Nespresso Announces Finalists For $50K StartCup Challenge

Nespresso Announces Finalists For $50K StartCup Challenge

Nespresso has today announced three finalists from the Australian StartCup Challenge, a competition supporting and rewarding innovative, circular business ideas.

Nespresso is now calling on the Australian public to have their say in choosing the winner, who will take away AU$50,000 funding, a Nespresso Momento Small Office Starter Pack and access for up to four team members to attend B Lab’s Become a B Corp workshop.

The StartCup challenge, which assessed entrants based on their innovative thinking and potential for impact, called on pioneering start-ups and SMEs from any sector to pitch their business ideas to reveal how they are supporting the circular economy in Australia.

This year’s finalists include:

  • Uuvipak – On a mission to eradicate single-use plastic from our daily lives, Uuvipak co-founders Dr Shafali Gupta and Andy Epifani have created a range of 100% home-compostable and edible packaging, made from upcycled organic food waste. Uuvipak’s innovative circular model aims to reduce the impact we have on our planet and change the way we approach packaging.
  • Gaia Project – Recognising the need to reduce waste and improve the way in which we farm and cultivate crops, Gaia Project Founder Nadun Hennayak created the Intelligent Crop Cultivation Module (ICCM). The ICCM is an innovative and unique modular cultivation method that responds to the plants’ natural growth cycle in order to significantly reduce and reuse water, while reducing energy and nutrient usage and doubling crop yield, effectively changing the way we grow produce.
  • Tackle Lab’s NOGO Bin – Seeing the incredible number of nappies that end up in landfills across Australia every day, Jaci Mata and Meg Connor founded TackleLab with the goal of diverting nappy and wipe waste from landfill. Encouraging the switch from plastic to compostable nappies, TackleLab created the NOGO Bin to allow childcare centres to compost used nappies at scale.

The public vote opens here from today until the 14th of October. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony attended by finalists in Sydney on the 3rd of November.

The three finalists from the challenge were selected by an expert panel of leaders from different sectors who are committed to innovation and sustainable development, including:
• Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Founding Director of the UNSW Sustainable Materials
Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre
• Nik Robinson, Co-Founder, Good Citizens
• Zoe Mellick, Sustainability Lead, Glam Corner
• Charlotte Connell, Climate Reality Leader, Co-Director and Sustainability lead at Founder Institute and EIR in Sustainability at Fishburners
• Yasmin Grigaliunas, CEO and co-founder, World’s Biggest Garage Sale
• Jean-Marc Dragoli, Managing Director, Nespresso Oceania
• Mariah Monaghan, Head of Marketing and Sustainability, Nespresso Australia

“We have been overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of submissions to the inaugural StartCup Challenge,” said Jean-Marc Dragoli, managing director of Nespresso Oceania.

“I want to congratulate and thank every startup and SME that participated. Each circular solution plays an important role in moving us towards our shared net zero future, and I am truly inspired by the breadth of circular innovation taking place across Australia currently. The move to net zero requires exactly that – a movement. We’re now calling on Australians who share in our vision to participate by voting for their favourite circular idea.”

An important next step in Nespresso’s B Corp ™ journey following certification in April, StartCup seeks to build on the company’s 30-year commitment to sustainability and innovation by providing a platform for innovative ideas, services or products that contribute to strengthening the circular economy in Australia.

Committed to the circular economy Nespresso has always taken its corporate responsibility very seriously and has invested heavily over the past 30 years to optimise the sustainable aspects of its processes throughout its value chain. Very early on, Nespresso began to look for solutions to reintegrate the components of its capsules into the raw material circuit and developed a process for separating aluminium from coffee grounds that is unique. In Australia, Nespresso has its own dedicated recycling scheme with four ways to participate.

With a view to driving strong engagement, Nespresso has also been innovating with new approaches from the recent Recycling Rewards pilot, which incentivised Australians to return used capsules to Nespresso Boutiques with sustainable gifts, to the 2021 Curby trial, which brought kerbside collection of all aluminium coffee capsules to people’s doorsteps in Australia for the first time.

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