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Amazon is looking for startups with unicorn potential to help solve the world's most challenging sustainability issues

Applications are now open for the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses.

Amazon The Sustainability Accelerator opens for applications from Europe's leading start-ups today. Now in its third year, this year's Accelerator will be run in collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC, Europe's leading climate innovation agency, and the Innovation Strategy Consultants Founders Intelligence , part of Accenture. The expanded Accelerator welcomes applications from climate technology start-ups that 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 its launch in 2022, the Accelerator has supported more than 25 start-ups in the UK and Europe, providing over USD 1 million in grants and credits, helping these companies grow sales by 700 % and raise over €18.7 million to date.

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is open to the following:

  • Consumer products: Early-stage startups developing sustainable and innovative physical consumer products that have recently launched or are about to go to market.
  • Circular economy: Startups building solutions that extend the life of products through reverse logistics, repair capabilities available to end users and more.
  • Energy in buildings: Startups focused on helping buildings reduce carbon dioxide through AI and cutting-edge materials.
  • Packaging: Startups creating innovative packaging materials, reusable closed-loop system technology and more.

The application deadline for the first cohort focusing on circular economy, energy in buildings and packaging is 5 Th April 2024 and successful applicants will be announced in the spring. The deadline for the second cohort focused on consumer products is 31 St July 2024, with successful applicants announced in the autumn.

Start-ups can apply online from today i UK , Spain , Germany , Italy , France and Netherlands .

Success stories from past Accelerator participants

Suri , a UK sustainable toothbrush company, aims to tackle plastic pollution, with over four billion toothbrushes thrown away each year. The startup was still in the concept stage when they joined the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, which allowed them to "grow our gross revenue to over £10m in the last 12 months and gave us unprecedented access to resources and expertise," according to Mark Rushmore, co-founder.

Gyve Safavi, Mike Peters, Mark Rushmore and Harry Brannan, co-founders at SURI

FUNQ' , a natural superfruit syrup maker 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 €2 million in capital. Founder Michael Schwarz said, “Amazon Sustainability Accelerator 2023 has transformed FUNQ' and fueled our growth by bringing us together with other founders and coaches committed to developing more sustainable products.”

FUNQ founder
(L-R) Fabian Roschig, COO, FUNQ'; Sebastian Kroth, CMO, FUNQ'; Michael Schwarz, CEO, FUNQ'

Newly developed Amazon Sustainability Accelerator

Startups in this year's Accelerator will work with experts from Amazon's Sustainability, Climate Pledge Fund and Climate Pledge friendly teams, participate in workshops, receive mentorship and benefit from a tailored program, designed to help founders navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a sustainable business. Amazon and EIT Climate-KIC will collaborate to guide Accelerator participants through a climate impact assessment, where they will learn how to self-assess their business's climate impact and develop strategies to improve their environmental footprint. Participants will also receive a grant and credits from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

New for 2024, the ClimateTech Pilot Challenge will welcome start-ups that have moved beyond prototype testing and are working to generate initial revenue and growing operations (Tech Readiness Level 6 and above). These companies will participate in a shorter, intensive 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 can earn them from $50,000 to $2 million, depending on duration and scope.

"Our goal is for the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator to be the best place in the world for entrepreneurs to create advanced sustainable products and technologies, and we want to help them achieve their dream of building a company with unicorn potential," said Zak Watts, Amazon's head of sustainability in Europe. “I'm so excited that we can expand this year's Accelerator into new categories and verticals, welcoming later-stage startups into the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator program, to help accelerate growth and realize the potential of a more sustainable economy. "

Kirsten Dunlop, Executive Director, EIT Climate-KIC, said: “This year's Accelerator broadens its reach to include 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 lifestyles that use less energy, resources and materials, reaffirming our commitment to promoting impact-driven entrepreneurship for a fair, climate-resilient, beautiful future for all.”

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