Generation Greenlab: green, socially-aware business
greenlab.brussels is much more than just a business accelerator delivered by hub.brussels. It is an entrepreneurial ethos that guides prospective businesspeople in the realisation of their sustainable projects. Since it was founded in 2012, greenlab.brussels has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs, driven by a desire to positively impact on the environment. Together, these businesses form a new generation: generation greenlab.brussels.
26 prospective entrepreneurs signed up greenlab.brussels in 2019. The accelerator provides them with the keys to transform their idea into an environmentally friendly, economically viable project that creates jobs, one step at a time.
“One in every two projects that benefit from greenlab.brussels support give rise to a startup”, explains Didier Gosuin, Brussels Minister of the Economy.
Workshops, coaching and expertise
Guided by experts in the circular economy and business support, including ICHEC-PME and hub.brussels, participants have benefited from 80 hours of sustainable entrepreneurship workshops, 100 hours of coaching and 100 hours of expert advice.
“Knowing that we have access to expert advice reassures us when recruiting and innovating… we feel supported”, explain Nahla El Mernissi and her husband. Their business Enprobel, which specialises in waste oil collection, won the most recent greenlab prize. Today, Enprobel has over 150 clients in Brussels alone and enabled the recycling of 210 tonnes of used oil in 2018.
Isabelle Grippa, CEO of hub.brussels, is thrilled. “These entrepreneurs perfectly represent the new generation, developing business models based on social and environmental impact. Of course, there are many constraints and greenlab.brussels enables them to tackle these with confidence.»
Thirty-somethings in poll position
For the first time since the creation of greenlab.brussels, the majority of candidates are in their thirties, representing 48% of applications submitted, compared to 41% for 21-30 year olds, previously the age group with the largest presence in the accelerator. While 55% of participants are working, 33% are jobseekers and 3% are still studying. Finally, this year’s statistics once again show that women are in the majority,52% of all participants being female.
Crowdfunding and technology to support sustainability
Several startups emerging from greenlab.brussels have launched crowdfunding campaigns at various stages of their development. This season, greenlab.brussels welcomes a new partner, growfunding-bxl, the local, socially-aware crowdfunding platform, which has played an active role in the programme, in particular the ‘pitching and finance’ module.
Another new trend: greenlab.brussels has seen an increase in the number of technology projects. Our new prototyping module helps entrepreneurs develop their initial prototype and encourages them to test their idea on the ground.
Winners of the eighth season
- The brussels Prizewas awarded to Standard 18650, whose Belgian portable battery gives a second life to used electric bicycle and scooter batteries. The prize is a three month residency in the incubator Greenbizz and tailored support via the hub.brussels programme Mybusinesspass. The winner will also have the chance to participate in the Be Angels investment forum free of charge.
- The Mon bouillon project, which uses unsold vegetables, won the Triodos Sustainable Impact Award of 2,500 euros. Triodos Bank selected the winning project for its creativity and direct impact on sustainability.
- Washable nappy project Solangehas, symbolically, won the Public Prize.
greenlab.brussels is one of the initiatives implemented as part of the PREC (Regional Circular Economy Programme) regional circular economy programme for the Brussels Region. It is coordinated by hub.brussels with the support of Triodos Bank, the business angels network Be Angels, greenbizz.brussels and growfunding-bxl.
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