Fifteen start-ups working in raw materials, chemical recycling, and the value chain will be rewarded with networking opportunities under the new round of Circular Valley’s Circular Economy Accelerator funding programme.

The funding round is looking for companies that bring together individual players in the value chain and uplift them as a collective. They should have developed programmes that inform companies what is in a product, where the materials are located, and how they can be obtained.

A start-up that simulates the value chain for educational purposes, ranging from daycare to university level, and raises both political and public awareness of the circular economy will also be rewarded in this field.

Another area of interest is alternative raw materials that can replace those extracted from the earth, including biomaterials and materials generated from recycling processes. This round of funding will focus on unused or less-than-optimally used materials, and the successful start-up should have a vision as to how to optimize their potential.

Additionally, Circular Valley aims to drive progress in chemical recycling to improve its sustainability benefits. The funding is expected to be particularly beneficial in this area, with geographical links to the chemical industry in North Rhine-Westphalia.

A paper will also be produced during the three months in which the Accelerator takes place; this will contain the key points to establish a chemical recycling industry moving forward.

Apparently, the intiative has supported over 90 start-ups from five continents in recent years. Circular Valley highlights the DemoDay, in which the founders present their business models to a large audience; this event is said to have attracted partners and supporters from corporations and SMEs.

Young companies are encouraged to fill out an application form before 18th February 2024. The successful applicants will be invited to the extended Rhine-Ruhr region to work with ‘top-class’ coaches and mentors, acquaint themselves with Circular Valley’s network, and enter intensive exchange with other founders.

A previous Circular Economy Accelerator round saw start-ups Lixo and Rhinopaq receive funding for their respective AI-based solution for sorting recyclable waste and reusable e-commerce packages.

In other news, Sway, Zerocircle, and Notpla were previously named as the winners of the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize in partnership with Lonely Whale, and the one-year TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Accelerator programme – set to help bring seaweed-based thin-film alternatives to market – was announced at the 2023 Sustainable Brands conference.

Also, Xampla has recently raised US$7 million in its latest funding round, which hopes to expand its biodegradable, food-safe Morro Coating for takeaway packaging, sachets, and cups into new markets and support the transition away from single-use plastics.

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