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Channel your passion for impact at these sustainability events and programs for SEE founders

Photo from Webit Festival, Facebook page
Image credit: Shine a light - Webit Festival 2019, website photo gallery

The transitioning of seasons is bringing new opportunities for transformation and growth not only for nature, but also for innovators and entrepreneurs. Such opportunities abound for impact-driven entrepreneurs – those engaged in creating sustainability solutions for the people and the planet. From conferences through to startup challenges and hackathons, The Recursive mapped the key sustainability-focused events, competitions, and initiatives in the SEE that you would want to pin in the following months.

Forums, conferences, startup challenges and community events

[What] Get ready to hear from top business, media, and impact leaders gathering around Webit’s mission – to improve today and create a resilient and inclusive future through exponential technologies, global collaboration, and collective intelligence. On June 28, Webit’s Founders Games challenge will bring together investors and 50 European startups and scaleups on stage, to compete for a $6M investment award. The two-day event will include in-person panels, online keynotes, a live startup pitch competition, and thought leadership sessions on 5 building blocks: Society Architects, Economic Sustainers, Planet Guardians, Health Innovators, Media & Entertainers.

[Who] Webit Global Series of Events

[Where] Sofia Tech Park, Sofia, Bulgaria & online. Register for tickets or media access here. Apply to join the Founders Games jury here.

[When] June 28-29, 2022

[What] Change4Impact represents a hybrid four-day event that explores the latest thinking around sustainability from a technology and industry perspective. At the opening sustainability-focused conference on May 26, the key themes include “Using sustainable technologies for good”, in Bucharest, and “Reducing the carbon footprint in industry by developing sustainable IT solutions”, in Cluj-Napoca. The following three days will bring a 36-hour hackathon challenge on co-creating technological solutions for a sustainable future for the environment and society, wrapping up with pitches and an award ceremony with a €9,500 money pool for the three top runners.

[Who] An Accenture event organized in partnership with Techsylvania

[Where] In-person locations: Mezanin, Bucharest and The Office, Cluj-Napoca, Romania & online at Hopin. Register for the conference here and participate in the hackathon here.

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[When] May 26-29, 2022

[What] Taking place in the picturesque Mediterranean city of Split, the Green Future Conference brings together international and domestic technology leaders, companies, institutions, policymakers, scientists, and other stakeholders to discuss the topics of environment, energy, and e-mobility. The two-day event will also include the Green Future Startup Challenge, powered by Croatian unicorn Infobip, where startups with innovative solutions in the field of sustainable development will pitch their ideas for a chance to win one of the prizes.

[Who] Green Future Conference & Infobip

[Where] Croatian National Theatre, Split, Croatia. Register for the conference here.

[When]  9-10 June, 2022

[What] Recognizing our collective food waste challenge, the RETASTE Conference initiates dialogue for innovative solutions and optimization schemes that take advantage of the significant opportunities for food waste reduction. They will put an accent on systems to reuse and recycling at all levels of the food life cycle, as well as their scalability and commercial translatability. Through the effective conservation of natural resources, the strengthening of the social fabric, and the creation of new value chains, RETASTE strives to advance the applicability of Circular Economy concepts and highlight ways to overcome social and perception barriers to reducing our environmental footprint.

[Who] Sympraxis EU

[Where] Hybrid in Heraklion, Greece and online. Register to attend or present here.

[When] Oct 20-21, 2022

Channel your passion for impact at these sustainability events and programs for SEE founders,
Impact Days 2019, photo album by Impact Hub Vienna

[What] Impact Days is an annual gathering of professionals from the investment community, aiming to make impact investing a fundamental part of the mainstream financial sector. At the 2022 edition, they are bringing together institutional investors from all sectors – policymakers, entrepreneurs, and relevant ecosystem representatives – to engage in dialogue for rethinking and reinventing finance, share best case practices, and develop new collaboration initiatives. The event is a place where learning and sharing visions, ideas, and experiences are all about creating opportunities and collaborations while challenging the fundamentals of the current economic and financial model, and discussing alternatives.

