Apply now: U-Start Acceleration Programme

Innovative recycling solutions for electronic waste, secondary products and composite materials wanted - Apply now!
Photo: Thorben Wengert,

Veolia is an international group for environmental services in the fields of waste, energy and water that aims at becoming a leader of secondary resources. EIT RawMaterials is the largest Innovation Community in the field of minerals, metals and raw materials worldwide. Both have developed a renowned expertise in the field of circular economy and have a proven track record in helping innovators and entrepreneurs further scale up and develop their business.

Startups are invited to apply to U-Start, to benefit from seed funding from both parties, business coaching by EIT Raw Materials and industrial mentoring by Veolia. This includes prototyping, testing products/services on Veolia sites and market expertise depending on the maturity level of the startup. Selected applicants will pitch their concept to Veolia and EIT Raw Materials experts at a startup event in September 2019. A final selection of startups shall elaborate a joint innovation project funded by both parties, with a dedicated mentor from both partners before the final pitch in October, in front of CEO and top management of Veolia and EIT Raw Materials. Our goal is to establish long-term cooperation with innovative startups.

Although we are open to any innovative idea in the field of circular economy, we encourage applicants to this 4th U-Start edition to focus on:

  • Innovative recycling concepts for electronic waste – including PCB, Li-ion batteries, etc.
  • Alternative upcycling valorisation routes for secondary products – recycled paper, glass fibre composites, recycled carbon fibres etc.
  • New technologies for sorting and recycling composite materials – mixed plastic products and metal-plastic composites

From its beginnings three years ago, U-Start has strived to make innovation and cooperation go hand in hand, and as Matthias Harms – CEO of Veolia Germany – states it, an essential part of the acceleration programme is to help relevant startups for Veolia develop their full potential when they need it most: “During our very first call, we conducted a market study with a startup without yet knowing in which ways it would develop, and today we are preparing to sign our first joint venture with them for an innovative recycling solution. If you are an entrepreneur and you feel that Veolia and EIT could bring something to your business, you should definitely apply.”

Dr. Andreas Klossek, COO Managing Director of EIT RawMaterials, is convinced that innovation is a key driver in the field of circular economy: “Our goal at EIT RawMaterials is to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in the raw materials sector. Our Raw Materials and Circular Societies Lighthouse innovation programme contributes to the EU Circular Economy and Zero Waste strategy to achieve a sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient circular society.”

Startups can apply online to the Joint Acceleration Programme from April 1st until May 31st 2019:


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