Startups can now apply for Circular Valley

In the next round of its funding program, the initiative for the circular economy is focusing on three areas: alternative raw materials, chemical recycling and the value chain. Fifteen young companies from all over the world will be invited to the extended Rhine-Ruhr region to work on these topics.

Working with top-class coaches and mentors, getting to know Circular Valley's large network and engaging in intensive exchange with other founders - all this awaits start-ups that successfully apply for the new round of the Circular Economy Accelerator in the extended Rhine-Ruhr region. Circular Valley invites young companies from all over the world to submit their documents now and experience three months in a unique environment in spring.

The highlight of each batch is the DemoDay, where the start-ups present their business models to a large audience
© Jan Turek / Circular Valley

The highlight of each batch is the DemoDay, where the start-ups present their business models to a large audience
© Jan Turek / Circular Valley
In recent years, the initiative for the circular economy has supported more than 90 start-ups that have come to North Rhine-Westphalia from five continents. Highlight is always the DemoDay, when the founders present their business models to a large audience. Many of them have subsequently gained partners and supporters from corporations and SMEs.

Start-ups working on one of the following three topics can apply for the new round of the Circular Valley funding program:

 

1 Orchestrating the value chain

Even today, many companies know their immediate supplier and their direct customers, but do not have an overview of the entire value chain. This means they miss out on many opportunities. Circular Valley is therefore looking for start-ups that connect the individual players within the chain and raise them to a higher level than that of individual companies. The start-ups should have developed programs that enable companies to know what is in a product, where the materials are located and how they can be obtained.

Circular Valley also offers a special place (wild card) in this field. It can be won by a startup that simulates the topic of the value chain in a playful way so that daycare centers, elementary schools, secondary schools and/or universities can work with it. The simulation should also be suitable for raising political and public awareness of the Circular Economy.

 

2 Alternative raw materials and bio-economy

Humanity continues to consume too many fossil materials. Circular Valley is therefore looking for alternative raw materials to replace those extracted from the geosphere at the beginning of the cycle. This includes ideas from the bioeconomy as well as "raw materials" that are created through recycling.

In the new round of the funding program, attention will be centered on unused or less-than-optimally used materials. The start-ups that apply should have ideas on how such potential can be exploited.

 

3 New techniques for chemical recycling

If products are made of pure materials, mechanical recycling is usually the best way to recycle them. However, if many different materials are firmly mixed together, these products are usually incinerated nowadays. Chemical recycling is an alternative, but still requires significant progress to achieve a better ecological balance. Given the strong chemical industry in North Rhine-Westphalia, start-ups with ideas for this topic will have a real home game during the funding program.

Together with Circular Valley, a paper will also be produced during the three months of the Accelerator. This will contain the key aspects for the chemical recycling of the future.

Applications for the new round of the Circular Economy Accelerator are now open and can be submitted until February 18, 2024.

Further information and the application form can be found here.

www.circular-valley.org

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