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Sincee the beginning of the year, the start-ups selected for the Circular By Design Challenge have been following the coaching programme which will last 12 weeks.
Launched at the end of October at the initiative of the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster managed by Luxinnovation, and with the support of the Ministry of the Economy, this programme is aimed at enabling the development of new design solutions and innovative business models that are in line with the principles of the circular economy.
“Aligned with our Government’s priorities around the circular economy, this pilot project enables us to create leverage on numerous levels,” explains Marc Lis, manager of the Creative Industries Cluster. The Circular by Design Challenge provides excellent opportunities to raise awareness about the importance of the circular economy and look for new ideas and business models.
This can notably be achieved through partnerships that provide a platform for implementing new solutions as a way to generate added value and open up business opportunities. “Additionally, it gives the creative industries sector the necessary professional support and attention it deserves, to showcase its ingenuity and apply its problem solving mindset”.

After a first article 10 days ago, here is the continuation of the feedbacks about this programme. (Photo: Anna Karina)

Care Wear, sustainable baby clothes

Reducing the carbon footprint of young families and the baby fashion industry, while providing a considerable added-value in comfort and ease to young parents: this is the courageous challenge that the CareWear project team wants to take up. “We want to support and inspire parents and baby stores in Luxembourg to become sustainable by providing baby clothes as a service, through our online platform”, explains Sid Mysore, the managing director of EduTec who is behind this project.

Quality, cleanliness and upholding ecological standards are not incompatible with the need to meet the needs of a high-end, fashion-conscious market.

Accompanied by his main coach, Ina Budde (Co-founder and CEO of circular.fashion à Berlin), Mr. Mysore learned a lot about best practices  for recycling clothes. “Additionally, the Steering committee feedback helped us make our idea more realistic and centred in solving the problem with the existing clothes in the market. We were able to progress rapidly due to all these productive feedback and the insights shared.”

The sometimes very direct comments were also appreciated at their true value. “We were able to redesign essential parts of our service in a few iterations due to the very direct and collaborative approach the mentors employ. The input is valuable to us, because they insert themselves in the development of the project and do not limit themselves to an evaluative function.”

Dial a Car Wash, water less car wash

A traditional car wash takes up around 200 litres of water. Dial a Car Wash’s goal is to reduce the water consumption by at least 97%. This will make it the most sustainable and eco-friendly solution available in the region”, says Kiran Nambiar, the Founder. ”We would like to call ourselves a Sustainable tech start-up, as we are creating Luxembourg’s first on-demand waterless car wash & detailing service marketplace”.

Dial a Car Wash will be an “Uber” like platform, which allows people to book a high-quality  car wash, at their door step, without water and at the clients convenient time & place. Furthermore, it will generate job opportunities in parallel.
The last few weeks of  Circular by Design Challenge have been very constructive for Mr. Nambiar. “We had the opportunity to interact with some of the leading experts in the various fields, who gave us valuable inputs, suggestions and brought a complete new perspective”.Over the weeks, Dial a Car Wash have been doing its market research and testing its service: more than 100 car services were done, saving at least 20,000 litres of water. “We also would like to thank the volunteer who participated in this process”.With the support of Luxinnovation and Goodyear, the start-up will continue its development to understand the market better and improving its service offerings. “In the coming weeks we would like to take this idea to the next level and scale as fast as we can to different markets. Our model is not a solution to the entire water scarcity problem, but it’s definitely a good step in the right direction”.

Less plastic in MiniCaps

Less than 10% of manufactured plastics gets recycled. The rest ends up in rubbish dumps or, worse, in the oceans, the fish and… in our stomachs. MiniCaps project aims at significantly reducing the plastic materials in bottle caps, and potentially giving-up non-recyclable sealing liners, by using state of the art welding technologies towards an innovative and sustainable design.

“This challenge is enriching, both on a professional and personal basis”, enjoys Adham Al Sayyad, its designer. As a PhD researcher in manufacturing engineering at the University of Luxembourg, getting involved with mentors from different and multidisciplinary backgrounds is, in his view, “not only inspiring, but also pedagogic. I am very much looking forward to the results of the challenge and to see how those interesting ideas would develop into actual sustainable solutions.”

Nana & Rose, Sustainable Maternity Wear Rental

Nana & Rose aims to provide pregnant women with a sophisticated and smart maternity wardrobe made entirely from natural fabrics and dyes which are both good for the skin microbiome and good for the planet. “We want to disrupt the maternity wear market by offering an alternative to fast fashion and to simultaneously address the lack of work-appropriate maternity attire”, explains Anna Zahedi-Lamarche, the founder     . “Choosing to rent with us gives the client all the benefits of high quality, sustainable materials that are designed for pregnancy, without the price tag. We want to be a part of their pregnancy journey, providing support when they need it most”. Furthermore, clients receive a sustainability metric QR code for every garment. “This enables them to know exactly where the clothes come from, where it’s going and what they are a part of.”

The Circular By Design Challenge has exceeded Anna Zahedi-Lamarche’s expectations in every way. “The speakers are of a high standard and all gave excellent workshops that have laid a good foundation for the challenges ahead. The coaching      and guidance I have received from Ina Budde and her team at Circular Fashion has been productive and thought-provoking     . It’s really both inspiring and exciting to see what can be achieved in just a few months.”

Mrs. Zahedi-Lamarche’s ambitions go far beyond her own project: “I hope that this      pilot-initiative by the Creative Industries Cluster will inspire the Luxembourgish Government to run similar opportunities throughout its other clusters. Luxembourg really has the opportunity to become a global leader in Circular Economy which is vital both for our future and for the planet!”

YourGreenBox: making food deliveries circular

YourGreenKit addresses waste generated by the food delivery industry. “By mimicking the old Milkman Model, we believe that adopting reusable boxes for food deliveries is a sustainable long-term solution fighting the battle against disposable, single-use packaging,” points out the YourGreenKit Team. Such “reuse” indeed decreases energy usage, amount of required raw materials and minimizes landfill.

“Based on circular economy principles, we strive to develop a loop system. Customers will never have to feel bad again when ordering food: click, pay, eat, return – without creating waste!”

The team engaged in this “Challenge” is made up by Diana Nilles, Maria Vittoria Tagi, Victoria Capcelea, and Riccardo Daidone: they considered the support received through this programme “truly invaluable”. “Our initial expectation was to find guidance for what concerns the design, prototyping, and partnership & branding. However, during the past weeks, the proactivity of the Luxinnovation team went beyond our expectations”.

As a result, the team is already in contact with various players in Luxembourg who are helping them to move forward, refine the concept and take their first steps towards prototyping. “We are thankful to our main coach, as well as to other coaches for their availability, and the SteerCo members for genuinely sharing their points of view, doubts, and suggestions. All these interactions created a trustworthy relationship fostering a fertile collaboration. We are thrilled to have received such constructive feedback thanks to this program”.

 

The intensive work of all these entrepreneurs should lead to the presentation of the final concept on 31 March 2021. On 29 April 2021, an awards ceremony will be held, at which the winners of the first Circular by Design Challenge will be announced.

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