20 October 2020

5 Reasons to Host a Climathon from Impact Hub Hamburg Co-Founder Boris Kozlowski

Climathon is one way in which the Impact Hub network is being active in tackling climate challenges. Each year entrepreneurs, students, lateral thinkers, and policymakers in more than 140 cities across 56 countries are invited to participate locally in the global climate change hackathon “Climathon” and to develop solutions to challenges related to climate change. 

Impact Hub is partnering with Climate-KIC to bring Climathons to its many locations across the globe for the second year in a row. In 2019, 17 cities participated, this year, we are expecting 19 Impact Hubs to bring local challenges.

This partnership is transforming ideas into climate-change positive businesses. We are proud of the Impact Hubs that participated in the 2019 Climathon and as we prepare for a new edition next month, we asked last year’s organizers a series of questions to give better insights into what drives them to host this initiative. Let us introduce you to Impact Hub Hamburg Co-Founder Boris Kozlowski to talk about why they participated in Climate-KIC’s Climathon and what were the biggest lessons Boris took away from it. 

Why did you decide to run Climathon, and how do you see it relating to the Impact Hub Climate Commitment?

We decided to run the Climathon because we believe that this initiative was still missing in Hamburg. Also because we see that there is a clear need from people wanting to engage in Climate topics in an entrepreneurial way that relates to the Climate Commitment we signed as part of the Impact Hub network. We definitely see that we can inspire people to tackle climate challenges by creating awareness during the event with insights and input. Designing the processes in an environmentally friendly way is also important to us as organizers.

2019 Climathon Hamburg Participants

What topics did you pick and why did you choose them?

We are partners with the Ministry of Environment and Energy in Hamburg, and they focus their work on engaging citizens in climate action, waste and recycling, as well as CO2 footprint reduction. Based on these, we decided to pre-select challenges that focus on the same areas.  We had one broader challenge: How can we make our everyday consumption more climate-friendly? and one more focused: How can CO2 data be used to achieve long-term behavioral change in terms of climate protection? We thought that the topic of sustainable consumption was a good fit as it addresses serious challenges and is applicable to all participants, both in a private and business environment.


What was the process of deciding the winner? Who were they and why?

We had a jury of 5 judges: a serial entrepreneur, a university professor, an innovation expert, and two municipality representatives. The winning team designed a Co2-calculator for small and medium-sized enterprises so that they can get transparency on the Co2 emissions produced in their processes. In addition, the “clients” receive insights on how to reduce their emissions and, if not possible, on how to compensate for emissions. After Climathon was over, we supported the teams with memberships so they could keep working on their solutions, and matched them with experts from our community. Some of these teams built their first prototypes and went on to further develop their ideas in other hackathons like #wirvsvirus.

Climathon Jury 2019 Hamburg

What was the biggest learning to come out of the Climathon?

Since we organized the Climathon for the first time there were a lot of learnings in different fields. The biggest learning was that we need more time to prepare for the event. We got the confirmation 2 months before the event date, and it proved to not be enough. On the positive side, it was very inspiring to see how many people have followed our invitation to join forces for climate action. We had 82 participants with 10 ideas presenting at the end of the 24-hours. We believe that while starting the journey of being a challenge sponsor requires courage, it pays back since the experience and potential of activating a motivated crowd to work towards your climate goal is huge!

In what other ways would you be involved in 2020’s Climathon and would you be interested to be more involved with the Climate-KIC initiative? 

We are definitely interested in continuing to organize the Climathon. We have a good relationship with Climate-KIC and would like to expand our involvement in other ways.

To me,  the Impact Hub and Climate-KIC vision are very much aligned, and working with Climate-KIC makes us feel that we are always surrounded by honest, open-minded, and positive people who have a passion to work towards climate-friendly solutions.

Climate-KIC has expressed that “Working with Impact Hub has been key to scaling the reach and impact of Climathon while still keeping the quality of events very high. It’s a pleasure to work with an impact partner like Impact Hub and we look forward to hopefully growing our partnership and impact together”. 


The Climathon values very much align with the Impact Hub ethos that ‘innovation happens through collaboration and bringing different people together’’. And to continue the success of the 2019 Hackathon, the 2020 Climathon will be happening on November 13. We look forward to seeing what new and innovative solutions the members of our network come up with this year. Find more information here about how you can get involved with Climate-KIC and read all about our Commitment to Climate here