The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator attracts sustainability startups

Ready to scale? Amazon Sustainability Accelerator returns for second year

The second iteration of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator has been announced this week, with the tech giant looking for early stage, green-focused start-ups to apply.

Run in association with European innovation hub EIT Climate-KIC and the UK’s climate action group Wrap, the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is also – for the first time this year – looking for companies developing technology to help the industry recycle products more effectively and efficiently.

Last year’s Amazon Sustainability Accelerator attracted 1,300 applications across more than 50 countries, with 12 businesses, including nine from the UK and Ireland, chosen to participate.

Between them, they raised more than £4.5 million, and increased sales on and off Amazon by an average of more than 250% following their participation, according to Amazon.

Comprising a 12-week programme designed to help founders navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a sustainable business, the accelerator involves expert-led virtual and in-person workshops, specialised mentorship, a tailored curriculum, and access to a network of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Participants will be guided through a ‘Climate Impact Forecast’ 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 £10,000 equity-free grant and $25,000 worth of AWS Activate Credits, as well as free office space.

Start-ups sought in 2023 are those providing recycling technologies, such as those which can improve existing tools via advanced sortation machinery or waste management data systems.

Like last year, the accelerator also wants to attract makers of consumer products. The request is for products that must be “quantifiably more sustainable than existing products, such as being made with more recycled or upcycled materials, made with reduced carbon emissions, and helping consumers reduce, reuse or recycle”.

Participants will also work with the Amazon Launchpad team to help them refine their business strategy and support them in their efforts to scale.

John Boumphrey, UK country manager at Amazon, said: “Innovation is in Amazon’s DNA and through the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, we’re looking for sustainability-focused entrepreneurs who are ready to scale their business.

“The accelerator is open to entrepreneurs across Europe and I’d love to see the UK’s talent and innovation represented amongst the shortlist.”

Dr. Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC, added: “We need radical collaboration between industry and business, policymakers, and financiers to both connect innovative solutions to one another and shape new markets to bring about bold systemic change.

“Our accelerator programmes set out innovation challenges that encourage entrepreneurs to put these systemic challenges at the very heart of their business solutions.”

The deadline for applications is 17 March. The programme’s selection committee is, as follows:

  • Kirsty Macdonald, JamJar Investments
  • Bettina Gilbert, Wrap
  • Ben Honan, Climate-KIC
  • Phoebe Wang, Climate Pledge Fund
  • Rich Loretto, director, circular economy at Amazon
  • Cyrus Wadia, head of sustainable products at Amazon.

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

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