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[Who] Impact Hub & Mercer

[Where] Hofburg, Vienna, Austria. Register here.

[When] June 2-3, 2022

Accelerator programs and hackathons

[What] The Academy of Innovation aims to develop students’ entrepreneurial skills and fund their first business ideas through organizing hackathons and accelerator programs. In 2022, it will be realized in the form of a hackathon divided into 3 main modules – mentoring; knowledge creation through a panel of sessions and materials for successful implementation of an idea, and development of entrepreneurial and innovative skills during the prototyping phase. Over 4,300 participants and more than 720 teams have been trained so far, and over 15% of entrepreneurial ideas have been launched. Three winning teams will receive financial support from the €10K fund prize, will be able to visit  European institutions in Brussels, and will get one-year mentoring and inclusion in the Innovation Starter Accelerator program. There is an additional award from the Innovation Starter team for humanitarian projects that address the refugee crisis.

[Who] Innovation Starter Box

[Where] Sofia, Bulgaria. Register for the hackathon here.

[When] June 3-4, 2022

[What] Challenge Labs is an ideation program that identifies and finds possible solutions to the most pressing problems of the food industry, with the help of professionals in the field and in complementary industries. The Challenge Labs will bring together people with diverse backgrounds in agrifood and related fields to create innovative solutions and businesses addressing the major challenges of the agri-food sector. Participants will be able to create and test prototypes of visual representations, participate in intensive workshops, and get familiar with methodologies that facilitate innovation. The grand final will take place on June 15, 2022, where participants will pitch their ideas to the jury.

[Who] Impact Hub Bucharest, EIT Food & co-funded by the EU

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[Where] Online. Apply for free by May 31 here.

[When] June 6-15, 2022

Channel your passion for impact at these sustainability events and programs for SEE founders,
BlackSea ClimAccelerator 2021, Innovation Accelerator website gallery

[What] Black Sea ClimAccelerator is the regional accelerator driving green, scalable innovation in Romania and Bulgaria. Its complex structure includes support for early-stage start-ups, know-how for growth and scale-ups, grant financing of 300.000 EUR and access to a network of mentors, investors and professionals. Black Sea ClimAccelerator aims to transform today’s green ideas into the world-changing innovations of tomorrow. All of these with a single purpose: win the race to 0 carbon emissions and fight climate change.

[Who] The Black Sea ClimAccelerator program is organized with the support of EIT Climate-KIC by Impact Hub Bucharest and its main partners Raiffeisen Bank România and OMV Petrom, The Climate Vertical and its main partner Volta, as well as by Innovation Starter în Bulgaria.

[Where] Bulgaria & Romania

[When] Applications for Early Stage startups in Romania are now open through Impact Hub Bucharest & The Climate Vertical. Application window: May 24 – July 24 2022. Applications in Bulgaria will open soon through Innovation Accelerator.

[What] Commons Accel is an independent, equity-free accelerator connecting smart and sustainable projects to top mentors and industry experts. Developed by  Matei Dumitrescu, General Partner of Romanian VC fund ROCA X, they have accelerated over 150 projects and have been selected as a Best Accelerator Regional Finalist at the Central European Startup Awards. Participants from the three focus verticals -Sustainable Cities & Communities, Education & Innovation, and Responsible Business, will receive business workshops, mentorship, individual legal advice, and pitch training.  The event culminates with a Demo Day, when participants can pitch their solution to investment fund representatives and business angels for a chance to receive financing support.

[Who] Commons Accel

[Where] Bucharest, Romania. Apply for the 7th cohort, starting in September 2022 here

[When] September 2022

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Currently working as a Journalist & Chief Of Events at The Recursive mixing technology, innovation & experience for the ultimate event bundle. Combining my drive for exploring, creating meaningful connections, and presenting stories with a tickling sprinkle, I am also engaged as a Contributing Writer. From entrepreneurs and investors to tech communities, we tell the stories of those shaping the future economy in the vibrant innovation ecosystems of Southeast Europe and make them reach the world. #impact, #startups, #innovation, #investments, #education, #sustainabilty #collaboration