The GEC Catalyst Programme

We support your venture on the way to scale your business. Validate your business plan, customer discovery and unique value proposition. Get investment-ready and scale-up ready, on a path to commercialization.

Funded by the GEC and subject to European state aid. 

We support your venture on the way to scale your business. Validate your venture, prove customer success and create a personalized scale-up map designed to advance the path to full commercialization. 

Funded by the GEC and subject to European state aid. 

The GEC Catalyst program together with Think Beyond™ is an invitation only, hybrid/online programme designed specifically for startups who have already launched the business, dedicated time to grow it and have initial feedback on their product and market. It is also suitable for innovators interested in the GEC Scaling Factory program.

The GEC Catalyst uses an adapted Lean Launchpad approach that integrates best practices from Silicon Valley’s most popular startup programme, America’s Seed Fund SBIR programme by I-Corp and VentureWell, leading US and European accelerators and Think Beyond’s own multi-year domain expertise.

Program participants refine and test business assumptions to support their lean startup journey. Upon completion of the programme, startups will have a personalised scale-up map designed to advance them on the path to full commercialisation.

Participants who successfully complete the programme may be invited to enter the GEC Scaling Factory, where they will receive personalised, operational scaling services.


Programme Modules

The GEC Catalyst Programme takes participants through a module based curriculum.

  • Testing and validating the customer discovery

  • Testing and validating the unique value proposition

  • Developing and testing the SWOT analysis

  • Testing the business model

  • Developing strategic partnerships and co-opetition

  • Developing a successful access to capital strategy

  • Mentorship

  • GEC Impact Assessment

Programme Pillars

  • Personalized Roadmap Development​
  • Weekly Sessions​
  • Weekly Neighborhood Chat​
  • Mentorship​
  • Public Impact Day
  • Participants test assumptions and validate them through an intense customer discovery process.
  • Public Impact Day
  • Rapidly iterate product strategy to address customer’s needs. Real customer feedback to iterate (small adjustments) or pivot (substantive changes) faster. 
  • Substantive changes to business model hypotheses before spending millions of dollars and years of work. Fail faster. These changes avoid future dead-ends or costs and can be as small as changing position in the value chain to rethinking core technologies. 
  • This class is not about lectures but a hands-on experience. We fit guidance within startups’ real world: chaos, impossible deadlines, conflicting input, etc..  
  • Every team member participates in customer discovery activities. You may not delegate customer discovery. 
  • Participants prepare at home. These lectures and additional reading contain the information that is needed to complete that week’s assignment. 
  • Online lectures are often supplemented by a deep-dive, in-class socratic-type lectures and guest speakers from industry, investor groups and NGOs. 
  • Each week participants present a 10-minute summary of their assignments. 
  • The class is a learning cohort. Each participant is responsible for help each other and learn from one another’s experiences. In addition, there are weekly optional sessions (“neighborhood chats”) with team interactions to share perspective and advice. 
  • Showcase your venture in fall on the GEC Impact Days and based on individual GEC investor matchmakings. 
  • At the beginning and throughout the program the GEC performs with you your venture’s impact assessment and report on the developments.
  • At the end of the course program your developments will be assessed according to GEC’s methodology. 

Lead Mentors

Daniella Russo is the Chief Innovation Officer of the GEC. She is also the CEO and Co-founder​ of Think Beyond™ Innovation Center, the leader of a global action to harness the forces of innovation​ and entrepreneurship to address global environmental challenges with focus on for waste, water,​ agriculture, energy and climate change. Since 2012, Think Beyond™ has helped launch hundreds of​ startups in bio-benign materials, sustainable chemistry and innovative product delivery​ systems. Think Beyond’s innovation eco-system connects industry, investors and innovators. Think​ Beyond™ is a founding partner of the Global Entrepreneurship Centre.

Dr. Greg Baxter is the Chief Science Offer of the GEC and also the CSO and Co-founder of Think​Beyond™ Innovation Center. He works at the intersection of innovation and biotechnology, and brings a wealth of expertise in biochemistry, nanotechnology, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Baxter is a​ published author and holds over 20 patents on various aspects of molecular biology and biochemistry. Dr. Baxter is a former Program Director with the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at the National Science Foundation, the world’s largest early stage investment vehicle​ for startup companies. Dr. Baxter is the Founder and former Chief Science Officer of Hurel​ Corporation, the Founder and Chief Science Officer of Aegen Biosciences, a long-time mentor and​ member of the Founders Board of Advisors at StartX, Stanford Student Startup Accelerator, and a​ Fellow with the Innovation Accelerator, a public private partnership with the National Science​ Foundation to facilitate the commercialization efforts of small businesses.

Spring 2022 cohort

Sustainable green plastic for agriculture

Fully bio-based & biodegradable PHA polymers, replacing fossil-based plastics

Nutritious LDPE replacement for agriculture films

Green chemical recycling for textiles

Carbon Wastes Become Clean Energy Economic and Environmental Sustainability Solutions

Digital platform for on-demand supply chain of knitwear

Proprietary bio-based yarn

Sustainable alternative to disposable diapers

Digitized quality control for the fashion industry

Our commitment to you

  • proven methodology
  • experienced speakers and mentors
  • focus on sustainable impact
  • potential entry for catalyst alumni into the GEC scaling factory

Your commitment to us

  • 8 hours per week in virtual sessions, 
  • an estimated 8 hours of additional weekly assignments
  • participation at programme graduation event


please contact us here