Innovate4Nature is an annual startup competition from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), SPAR, and Impact Hub Vienna, and run through the biodiversity initiative (Vielfaltleben) of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT) with additional support from the European Union.
The aim of innovate4nature is to inspire individuals and teams to come up with innovative business ideas that make a positive contribution to the conservation of nature and biodiversity in Austria. Twelve of the best ideas were recently chosen to pitch in front of an expert jury at an event hosted by Impact Hub Vienna.
The jury consisted of experts like serial entrepreneur and investor Heinrich Prokop from the TV show 2 Minuten 2 Millionen, Christa Maier of Bee One GmbH/Erste Group, Thomas Wrbka, a biodiversity expert from the University of Vienna, Saskia Wallner, CEO of Ketchum Publico, and Jens Köster, Founder of the Food Innovation Think Tank.
Six winners were chosen and each received a €5,000 prize along with a spot in an accelerator program. Over the next six months, they will be working on their business plans and impact models with the support of Impact Hub Vienna and prepare for the final ceremony in September, where one of them will be chosen for the €10,000 grand prize.
Here are the six winners:
Alles Powidl im Zwetschkenreich
Alles Powidl im Zwetschkenreich is committed to preserving the diversity of plums in the Attersee-Traunsee Nature Park by developing innovative plum-based products. Through these products, the venture aims to make a significant contribution to the preservation of primitive plum species and plants and raise awareness concerning the benefits of sustainable development.
almgrün – Gemüse am Fluss
almgrün is an organization that cultivates regional organic vegetables. When customers pick up their share of the harvest and receive their weekly “vegetable newsletter”, they gain insight into the growing and harvesting process. This intimate knowledge of where the food came from connects them to their food and also expands their awareness of sustainable nutrition. almgrün cultivates over 200 different varieties of vegetables and works peat-free.
Alpengummi makes the first chewing gum that consists only of renewable raw materials, all of which are produced in the Austrian Alpine region. The chewing gum is made from tree resin and beeswax which supports two traditional domestic trades: the almost extinct art of resin extraction, and beekeeping. In addition, the chewing gum is refined with tooth-friendly birch sugar and local essential oils.
markta is a digital farmer’s market that connects regional food producers with regional consumers. Their goal is to create sustainable solutions for food supply. All their products can be purchased online directly from producers. Customers receive additional insights to the high-quality regional products they buy which promotes awareness of the true diversity of food.
The “Plant-Urinal” is a urinal for men and women with an integrated vertical plant-based treatment system. Treated and purified wastewater can then be reused in the toilet. This project is being developed by alchemia-nova GmbH in collaboration with Blue Carex Phytotechnologies. In addition to wastewater treatment, the vertical plant wall offers all the advantages of a green wall such as microclimate improvement, reduction of air particulates and pollution, and a nature-based aesthetic. The goal of the project is to develop a functional nature-based solution for city dwellers while increasing the biodiversity in heavily developed areas.
SEEDPAP – Die blühende Verpackung
The idea of SEEDPAP is to produce packaging that blooms. Packaging is made of waste paper filled with insect-friendly seeds. It is suitable for gifts, paper bags, egg cartons, and for filling packages. When the packaging has served its purpose, it can be covered with a little soil and if kept moist, it will sprout! SEEDPAP’s goal is to raise awareness of the importance of insect pollination in food production. Their packaging can be used not only in large gardens, but also in flower pots, small front gardens, and fallow areas.