The Global Entrepreneurship Centre (GEC) supports transformative companies that focus on sustainable technologies (sustech) for achieving circularity, the global climate targets of the Paris Accord and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Based in Germany, the GEC is a innovation hub and impact investor for scaling sustainable technology innovation and entrepreneurship. It addresses the scaling challenges faced by promising deep-tech startups with a clear focus on sustainable development goals, circular economy and climate protection from all over the world.

Challenges to address within our Call for Solutions

We are looking for sustainability changemakers. The selection process of our Call for Solutions includes a proprietary sustainability assessment, diligently carried out internally by the GEC. This time we are kicking off our Call for Solutions on 7 August with a special focus on mobility. But we are also looking for innovations in our four main sectors: building & living, energy, textile and food & agriculture.

*Please note that we will select participants on a rolling basis, so we recommend not to wait until the end date to apply!

In this GEC Call for Solutions we have a special focus on mobility but we are also looking for our main sectors

Mobility

The solutions we look for
  • Greentech mobility and CASE infrastructure
  • Inclusive autonomous transportation of passengers and goods
  • Zero-emission hydrogen technologies for heavy commercial transport and waterway logistics

Food & Agriculture

Textile

Energy

Building & Living

  • Smart tech and biological solution for agriculture 
  • Sustainable nutrition & proteins 
  • Non-hazardous wet processes
  • Technologies enabling a circular value chain
  • Material innovation & fibre processing innovation

 

  • Material efficiency solutions
  • New battery technologies, storage and recycling
  • Renewable ​
    energy
  • Upgrading existing buildings
  • Circular buildings
  • Building solutions for well-being and inclusiveness

As a founder or startup team

You are driven to make a difference! Your goals: successfully scaling your technology startup for tremendous impact! You’re working hard to further develop your technology, gain traction with initial customers and convince investors of your fantastic business plan! Tasks are piling up and you may ask yourself

  • What are the relevant priorities to scale our business, team and technology?​
  • How can we secure sufficient investment to make a massive impact? 
  • How can we move from pilot projects to commercial agreements with our customers? 
  • Is our innovation sufficiently protected enough to scale up?
  • What processes do we need to establish to enable exponential growth?

The GEC scale-up journey

The GEC supports founders of sustainability technology-focused startups (sustechs) through the scale-up process. Your scale-up journey starts in the GEC Catalyst to strengthen your foundations for scaling. Startups that successfully complete the GEC Catalyst may be eligible for the GEC Scaling Factory. The Factory programme consists of individualised in-kind services to advance your startup to the next level and become the sustech you strive to be. The whole GEC scale-up journey is worth up to €200,000 (grant and convertible loan investement as in-kind services). GEC Sustainability knowledge will be trained in both programmes.

Your benefits in a nutshell​

  • Receive up to € 200,000 to power your scale-up journey (grant and convertible loan investment as in-kind services).
  • Sharpen your sustainability and impact story to build a true responsible business and improve your investment readiness.
  • Join our lifelong, collaborative community of likeminded startup founders & innovators. 
  • Connect with industry partners, investors, scientists, and experts globally. 
  • Get access to our partner lab facilities, co-working space, and event space in Meerbusch / Düsseldorf, Germany.

Catalyst Programme

become investor-ready

A grant to cover for a proven methodology integrating the best practices from the Silicon Valley to:​

- Validate your business model ​
- Test your assumptions​
- Develop an investment strategy
- Get ready for the GEC Factory investment

Format: ​Cohort-based, tailored​ 10 weeks, twice-weekly online sessions plus individual mentorship, two days kick-off in-person in Düsseldorf / Meerbusch and final investor pitching.​

factory Programme

multiply your revenues

Investment (convertible loan) as in-kind services, such as: 

- Technology scaling (incl. access to labs)
- Market & revenue development
- Operational efficiency & team development
- Investment preparation
- Individualised support from our venture developer in your industry
- Dedicated mentorship from industry experts
- Participation at investor events
- Access to the GEC event space and co-working space

sustainability Knowledge

build a responsible business

- Sustainability management system and roadmap​
- ESG and impact reporting for investors​
- Scaling your positive impacts​
- Avoiding negative impacts ​

Format: Cohort-based plus individualised, depending on your sustainability readiness level.

Become investor-ready and build your scaling foundation!
Scale your company and build a sustainable business!

A grant to cover for a proven methodology integrating the best practices from the Silicon Valley to:

  • Validate your business model
  • Test your assumptions
  • Develop an investment strategy
  • Get ready for the GEC Factory investment

Format: Cohort-based, tailored​ 10 weeks, twice-weekly online sessions plus individual mentorship, two days kick-off in-person in Düsseldorf / Meerbusch and final investor pitching.

Investment (convertible loan) as in-kind services, such as: 

  • Technology scaling (incl. access to labs)
  • Market & revenue development
  • Operational efficiency & team development
  • Investment preparation
  • Individualised support from our venture developer in your industry
  • Dedicated mentorship from industry experts
  • Participation at investor events
  • Access to the GEC event space and co-working space
  • Learn the basics on ESG and impact and define your impact purpose.
  • Sustainability advisory to sharpen your sustainability story, set up a sustainability management system & roadmap, ESG reporting for investors (e.g. carbon footprint analysis, certifications).

Typical enrolment criteria:

  • Team: 2-5 FTE
  • Technology readiness level: 4-5
  • Commercial stage: tested prototype, customer in discovery
  • Funding stage: pre-seed / seed

Typical enrolment criteria:

  • Team: 5-30 FTE
  • Technology readiness level: 5–9
  • Commercial stage: > 2 pilot projects
  • Funding stage: seed / series A

Application process

August 7

Submit your application and pitch deck starting August 7!

August 28

You can apply to our Call for Solutions until 28 August. 

September - October

We will consult on your application with a sector specific GEC expert committee (all under NDA). If we see a potential fit, you will be invited to pitch.

Mid of November

If we believe it’s a match, you will be invited to take part in the GEC scale-up journey! Cohort kick-off will be a 3-day event held in mid of November.

What other startups say​

Ready to scale for impact?

Become part of our evolving ecosystem for sustech startups and gain access to our services and sector-specific expertise to scale your impact.  

Please note that we will select participants on a rolling basis, so we recommend not waiting until the end date to apply!

We didn’t answer all of your questions?

If you have any questions, please reach out to our venture team.

Anna Demes 
Debuty Director Scaling Factory
textiles@gec-scaleup.com

Tim van der Linden 
Venture Developer Food & Agriculture
food@gec-scaleup.com

Henrik Nohr
Venture Developer Building & Living
buildingliving@gec-scaleup.com

Katarzyna Dembska
Director Catalyst Programme
kdembska@gec-scaleup.com

Daniel Hoffmann
Director Scaling Factory
energy@gec-scaleup.com

Britta Lange, Director Global Ecosystem Management & Communications
mobility@gec-scaleup.com

Application disclaimer

You qualify for the GEC programmes, if you have at least developed a first product or service (TRL 4-5 for GEC Catalyst), secured first (pre-)seed funding and your sustainable deep-tech solution and business model pass our sustainability assessment during the selection process. In 2023, there will be three openings for your applications. So if you’re not ready yet to apply now, please do so in October.

Note about the confidentiality of information that you submit: the Global Entrepreneurship Centre will treat your information with care for its own evaluation purposes. At this stage of the submission, no formal non-disclosure agreement (NDA) can be granted. Please therefore only share information that does not require any such NDA. In the further assessment phase, more detailed information may well be necessary to grant the award. Such information can then be subject to a specific contract. The GEC programmes are subject to EU de minimis regulation and German state aid.