Greenlab: 10 years of sustainable projects in Brussels
Greenlab.brussels, hub.brussels’ accelerator for sustainable start-ups, celebrates its 10th anniversary. We take this time to look back on a decade full of inspiring ideas and start-ups that have had a positive impact on people and the environment. We remember with great fondness the fruitful partnerships as well as the wonderful drive & ideas that came from dozens of greenlab candidates. And now is the ideal moment to celebrate the many highlights throughout the 10 years of greenlab, with a blowout finale to be held on June 10.
Greenlab is an accelerator program for young Brussels-based companies, initially funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). The project started in 2012 under the name BSE Academy (Brussels Sustainable Economy Academy). Along the way, BSE Academy acquired the new name of greenlab.brussels. But its ambition remained intact: to support as many sustainable projects as possible. During the 10 years of its existence, no less than 114 projects have been supported with an exceptional success rate of 76%!
Would you like to meet the finalists of this 10th edition? Register for the greenlab final to be held on June 10 (free)!
A piece of greenlab history
The foundation was laid in 2012, when 8 startups were given a taste of sustainable entrepreneurship, inspired by thematic workshops and coaching by experts.
As of 2016, the accelerator began to receive funding from the Brussels-Capital Region, within the framework of the Regional Plan for Circular Economy. This brought about a new name with new logo: greenlab.brussels. While the concept and approach remain the same, there is now particular emphasis placed on circular economy when it comes to selecting and supporting new candidates.
Since then, greenlab continues to steadily grow: the number of entrepreneur candidates increase every year. In addition, the greenlab program fits seamlessly into the trend of doing business in a more social and environmentally friendly way. For many start-ups, this approach actually forms the basis of their business model.
The greenlab finalists: pioneers of circular entrepreneurship in Brussels
A selection of the participants from the last 10 years – who are still in business in 2021: Lumency (2013), YouMeal (2013), Simone A Soif ! (2014), Fyteko (2014), BAM! (formerly Lili Bulk – 2016), Shayp (2016), Skyfarms (2016), Box Bunny (2017), Mon Cafetier (2017), Boentje Café (2017), ReVolta (2017), Enprobel (2018), Mon Bouillon (2019), YUMA (2019), Tiamat (2019), Natura Mater (2020) en Janine (2020). Most are also members of our circlemade.brussels cluster.
Balance in the profile of candidates
Over the years, the ratio of male to female participants became more and more balanced. In the last two years, even slightly more women participated (about 54%).
The average age is also evolving. Most participants were initially quite young (25-30 years). But in recent years, the average age of the candidates has increased to around 35 years.
Hackathon for sustainable projects
In October 2020, greenlab-brussels launched Rebootcamp, a hackathon focused on industrial circular projects. Thanks to the hackathon, 11 of the 18 projects selected for the 2020 greenlab final also received the necessary guidance to give their idea a practical extension, focused on business start-up and/or production.
A solid network of partners
Since the very beginning, the greenlab team has surrounded itself with some indispensable partners from the sustainable ecosystem in Brussels. Their know-how and unconditional support make greenlab a real success:
- Triodos and BeAngels: two partners who actively participate in the different sessions of the program, along with presenting prizes to the winners (Triodos with a check of 2,500 euros, BeAngels with direct access to the coveted Investment Forum).
- ICHEC: Brussels management school involved in greenlab’s courses.
- Greenbizz :business incubator that opens its exceptional facilities for workshops and coaching sessions. The winner of greenlab can also count on a 3-month stay at Greenbizz.
- Growfunding-bxl: in addition to actively participating in some workshops, the platform also supports greenlab candidates in launching crowdfunding campaigns.
- Groupe One: is involved in the annual selection of projects and provides appropriate guidance during the 6-month accelerator program.
Thanks to our partners, we succeed every year in offering a challenging and inspiring program to our candidates. The ultimate goal: to support as many start-up entrepreneurs as possible in the realization and growth of sustainable businesses in Brussels!
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