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 transformation hub 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. We are kicking off with our Call for Solutions on 9 January, which is focused on 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!

Apply for the Call for Solutions in your field of activity

The startups we invite for application for the first Call for Solutions in 2023 will be those that are finding solutions to the most pressing needs faced by the building and living sector. Find more information here.

The GEC seeks innovators driven by sustainability and technology in the energy sector. The Call for Solutions aims to support innovative solutions that address the current challenges faced by the energy sector, including: security of supply and grid stability, fossil fuels dependency and GHG emissions. More information here.

With its current way of working, the textile industry is among the most polluting industries on the planet. The Call for Solutions aims to support innovative solutions that address the most pressing sustainability challenges faced by the textile sector, e.g. the need for more sustainable materials and the huge amounts of textile waste. More information here.

The GEC seeks innovators driven by sustainability and technology in the food and agritech sector. The Call for Solutions aims to support innovative solutions that address the sector's challenges, including GHG emissions in food production, health issues and regional food security. More information here.

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 consist 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 story to build a true responsible business.
  • Join our lifelong, collaborative community of likeminded start-up 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 proven methodology integrating the best practices from the Silicon Valley to​ validate your business model, ​test your assumptions​ and develop an investment strategy​.

Format: ​Cohort-based, tailored​ 10 weeks (twice-weekly online sessions plus mentorship)​ and two days kick-off in-person in Düsseldorf.

factory Programme

multiply your revenues

Investment (convertible loan) as in-kind services to cover the expenses of your specific priorities, such as: ​technology scaling (incl. access to labs)​, market & revenue development​, operational efficiency & team development​.

A grant, provided as in-kind contributions to support your scale-up journey with:​ individualised support from our venture developer in your industry​, mentorship from industry experts​, participation at 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 proven methodology integrating the best practices from the Silicon Valley to:

  • Validate your business model
  • Test your assumptions
  • Develop an investment strategy

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

Investment (convertible loan) as in-kind services to cover the expenses of your specific priorities, such as: 

  • Technology scaling (incl. access to labs)
  • Market & revenue development
  • Operational efficiency & team development

A grant, provided as in-kind contributions to support your scale-up journey with:

  • Individualised support from our venture developer in your industry
  • Mentorship from industry experts
  • Participation at events
  • Access to the GEC event space and co-working space
  • Learn the basics on ESG and impact & define your impact purpose.
  • Sustainability consulting 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

What happens with your application?

Application

Answer the questions, upload your pitch deck and submit your application before the deadline.

Initial review

We will review your application, make sure you fit in one of our sectors, and we will get back to you to organise a time to talk.

Pitch and Q&A

During an online call you will have the opportunity to pitch your company. For our part, we will introduce the GEC in more detail to you before answering all your questions. We will ask you questions about your innovation, and you can ask us anything about the GEC.

Evaluation

Based on the documents you have provided and the pitching session, we will consult with some of our experts (all under NDA) and if we believe that it‘s a match, we will get back to you.

Offer validation

We will then make a proposal (by email) to you to join our programme, check your availability and ask you to confirm your willingness to take part.

Scale for impact

Get ready, set… Scale for impact!

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 
Venture Developer Sustainable Textiles
textiles@gec-scaleup.com
Ali Elwalily 
Venture Developer Energy & Building
energy@gec-scaleup.com
Tim van der Linden 
Venture Developer Food & Agriculture
food@gec-scaleup.com
Henrik Nohr
Sustainability Manager
buildingliving@gec-scaleup.com
Katarzyna Dembska
Catalyst Programme Manager
kdembska@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 May or 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.