October 2 2020, Amsterdam – More than 3,000 entrepreneurs from 56 countries participated in the ClimateLaunchpad 2020. This year’s global climate competition took place online from 30 September to 2 October.
Two Australian start-ups, Elevenstore and Localcycle, made it to the final round of the competition, securing themselves a spot in the coveted EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator. Elevenstore also went on to win the Theme Award for Sustainable mobility, which came with a €5,000 prize to reinvest in their business.
Elevenstore (so-named for sodium’s atomic number) is an all-female team out of Deakin University. Their green idea draws on using cutting-edge sodium batteries for mobility applications, initially motor scooters, but also buses and auto-rickshaws, in Indonesia, with a focus on clean, cheap, affordable transportation. “The indications are that this technology will be in use within three years in Indonesia. We are planning to save up to 66 per cent of overall CO2 emissions in Indonesia, which has the third largest scooter market in the world. The Indonesian Government has set a goal of replacing 20 per cent of its current energy sources with renewable energy by 2025. We have spoken already with Indonesian businesses keen to get this off the ground,” Karolina Biernacka, one of Elevenstore’s founders said.
Localcycle is a family-run start-up out of Sydney. Their aim is to create a closed-loop system of organic waste from Sydney’s cafés, offering a service to collect, compost and repurpose food waste into mushrooms, fertiliser and even furniture. Stephan Renard, founder of Localcycle, says “I’m was very proud to represent Australia at the Global Grand Final. As a social enterprise, we aim to enrich local communities by creating a circular and scalable waste collection system. We want to encourage Australians and the government to take action on food waste and climate change.”
The EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator Program is the foremost climate innovation accelerator in Europe. Throughout its lifespan, the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator has supported over 1,000 start-ups raise over €550 million in external capital, and create over 2,500 jobs.
In an opening video broadcasted on Thursday, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said the climate crisis was the defining task of our generation, and that there was no time for short term fixes. “Investing in green growth pays back and will help to build back better,” he added, also highlighting the holistic approach of ClimateLaunchpad. Rowan Barnett, Head of Google’s philanthropy Google.org EMEA and APAC, and David Pistoni, Co-Founder of Spanish hyperloop company Zeleros also participated in a discussion with EIT Climate-KIC’s CEO Kirsten Dunlop on how to harness the power of technology, systems innovation, and entrepreneurship to accelerate the green recovery.
“The winners of this year’s ClimateLaunchpad Grand Finale are absolutely inspiring,” says Kirsten Dunlop. “The competition shows how many entrepreneurs have the expertise, the ingenuity and the dedication to help us tackle the biggest climate challenges. ClimateLaunchpad offers green entrepreneurs from all around the world the chance to transform their best ideas into a company, a product, and jobs for people in their community. The programme was able to flourish once again this year and I look forward to seeing this innovation community continue to grow and become stronger in the coming years.”
A total of 972 entrepreneurs completed a self-paced online learning curriculum this year, while 780 start-ups participated in a full training programme globally. Winning teams of National and Regional Finals were invited to compete in the Global Grand Final, resulting in 68 teams pitching in front of expert jury panels this week.
Celebrating outstanding climate innovators, ClimateLaunchpad winners were chosen by an international jury that looked at the business potential of the finalists’ idea as well as the social impact, job creation, climate impact and the quality of their pitch. They were categorised in eight main themes: Resilient Regions, Climate-Friendly Food, Healthy Clean Cities, Circular Economies, Clean Energy Systems, Sustainable Mobility, Cleantech, and The Next Big Thing. The top 16 teams selected by the jury to perform in the Final Round of the Global Grand Final will get direct access to the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme for climate positive start-ups.
More detailed information on all finalists and their start-ups can be found on https://globalfinal.climatelaunchpad.org/