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New programme targets Amsterdam’s circular economy startups

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Published: 24 February 2023

Two-month programme led by early-stage venture capital accelerator Rockstart aims to support circular economy startups in their fundraising efforts.

Amsterdam aims to halve the use of new raw materials by 2030 and to be a “fully circular” city by 2050 ||Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

Companies have until 8 March 2023 to apply for Amsterdam Circular, a new programme to strengthen the Dutch city’s early-stage circular economy startups and support their efforts to find funding. 

Amsterdam Circular is run by Rockstart, an early-stage venture capital accelerator, in partnership with the Institute for Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) and the City of Amsterdam’s StartupAmsterdam initiative.  

The programme is designed to support startups from the Amsterdam metropolitan area developing circular solutions in food, energy, mobility, digitization, bio-based and circular construction, and climate resilience.  

To be eligible, firms need to be post-revenue startups seeking to expand beyond Amsterdam and into the international market. The two-month, cost-free programme, which runs from mid-April until the end of June 2023, includes in-person and online events. Teams must include at least three members and be actively looking for funding.  

Amsterdam has been a global leader in the drive to create a circular economy by cutting waste through reuse of raw materials and reuse and recycling of products. The city aims to halve the use of new raw materials by 2030 and to be a “fully circular” city by 2050. 

Rune Theill, Rockstart’s CEO, said Amsterdam’s transformation into a regenerative city requires collaboration between local government venture capital, startups, corporates, universities and other institutions.  

“Dutch startups need more support to further develop the circular economic model, and we’re confident that the Amsterdam Circular programme will  play a major role in driving progress within the sector,” he said.  

Founders are likely to spend four-to-eight-hours a week participating in workshops, training sessions, and other sessions intended to strengthen their business as part of the programme. It will end with an Amsterdam Circular Investors Day where participants will be able to network with major stakeholders operating in their sector. 

Rockstart invests in early-stage startups via its agrifood, energy, and emerging tech funds. It said it had supported over 300 firms, helping them to raise over €200m in funding, since it was founded more than a decade ago.  

The accelerator has run over 30 programs dedicated to nurturing startups in partnership with institutional and corporate partners. One example announced in 2022 was a tie-up with Ørsted to run an accelerator programme as part of the Danish sustainable energy company sustainable energy company’s new innovation hub in the Netherlands. 

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