EIT RawMaterials and JA Europe announce winner of Circular Economy Award 2019

EIT RawMaterials JA Europe Enterprise Challenge 2019

Finnish start-up Cuitu wins EIT RawMaterials Circular Economy award at the JA Europe Enterprise Challenge 2019.

Cuitu is a start-up created by students aged from 19 to 30 who have participated in the JA Start-up Programme, a year-long programme during which students gain real experience of the world of business: coming up with a concept for a business, creating and researching a business plan, taking responsibility and being accountable to their shareholders for the running of the company.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this start-up competition. We were very impressed by the other projects and are so happy that business people see the potential of our company.

Vilma Piironen, Cuitu

JA Europe Enterprise Challenge 2019

This year, more than 17 000 students from 500+ higher education institutions across Europe have participated in the JA Europe Start-up Programme. The students competed at the national level and the winners participated in the grand finale of the 2019 JA Europe Enterprise Challenge on 24 and 25 June, hosted by JA Norway.

15 teams from 14 countries gathered in Oslo to present their start-ups to an international jury composed of representatives of EIT RawMaterials and the EIT Community, participate in a stand exhibition and go through interviews with the jury members who assessed their value proposition (financial, social or cultural) as well as the start-up's potential to grow.

It struck us that a great majority of the start-ups who were present at the 2019 Enterprise Challenge focus on sustainability and the circular economy of raw materials. We were particularly impressed with Cuitu for their creativity, curiosity and high commitment to sustainable materials. Congratulations to the team for winning this year’s EIT RawMaterials Circular Economy Award!

Christina Meskers, Senior Manager Open Innovation at Umicore and Chair of the EIT RawMaterials jury

JA Europe and EIT RawMaterials first collaborated in 2018 to equip 1 200 young people across Bulgaria and Romania with vital skills, by blending entrepreneurship and STEM education and bringing innovation to the classroom with a focus on raw materials.

The European Union is committed to creating 10 000 new jobs in the European raw materials sector in the short term. JA Europe shares the interest of EIT RawMaterials to boost competitiveness, growth and attractiveness of the European industrial sectors via radical innovation and guided entrepreneurship.

EIT RawMaterials and JA Europe have demonstrated that the need to provide strong and meaningful educational experiences to our world’s youth is not only a shared vision, but one that can be brought to life when working in partnership. We are delighted to collaborate on such crucial issues for the European raw materials sector and for young Europeans across Europe.

Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe

From September 2019, EIT RawMaterials will broaden the scope of the collaboration by working with students at the tertiary level and will deliver the JA Start-up Programme in Bulgaria and Finland as well as implement it in Hungary.

EIT RawMaterials Signature Award jury members:

  • Christina Meskers, Senior Manager Open Innovation at Umicore
  • Luc Moens, Professor in Chemistry at Ghent University and Vice Chair of the EIT RawMaterials Executive Board. 
  • Mario Roccaro, Programme Manager Education at EIT Food

EIT RawMaterials Signature Award judging criteria:

Part 1: Content & Ideas

  • Circular Economy (20%): Projects that consider the whole value chain and life cycle of a product or service, such as conception, supply and/or manufacture as well as responsible consumption and/or disposal.
  • Building a sustainable future (20%):Projects that use design or creative thinking to develop smart solutions in terms of sustainability, especially those which consider resource efficiency or substitution.
  • Potential to transform (20%): The start-ups will be judged on how innovative their ideas are. Projects with an ambitious or creative concept will be recognised. Societal or environmental impact is especially valued.
  • Business viability (30%): Considering the market size and whether this project has any competitive advantages.

Part 2: Form & Quality of Presentation

  • Quality of presentation (10%): We are looking for dynamic, creative, engaging and effective presentations.

Read more about the JA Europe Enterprise Challenge 2019.