This year’s Start-up Challenge at Covestro is now getting down to the facts: The six best international start-up ideas have now been picked and the teams are preparing for the grand final. The winner of the company’s internal contest will be selected at the K 2019 trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf in October. Covestro’s objective with the Start-up Challenge is to promote creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset among its almost 17,000 employees and find the best business idea of 2019. The founders are then given the chance to put their idea into practice and test whether it is ready for the market. To enable that, the winners are given leave from work for up to one year and can work as a start-up within the company. As part of that, they receive seed funding of up to one million euros.
Focus on circular economy
The six teams in this year’s final and their ideas focus on further developing and strengthening the circular economy. “The ideas of the six finalists all have great potential to drive expansion of the circular economy,” says Dr. Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro. “Our contest helps encourage everyone in the company to get good ideas ready for the market as quickly as possible and turn them into genuine innovations.”
One of the business ideas involves generating power from plastic waste – so as to counter plastic pollution in the oceans and also granting access to electricity for more people in underdeveloped markets.
A sustainable means of providing clean drinking water and safe sanitary facilities is also being researched. Water pollution is to be curbed with an innovative polyurethane technology. Other ideas deal with the subject of resource efficiency, for example – such as in the shape of recyclable shipment packaging and a more sustainable, CO2-based cleaning agent that can be degraded more easily.
Own venture for the start-up idea from the first challenge
The winners of the first Start-up Challenge now have the structures and resources they need to put their idea into practice: Their “go clear” project will become a separate venture at the research division of the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment. The objective is to further develop a new technology for clean, safe and efficient refinishing of cars that speeds up the related processes and so saves paint shops time and money.
Marc Schreiber, one of the founders of “go clear,” is the venture’s head. “It’s a huge opportunity to work independently,” says Schreiber. “With go clear, I can accompany a project from the first idea to the finished product and hopefully to the first revenue it generates. I think that’s great.” go clear is still in the technical development stage at the moment. Various materials and production processes are being tested to achieve ideal objectives. The technology is to be tested by pilot customers at the end of this year.