Why startups could save the planet
Heat waves in Cologne, tornadoes in Viersen and floods in the Eifel: The daily look at the news is enough to realize that climate change has long become a frightening reality. But even beyond the extreme of the weather, global warming has a firm grip on the planet: according to the Federal Environment Agency, the diversity of animal and plant species living in Germany should decline by an average of 30 percent by the year 2080.
Time to act
And indeed, there is good news: Above all, the startup scene in this country is increasingly on sustainable solutions and green technologies – from ideas for environmentally friendly traffic to solar cells, which should shake up the energy sector. So far, sustainable startups in the international scene have had a hard time – their ideas were not scalable, profitable, or lacked the right investor. So where do you find the right support for your project?
Green Challenge? Accepted!
Anyone who has a plan to tackle climate change and translate it into a business plan should take part in the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. Since 2007, the annual competition has been honoring the ideas of green founders, showing that sustainability and cost-effectiveness can be easily reconciled. The international pitch event of the Postcode Lotteries aims to promote the development of innovative green products and services – such as the fight against plastic waste, the reduction of food waste and the possibility of a lower-carbon lifestyle.
Investors are looking for sustainable founders who successfully combine sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity. In addition, candidates should meet the following conditions:
A business plan shows how the idea can be implemented
The product or service contributes to a better, more sustainable world.
The product or service should have been developed so far that launching within the next two years is not a problem, and all that should be worked out and pitched in English.
This is how the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge works
Startups with ideas for a more sustainable world can apply online by 1 May 2019. Afterwards, a specialist jury will select a total of 25 founders who will fight for the five final places. The finalists then pitch their ideas in front of a select audience and a panel of experts – in the past, for example, Virgin founder and sustainability expert Richard Branson evaluated the start-up projects. In addition to the potential of the idea, the experts also pay attention to the quality of the pitch itself. Finalists should therefore be able to explain to the point who they are, what their project is and why they can lead this idea to success.
The trick: Up to 500,000 euros in prize money and six months of coaching by experts await the top 5 selection. The winner gets 500,000 euros made available, while the runner-up gets 200,000 euros. And the remaining three finalists do not go away empty-handed: each of them can look forward to financial support of 100,000 euros. But the startups and green founders do not have to relinquish any shares and a repayment obligation does not exist – the prize money is to be understood as a cash injection for a more sustainable world.
Last year, the startup The Great Bubble Barrier by Anne Marieke Eveleens prevailed, the plastic waste in the sea the fight announces. The idea: A curtain of rising air bubbles is designed to trap floating garbage in the water and ensure that fish and ships remain undisturbed.
Also published on Medium.