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EIT Climate-KIC and Amazon search for climate tech start-ups to help solve the world’s most challenging sustainability issues

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, is now open for applications from Europe’s leading start-ups. 

Now in its third year, this year’s Accelerator will be run in partnership with innovation strategy consultants Founders Intelligence, part of Accenture. The expanded Accelerator is welcoming applications from climate-tech start-ups who are focused on building businesses in one of four categories: Consumer Products, Circular Economy, Energy in Buildings, and Packaging – a reflection of the growing sustainable start-up ecosystem.

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator equips entrepreneurs with the skills and opportunities to grow their business and positively impact the environment. Since launching in 2022, the Accelerator has supported more than 25 start-ups across the UK and Europe, provided over USD 1 million in grants and credits, and helped those businesses increase sales by 700% and raise over GBP 16 million to date.

Suri, a UK-based sustainable toothbrush company, is aiming to tackle the plastic pollution that comes with over 4 billion toothbrushes thrown away each year. The start-up was still in the concept stage when joining the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, which allowed them to 'increase our gross revenue to over GBP 10 million in the last 12 months and provided us with unparalleled access to resources and expertise,' according to Mark Rushmore, Suri's Co-Founder.

FUNQ‘, a manufacturer of natural superfruit syrup based in Germany and Spain, which was in the pre-production phase before its participation in the Accelerator last year, now has its syrups available in 1 600 stores in Germany and has raised over EUR 2 million in capital.

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator 2023 has transformed FUNQ’ and fuelled our growth by bringing us together with other founders and coaches who are committed to developing more sustainable products.

Michael Schwarz, Founder of FUNQ'

A newly expanded accelerator

Start-ups in this year’s Accelerator will work with experts in Amazon’s Sustainability, Climate Pledge Fund and Climate Pledge Friendly teams, attend workshops, receive mentorship, and benefit from a bespoke programme, designed to help founders navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a sustainable business. EIT Climate-KIC and Amazon will work in collaboration to guide Accelerator participants through a Climate Impact Assessment where they will learn how to self-assess their business’ climate impact, and develop strategies to improve their environmental footprint. Participants will also receive a grant and Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits.  

The newest activity, the ClimateTech Pilot Challenge, will welcome start-ups who have moved beyond prototype testing and are working towards generating initial revenue and growing operations (Tech Readiness Level 6 and above). These businesses will participate in a shorter, intense four-week version of the Accelerator, and pitch for the chance to work on a pilot project directly with parts of Amazon’s business. A typical pilot for emerging technologies could earn them from USD 50 000 to USD 2 million, depending on duration and scope. 

This year’s Accelerator broadens its scope to encompass start-ups dedicated to decarbonisation, circularity, and resilient value chains. This expansion reflects the need to accelerate a fundamental shift in sustainable business practices and in lifestyles that use less energy, resources and materials, reaffirming our commitment to fostering impact-driven entrepreneurship for a just, climate-resilient, beautiful future for all.

Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer, EIT Climate-KIC 

'Our aim is for the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator to be the best place in the world for entrepreneurs to create cutting-edge sustainable products and technologies, and we want to help them reach their dream of building a business with unicorn potential,' said Zak Watts, Amazon‘s Director of Sustainability in Europe. 'I’m so excited we’re able to expand this year’s Accelerator into new categories and verticals, welcoming later stage start-ups into the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator programme, to help supercharge their growth, and realise the potential of a more sustainable economy.'

 'Pioneering climate and sustainability entrepreneurs have a critical role to play in decarbonising the economy, but scale and access to markets remain big challenges,' said Ezra Konvitz, Director & Head of Accelerators, Founders Intelligence. 'The valuable role major industry players like Amazon can have in overcoming these hurdles as partners and buyers of their emerging technologies and services is often overlooked. That is why Founders Intelligence is really excited to support in delivering an ambitious new Pilot Challenge with top founders ready to scale their businesses and impact alongside Amazon.'

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is open to the following:   

  • Consumer Products: Early-stage start-ups developing sustainable and innovative physical consumer products that have recently launched or are on the cusp of go-to-market.
  • Circular Economy: Start-ups who are building solutions that extend the lifetime of products through reverse logistics, repair capabilities accessible to end users, and more. 
  • Energy in Buildings: Start-ups focused on helping buildings to decarbonise through AI and cutting-edge materials. 
  • Packaging: Start-ups creating innovative packaging materials, closed-loop reusable systems technology and more. 

The deadline for applications for the first cohort focused on the Circular Economy, Energy in Buildings, and Packaging is 5 April 2024 and successful applicants will be announced in the spring. The deadline for the second cohort focused on consumer products is 31 July 2024, with successful applicants announced in the autumn.

Apply today