The second Amazon Sustainability Accelerator launches today, inviting early stage, sustainability-focused start-ups to apply for the programme.
Launched by Amazon, EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s leading climate innovation hub, and WRAP, a leading UK climate action NGO, the Accelerator is open to start-ups who are creating more sustainable consumer products and, for the first time, those developing technology that can help the industry recycle products more effectively and efficiently.
Zero to £1m revenue
Last year’s Accelerator participants, including nine companies from the UK and Ireland, raised more than £4.5 million, and increased sales on and off Amazon by an average of more than 250% following their participation in the Accelerator. The programme accepted 12 of the 1,300 applications, including SURI, a UK-based start-up that designs, manufactures and sells electric reusable and repairable toothbrushes with replacement heads made from plant-based materials. SURI co-founder, Mark Rushmore, says the Accelerator added “enormous value”, helping his business grow from “zero revenue to significantly over £1 million in a short period”.
About the programme
The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a 12-week bespoke programme designed to help founders navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a sustainable business. It includes expert-led virtual and in-person workshops, specialised mentorship, a tailored curriculum, and access to a network of like-minded founders.
Amazon will work with Accelerator participants to complete a Climate Impact Assessment from Impact Forecast, which will help to evaluate their businesses’ potential climate impact and develop strategies to support their businesses to become even more environmentally-friendly. Participants will also receive a grant, Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits, and free office space.
Amazon Sustainability Accelerator Focus
This year’s Accelerator will focus on start-ups from two key areas:
- Recycling Technologies: Recycling is a critical step toward building a more circular economy, where a product’s materials can be reused, thereby minimising the need to extract more raw materials. Now, for the first time, the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is looking for start-ups with promising technologies that can help the recycling industry leap forward, including new technologies that tackle yet-to-be-solved recycling challenges, or technologies that significantly improve on existing tools, such as advanced sortation machinery and waste management data systems.
- Consumer Products: The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is also welcoming start-ups building physical products that help people live more sustainably. The products must be quantifiably more sustainable than existing products, such as being made with more recycled or upcycled materials, made with reduced carbon emissions, and helping consumers reduce, reuse or recycle. Participants will also work with the Amazon Launchpad team to help them refine their business strategy and help them scale.
Benefits of joining the Accelerator
This year’s participants will receive a financial boost through a £10,000 equity-free grant and $25,000 worth of AWS Activate Credits. Participants will meet and work with Amazon leaders and scientists from its Sustainability, Circular Economy, Product Sustainability, and Climate Pledge Fund teams, and receive access to free office space at Amazon’s headquarters in London and Berlin.
Participants in the Consumer Products cohort will also receive free access to Amazon Launchpad for one year, including account management and marketing via the Amazon Launchpad storefront. At the end of the programme, both the Recycling Technologies and Consumer Products cohorts will have the opportunity to pitch their business to an audience of seasoned investors to help them build connections and raise further funding.
Selection and application
Amazon, EIT Climate-KIC, and WRAP have brought together a team of start-up and sustainability experts to serve on the selection committee, including:
- Kirsty Macdonald, JamJar Investments, Investment Principal;
- Bettina Gilbert, WRAP, Head of Technical Support and Financial Mechanisms;
- Ben Honan, Investment Manager, Climate-KIC;
- Phoebe Wang, Climate Pledge Fund, Investment Partner;
- Rich Loretto, Director, Circular Economy, Amazon; and
- Cyrus Wadia, Head of Sustainable Products, Amazon.
The committee will also serve as mentors throughout the Accelerator. Applications for Amazon Sustainability Accelerator are open now. The deadline for applications is 17 March 2023 and successful applicants will be announced in the Spring.