• In Spring 2022, adidas announced its partnership with Impact Hub and Blavity.org to launch a new program called Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M. (Building Legacies Out of Movements), an accelerator program for social entrepreneurs of color.
  • Through knowledge sharing and funding, the program cultivates a thriving ecosystem for changemakers to accelerate impact and deliver initiatives at the intersection of sport, equity and creativity for Black and Latinx communities.
     

Earlier this year, adidas announced its newest program, Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M., designed to equip entrepreneurs of color with tools and resources to enable them to accelerate growth and maximize impact. As part of adidas’ United Against Racism commitments and celebration of boundary-breaking Black women, Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M. is further closing the opportunity gap that exists for Black and Latinx social entrepreneurs by elevating, co-creating with and funding entrepreneurs creating change in their communities.

 17% OF BLACK WOMEN ARE IN THE PROCESS OF STARTING OR RUNNING NEW BUSINESSES, COMPARED TO 10% OF WHITE WOMEN, AND 15% OF WHITE MEN. DESPITE THIS EARLY LEAD, ONLY 3% OF BLACK WOMEN ARE RUNNING MATURE BUSINESSES. Harvard Business Review, May 2021

Through an intentional selection process, eight Black women social entrepreneurs were identified to participate in the first-ever Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M. cohort. The first cohort kicked off in July 2022 and will graduate in March 2023. 

Throughout their nine months in the program, entrepreneurs have access to a tailored portfolio of resources and opportunities from within and outside of the adidas ecosystems that will serve to accelerate their impact. These resources include funding, access to industry experts, mentorship, workshops, fireside chats and visibility into adidas’ networks.

  • Funding: adidas awards each entrepreneur $100,000 to apply to the growth and development of their organization. 
  • Mentorship: Entrepreneurs are assigned mentors from a talented pool of women of color across adidas who hold positions on its product, retail, marketing, creative and digital teams, and meet with them once a month. 
  • ‘Office Hours’ Workshops: Each month, entrepreneurs attend workshops led by experts from adidas’ internal and external networks. The workshops cover key topics meant to aid in business development.
  • Fireside Chats: Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M. welcomes powerful women of color to hold monthly conversations on topics like innovation, networking and self-care. Speakers have included Black Ambition CEO and author Felecia Hatcher, Parkwoods Philanthropy Director Ivy McGregor, actress, producer, screenwriter Lena Waithe and yoga and healing justice facilitator Alli Simon.
  • Tools: Participants are given a one-year subscription to Ureeka, a small business growth engine, and are plugged into the adidas Community platform where they learn from and interact with leaders in business, sport and creative industries. They are also connected to the many resources Impact Hub offer.

After graduating from the program, participants become a partner in the “Innovation Network”, a network of social impact partners that seek to drive forward change within their communities and organizations. This portfolio of partners will enable adidas to continue strengthening the diversity of our partnership network, increase our reach within key markets and deepen our relationships over time.

Ayesha Martin, Director of Global Purpose at adidas said: “At adidas, we are committed to changing lives through sport, and are excited about the opportunity to– through Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M.– start to address and remove systemic barriers Black & Latinx community change-makers on the rise face. This is just the beginning, with so much more to do.”

Join us in celebrating our first Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M. cohort of powerful women entrepreneurs who are having far-reaching impact on their communities.

