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Amazon launches start-up accelerator program for climate-tech packaging innovators

#Amazon launches start-up accelerator program for climate-tech packaging innovators

Amazon team.
The  Amazon Sustainability Accelerator team. 

15 Mar 2024 — The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator has opened a new round of applications for climate-tech start-ups focussed on packaging and the circular economy. Successful applicants will win the right to financial and professional guidance in developing and scaling their products.

Now in its third year, this year’s accelerator will partner with EIT Climate-KIC — a European climate innovation agency — and innovation strategy consultants Founders Intelligence, part of Accenture.

Since launching in 2022, the accelerator has supported over 25 start-ups in the UK and EU, provided over US$1 million in grants and credits, helped those businesses increase sales by 700%, and raised over €18.7 million (US$20.3 million) to date, according to Amazon.

The expanded accelerator is now taking applications from start-ups focused on building businesses in one of four categories: packaging, consumer products, circular economy, and energy in buildings.

German start-up team Funq’, which won €2 million (US$2.1 million) through the accelerator last year.“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,” says 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 program to help supercharge their growth and realize the potential of a more sustainable economy.”

Potential winnings
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 program designed to help founders navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a sustainable business.

Amazon and EIT Climate-KIC will collaborate to guide the 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 — a cloud computing service.

New for 2024, the ClimateTech Pilot Challenge will welcome start-ups that have moved beyond prototype testing and are working toward generating initial revenue and growing operations.

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 US$50,000 to US$2 million, depending on duration and scope.

Applicant types
The accelerator is open to applicants working in these areas:

  • Packaging: Start-ups creating innovative packaging materials and closed-loop reusable systems technology.
  • 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 that are building solutions that extend the lifetime of products through reverse logistics and repair capabilities accessible to end users.
  • Energy in buildings: Start-ups focused on helping buildings to decarbonize through AI and cutting-edge materials.

Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC, says: “This year’s accelerator broadens its scope to encompass start-ups dedicated to decarbonization, 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.”

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

Start-ups can apply online now in the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

Edited by Louis Gore-Langton

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