It’s the ‘Euros’ for clever business ideas that tackle climate change… and three Irish entrepreneurs have made the final cut

Three Irish ‘cleantech’ companies have made it to the 2017 final of a prestigious European business competition that promotes ideas and innovations to tackle climate change.

ClimateLaunchpad, the EU’s main climate innovation business initiative, was set up to specifically develop innovations that address sustainability and climate change.

The three Irish businesses have made it to the final in Limassol, Cyprus with 90 rivals selected from over 1,000 entries across Europe.

The Irish companies were chosen from a national shortlist of 15, in a competition organised by Sustainable Nation Ireland, the body that promotes Ireland as a hub for sustainable business and investment.

The three Irish finalists are:

  • The Nu Wardrobe: A clothes sharing website targeted at universities and third level. It’s an online platform which allows fashionistas to share and swap clothes. By paying a service fee ranging from €2 to €5, users can borrow an outfit, instead of buying an item which may be only worn once and been made in a country with lax environmental and labour standards.
  • AquaRoot: A biodegradable polymer that can be extruded through 3-D printing, becoming a low-cost method to irrigate crops in a more economical and efficient way.
  • Size/U: A garment embedded with sensors to sell to online retailers, that will digitally map the human body and provide a customers unique body measurements. Thus, enabling retailers to provide their customers with the correct fit. Vastly reducing the enormous financial and carbon cost of returns across the industry

The European ClimateLaunchpad Final is a showcase for the cream of Europe’s cleantech talent and helps them grow their sustainable ideas into global businesses.

The three Irish start-ups will pitch their idea and business plans before an international jury.

The jury will award the top-three winners of the European competition funding of €10,000, €5,000 and €2,500 and the best 10 will take part in the Climate-KIC 18-month accelerator programme.

Companies that participated in the Irish ClimateLaunchpad competition pitched a string of diverse ideas around energy efficiency, waste reduction and water management as well as more sustainable food production.

Each country selected the most promising innovations for the ClimateLaunchpad competition. The finalists have been chosen based on criteria including feasibility, scalability, job creation and climate impact.

Aideen O’Hora, Director of Sustainable Innovation with Sustainable Nation Ireland, said:

We are building a new economy for the future based on long-term and sustained growth. This new economy is based on the global need to address climate-change, which historically will be one of biggest global challenges. Lots of money needs to be invested globally, at least €1trillion annually, and I believe Irish companies should be to the fore in providing solutions. In Ireland, we are delighted to offer programmes such as ClimateLaunchpad – as part of our 2oPlatform –  to help launch Irish companies into a European and global marketplace.”

Sustainable Nation’s Entrepreneur in Residence Ron Immink, who is attending the final in Cyprus, said:

ClimateLaunchpad is so much more than a green business ideas competition. It is a signal from the researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and Europe that we need to build an economy that addresses challenges such as climate-change and sustainability. The sense of urgency to create a successful business from the 500 people is a room is palpable. This is a mainstream business and market opportunity”

Frans Nauta, the founder of ClimateLaunchpad, said:

“I sleep better knowing how many great teams are working on technologies and businesses that tackle climate change. There are great ideas out there, many of them from people with little business experience. Therefore, ClimateLaunchpad is so important. We provide innovators with the coaching to make their great ideas profitable businesses.”

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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