  • Annya Santana, Hood Health: Hood Health’s the first media platform and lifestyle brand at the intersection of health, wellness and culture. A rare space that focuses on inclusive, practical, functional wellness of people of color through thoughtful, educational, entertaining content where nutritional, physical, mindful wellbeing and culture collide. IG: @hood_health
  • Briana Thompson, Spiked Spin & Wellness Co: Briana launched Spiked Spin & Wellness Co in 2016 to diversify the state of health and wellness by creating classes and resources for Black women and allies to feel seen and supported. Spiked Spin has since grown its ridership to over 4,000 people in NYC and offers indoor cycling, Pilates, yoga, nutrition guides and monthly group mental check-in sessions with licensed therapists and psychologists. IG: @spikedwellness
  • Corinne Milien, WRK: Corinne founded WRK, a talent sourcing firm specializing in connecting sports, media and entertainment companies with a community of qualified talent, to eliminate bias and barriers for those historically excluded from traditional hiring practices. Her infectious energy towards “doing good” for others and ultimately paying it forward is helping to level the playing field for all. IG: @lets.do.wrk
  • Elisa Shankle, HealHaus: Elisa merged her passion for integrated mindful and holistic approaches to wellness with her passion for design to create HealHaus, a one stop shop for diverse healing services, available at its Brooklyn flagship location or through an online subscription-based membership or workplace program. IG: @healhaus
  • Jasmyne Spencer, The Black Women’s Players Collective: Serving on the executive board of BWPC, a nonprofit created by the Black players in the National Women’s Soccer League to advance opportunities for Black girls in sport and beyond, Jasmyne helps elevate the image, value and representation of Black women as athletes and leaders across industries. IG: @blackwplayercollective
  • Lauren Spearman, R&B Yoga: Noticing a lack of diversity in the yoga community she was so passionate about, Lauren created R&B Yoga to break down barriers to yoga for those who’ve previously not felt included in the community. By blending upbeat, modern music with beginner-friendly techniques, the classes encourage body positivity and make fitness accessible to all in a welcoming, lighthearted and fun environment. IG: @rnbyoga
  • Sinikiwe Dhliwayo, Naaya: Sinikiwe is committed to using wellness as a means to make society more equitable and just, which led her to found Naaya. By highlighting practitioners and instructors of diverse backgrounds and bodies, Naaya is disrupting the status quo of the wellness industry, helping change the wellness narrative from exclusive to inclusive and creating safe spaces for BIPOC folks to exist as the fullest expression of their humanity. IG: @naaya.wellness
  • Wanda Jones, The Ahmaud Arbery Foundation: Committed to honoring her son, Ahmaud Arbery, she created the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation to empower, serve and affirm Black boys on their journeys towards mental wellness. IG: @ahmaudarberyfoundation

The next cohort, which will focus on equipping and empowering Latinx social entrepreneurs, will kick off in 2023, with the cohort application opening in June. To participate, entrepreneurs must be at a company or organization:

  • Based in Portland, Oregon – home to adidas’ North America head office
  • Within early-stage development (first 1-3 years) 
  • With at least one Black and/or Latinx founder
  • Whose purpose is aligned to removing barriers of access to and safety in sport at the intersection of community, equity and creativity.

About adidas

adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany, the company employs more than 61,000 people across the globe and generated sales of € 21.2 billion in 2021.

About Impact Hub

Impact Hub is a global network catalyzing entrepreneurial action and business for good. With 108+ locations across 60+ countries and 25,000+ people driving change, they connect entrepreneurs and innovators to large organizations, investors, and the public sector. Why? To enable inclusive and sustainable innovation – at scale. 

About Blavity.org

Blavity.org is a new racial equity and social impact organization created by the founders of Blavity Inc. Blavity.org Foundation is not-for-profit group to drive Black economic advancement forward through entrepreneurial fellowship programs featuring grants, education, and sponsorship. A groundbreaking social-cause organization, Blavity.org’s Foundation has been created by Blavity Inc., the leading media company for Black culture and millennials. Blavity.org was built to further Blavity Inc.’s social impact through the development of digital programs designed to advance economic progress and racial equity for Black entrepreneurs. Blavity.org understands the need of a foundation to drive, support, and amplify Black economic achievement and mobility.

Momentum of Cooperation reduces barriers faced by migrant and refugee women undergoing the process of socio-economic integration.

Since 2015, more than 1.5 million Third-Country Nationals aged 18-35 have entered the European Union and have made the region their permanent home – about 46% of this group is women. 

Momentum of Cooperation is an initiative focused on reducing barriers faced by migrant and refugee women undergoing the process of socio-economic integration. By taking a multi-stakeholder and whole-of-government approach, the programme aims to build a more inclusive, accessible, and equal society for all.

