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Best Green, Sustainable Startups

For the third time, the Berlin-based investment company Green Alley is calling young entrepreneurs to apply for Europe’s only start-up award focusing on circular economy – and to win a prize package worth up to € 30,000.

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The Green Alley Award 2016 is once again searching for the best European solutions in circular economy. All innovative start-ups – no matter the stage – which have business models solving problems related to waste are invited to submit their applications by July 27 to get to the finals organized in Berlin this autumn.

The competition is showing particular interest in the Nordic countries of which especially Finland has been seen as a forerunner in the green economy during the past few years. Meanwhile the European Union has been discussing about shared circular economy policies, Finland has already been a step ahead: investments to promote the circular economy are top priority on Finland’s agenda.


The country does not only serve as a role model regarding circular economy, but is known for its thriving start-up scene. Finnish start-ups already contribute to waste reduction and the reuse of goods and materials, as the 2014 Green Alley Award winner RePack proved with its innovative reusable packaging. This really captured the interest of Green Alley, a subsidiary of the German independent waste management company Landbell, in the region.

“We see Finland as a maverick of the circular economy. Finnish start-ups prove themselves time and again through their technical know-how and are never shying away from revolutionizing established industries,” describes Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Green Alley.

Also Olli Alanen, Country Manager of Green Alley’s main partner European Recycling Platform (ERP) Finland, adds that his fellow Finnish entrepreneurs seem to have plenty of fresh ideas.

“This is exactly where Green Alley aims to dock on – the dynamics of innovation – a very “fertile ground” for young start-ups in Finland. We are excited about taking business models with potential to the next level and helping young people, with good ideas, to succeed,” he says.

Connecting Green Ideas Through European Start-up Hubs

Though Northern Europe is the region where Green Alley wants to dig into this year to find the best companies – the competition actually received last year over 100 applications from 18 different countries. Most of all the goal of the competition is to bring the most promising green start-ups together and to show them how to expand their business throughout Europe.

“With the Green Alley Award we aim start-ups to focus on business ideas in a segment that might at a glance not be sexy – but it’s more than interesting and important to focus on sustainable businesses. We just have to walk with an open mind through the world in order to get ideas how we can create an impact. And with the award we help to give those ones, who understand that there are lots of opportunities, not only visibility but we also link them to experts in the circular economy, to established companies in this segment and to other like-minded people,” says Miriam Kehl, Associate Director of Green Alley.


This year’s top six start-ups of the Green Alley Award will pitch in the finals held in Berlin at the end of October to a broad audience of industry specialists. The final is anyhow much more than a ceremony – it is a get together of start-ups, change makers and experienced entrepreneurs who profit from new business contacts. During the one-day event, all finalists will receive valuable advice on how to establish successful business models and how to enter the market through individual workshops with experts of the circular economy.

Nevertheless, Kehl adds that the most important thing that the Green Alley Award can offer is the wide network of experts.

“Having a closer look at the waste market you will get to know pretty soon that the markets are strongly regulated, each country has special requirements. It can be very difficult to start on your own – it can be easier if you have the network to people who can help you,” says Kehl.

As the winning company will receive a prize package of cash and services worth up to 30,000 euros, they will also receive an opportunity to raise funds through crowdfunding or investments and to participate in an accelerator programme. On top, the winner will be awarded with rent-free space in the Green Alley coworking space in Berlin for six months as well as a customized one-day workshop with a topic to choose from either E-Commerce, Online-Marketing and – Strategies or Organizational development.

For further details about the competition and on how to apply, head to Green Alley Award –website. You will find there the application guidelines which come quite handy when it comes to setting up correctly your pitch deck. Our most important tip – customize your application! This will increase your chances of actually having a chance to come to Berlin to the final.

And who knows what else bringing together a bunch of innovative green start-ups might create?


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