Monday, 10 July 2017

Advancing Entrepreneurship and Start-up Initiatives for Sustainable Chemistry

Are you engaged in a start-up initiative in green and sustainable chemistry? And would you like to share your experience at an international workshop in September 2017 in Berlin? If so a workshop being organised by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) on 14 September 2017 will be of interest to you.

On 14 September 2017, UNEP and ISC3 are jointly hosting a workshop to advance entrepreneurship and start-up initiatives for sustainable chemistry. Case studies will be shared and discussed to identify lessons learnt and generate policy relevant knowledge. 

The workshop is being organised back to back with the 150th Anniversary of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and will bring together a small number of entrepreneurs from developed and developing countries, international organisations and other experts. Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the workshop and presenting their start-up initiatives and lessons learnt should send a brief statement of interest to UNEP by 25 July 2017. 

Selected candidates will present their case study at the workshop. Funding is available to support participants from developing countries. 

UNEP and ISC3 will be looking to support 6-8 young international entrepreneurs engaged in green and sustainable chemistry start-up companies to participate in two back-to-back events taking place in Berlin and seeking to advance a new innovation age for sustainable chemistry.

As well as the case study workshop on 14 September 2017, the other event is a 24-hour ‘Hackathon’ which takes place in the context of the 150th Anniversary of the GDCh on 12-13 September 2017. Selected participants will have the opportunity to participate in and will be sponsored for both events. 

Scaling up sustainability
Global momentum around the concept of sustainable chemistry is growing. In 2016, the concept was recognised for the first time by the United Nations Environment Assembly and work has commenced at the global level to identify best practises. 

As SusChem stakeholders know, an important dimension of sustainable chemistry is to scale up research, innovation and entrepreneurship to develop new and safer chemicals and production processes.

Start-up initiatives and companies can be a strong driver to nurture momentum towards sustainable chemistry, and help close the gap between science, innovation and business application. Yet, while certain sectors, such as the IT sector, are known for a thriving start-up scene, start-up initiatives in area of green and sustainable chemistry are less developed.

One of the topics pursued by the Global Chemicals Outlook-II, mandated by United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in 2016, is to collect state-of-the-art knowledge and identify determinants which may advance (or impede) innovation to advance sustainable chemistry, including through start-up companies. 

Workshop goals
The overall aim of the workshop is to advance at the international level in scaling up innovation for sustainable chemistry and identify opportunities for action in this area. By bringing together green and sustainable chemistry entrepreneurs from developed and developing countries, together with other relevant experts, the workshop will present and review case studies with the goal to identify lessons learnt and generate policy relevant knowledge. Workshop outcomes will feed into UN Environment’s work on the update of the Global Chemicals Outlook in 2018, and other possible activities at the international level.

The Workshop will bring together approximately 10-15 participants leading (or supporting) sustainable and green chemistry start-up initiatives, including 3-4 entrepreneurs from developed countries (e.g. Europe/North America), 3-4 entrepreneurs from developing countries together with other relevant representatives from the private sectors (e.g. financing institutions), representatives of selected international organisations and selected experts. 

The one-day workshop will cover topics including the context of green and sustainable chemistry, knowledge-sharing about sustainable chemistry start-up initiatives, extracting determinants of success and generating policy insights, and identifying opportunities for further work and follow-up.

More information
The workshop is jointly organised by UN Environment, Economy Division, Chemicals and Health Branch and the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) in cooperation with the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin. Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the workshop and presenting their start-up initiatives as well as lessons learnt should send a brief statement of interest to UN Environment by 25 July 2017 including a brief description of their start-up initiative and how it contributes to advancing green or sustainable chemistry , together with a brief analysis of the useful lessons learnt in the initiative.

For more information, please contact gco@unep.org.

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