sponsor of Circular Valley?
— Circular Valley is supported by the non-profit Circular Valley Foundation.
In General