A total of 15 start-ups from seven different countries have reached the final of the “Circular Urban Challenge”, a European competition between companies linked to the circular economy, organised by TheCircularLab – Ecoembes’ open innovation centre for the circular economy- in collaboration with Logroño City Council.
Its main objective is to find the most effective and innovative solutions, mainly based on new technologies or business models, to address three specific challenges faced by cities in the field of circular economy and waste recycling: urban citizen science and circular economy, innovative technologies for urban waste management and second life, and innovative use of recycled materials for urban applications.
During the competition, more than 100 startups went through different selection phases by a mixed jury made up of experts from TheCircularLab and Logroño City Council.
The aim of this initiative is to support innovative startups that focus their activity on the development of solutions to the main challenges of the circular economy that cities are currently facing.
After the presentation of the applications, an evaluation process was carried out according to criteria such as the maturity of the projects presented, the level of innovation used in the development of the proposed solution, the effectiveness in solving the problems formulated in one of the three proposed challenges or the milestones achieved by the startups themselves that show a positive trajectory.
Specifically, 15 startups were selected for the final round: BeFC (France), Heyliot (France), Lixo (France), Co2mmon (Germany), SPRK (Germany), Giunko (Italy), Re Learn (Italy), Impact Recycling (UK), Recycleye (UK), Veridis (Netherlands), UBQ Materials (Israel), Blue Room Innovation (Catalonia), Liight App (Community of Madrid), MatMap (Community of Valencia) and SpectralGeo (La Rioja).
On 25 November, a ceremony will be held at TheCircularLab in Logron to announce the 15 finalists of the competition, where the five winners will be announced and receive a prize of 5,000 euros.
“This cutting-edge initiative, the result of the agreement between Ecoembes and Logroño City Council, allows us to continue on the path of the circular economy, to jointly find useful and innovative solutions for recycling and circularity, and to achieve more sustainable cities through technology”. José Luis Moreno de Castro, Director of Innovation at Ecoembes, said.
TheCircularLab is creating the first label that recognises the work of the best circular economy entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is and always has been a huge source of improvement for society as a whole, providing us with the ideas and tools we need to move forward and adapt to the changes that have occurred over the years. So today, on the occasion of World Entrepreneurship Day, TheCircularLab, Ecoembes’ open innovation centre for the circular economy, presents the goCircular Pass. A seal that seeks to recognise the work of those entrepreneurs who strive and sacrifice to develop new projects with great potential and capacity to achieve and accelerate the transition to the circular economy.
Recognition and visibility are key factors to support and promote entrepreneurship in our country, as well as to continue working towards a more responsible and sustainable model of society for the planet. For this reason, TheCircularLab has created the goCircular Pass, to offer these startups the opportunity to stand out within the circular economy business community and provide successful startups with the opportunity to attend dedicated events with key players in the sector.
Applying for the seal is completely free and the requirements to obtain it are to be part of a consolidated startup that is less than 10 years old, have a high level of innovation in its products or business model, offer a portfolio of solutions or products that contribute or can contribute to the circular economy and provide supporting documentation that demonstrates the startup’s ability to add value to the circular economy. In addition, it is also important that the startup is part of the goCircular Radar, a map of the most innovative startups in the circular economy sector.
Nine Spanish startups have already won this award thanks to their innovative projects and their contribution to creating a more sustainable future: Matmap, BlueRoom Innovation, CMplastik, Liight, SpectralGeo, Piperlab, Eficen, Pixelabs and RDNest. An evaluation committee of experts with extensive experience in the circular economy, formed by TheCircularLab, is responsible for the evaluation of all applications and the final decision on the award of the goCircular Pass.
“At TheCircularLab we have been working since 2017 to promote and support circular business projects, providing the tools and resources to do so. And through the goCircular Pass, we want to offer a well-deserved recognition to the startups that, with their effort and work, are developing projects with great potential and capacity to achieve our goal, a company based on an economic and productive model based on the three principles of the circular economy, i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle”, says Zacarías Torbado, coordinator of TheCircularLab.
Since the creation of TheCircularLab, entrepreneurship has been a strategic pillar of the development and growth of the open innovation centre. In this regard, a great deal of work has been done to foster collaboration with more than 200 entities (technology centres, universities and companies) in the field of the circular economy and packaging recycling. In addition, the Centre has a startup and project accelerator that has evaluated more than 300 startups from the five continents and has accelerated 30 of them in its more than three years of existence.