Momentum is a 24-months programme, implemented from January 2022 to December 2023, and funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). In partnership with local stakeholders in five EU countries, the programme is taking place in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Hungary.

The programme’s full name, “Breaking silos, promoting young TCN women’s access to targeted vocational training and labour market opportunities through social economy – MOMENTUM of Cooperation” gives a direct overview of the main goals of this ambitious initiative.

Momentum brings together diverse stakeholders such as Civil Society Organizations, Public Employment Services, Vocational Trainer Providers, and actors from the social economy and social entrepreneurial sector to design innovative and impactful ways to support refugee and migrant women to access vocational training opportunities and job market in their hosting countries.

 

 

Led by Euricse, one of the project’s first key steps was to identify the barriers young refugee and migrant women face when accessing vocational training and the labour market. We conducted in-depth research, explored collaboration among key stakeholders, and  successfully published a Research Findings Report. Data was collected in the five project partner countries: Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Hungary. 

These findings inform future project activities involving stakeholders in each country to develop and test a collaborative framework. The collaboration framework is a document that frames and defines the collaboration among the different stakeholders that can facilitate and improve access to training opportunities and the job market for migrant women. 

Participating stakeholders come from the project’s main target groups, such as Vocational Training Providers, organizations and associations working with migrants and refugees, Public Employment Services, and Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship actors.

In fact, between October and January 2023, a series of multi-stakeholders activities will occur in the five program countries.

  • An info session to introduce to a broad audience of interested and relevant actors the immediate and long-term goals of the project
  • 5 Participatory Labs where diverse key actors will finalize the Integrated Collaboration Framework based on a draft provided by the project’s partners. The participating actors will act together to mitigate and solve the barriers and obstacles that third-country nationals women face in the five countries of the project.

The main objective of these actions is to provide a multi-stakeholder frame of collaboration and input to develop and pilot to be launched in spring 2023. This includes a tailored Vocational Training program that will offer a unique and impactful experience to the beneficiary TCN women aged 18 to 35.

“Now MOMENTUM goes really into action,” says the Project Coordinator “inviting stakeholders to draw the paths of collaboration adapted to each national context, but also transferable to other European countries. The added value of the collaboration framework.”

To learn more about the project and to access the contact of the Project Coordinators in different countries, please visit momentumproject.eu

Contact Person: Marina Sarli | [email protected]

As one of the largest networks for entrepreneurial support, Impact Hub continuously grows in different ways, shapes and colors. One of them is through what we call seed programs. With support from partners that believe in the power of social entrepreneurship to transform communities, we are able to bring Impact Hub’s vision of inclusive and sustainable innovation at scale to all corners of the planet, providing the grounds for interested local changemakers to engage and flourish in an empowering environment.

Impact Hub Candidate Bissau, for instance, has recently joined our global family through a seed program supported by the MAVA Foundation and the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP). Discover their beautiful journey – which is just getting started – and learn about the difference they are already making to foster impact entrepreneurship in Guiné-Bissau.

Watering the seeds

Initiated in 2020 and with a strong focus on solutions for environmental conservation, green economy and social development, the Impact Hub seed program in Guinea-Bissau had two main goals. The first was to stimulate, enable and strengthen the local network of entrepreneurial communities, connecting interested stakeholders from all backgrounds (private sector, Civil Society Organizations, government and academy, for instance). The second one was to establish a talent and innovative social entrepreneurship center in the country’s capital, where young men and women with business ideas and passion for the creation of social and environmental impact could gather and learn from each other. 

In order to be successful, identifying and developing the capacity of a founding team of entrepreneurial changemakers interested in running the incubator and fostering the ecosystem was key to the process. Impact Hub ran the Guiné-Bissau Empreende campaign, through which a brilliant team of young skilled visionaries was selected to receive in-depth capacity building, training and support  and become community agents for innovation, improving local economic development and strengthening its social cohesion.

We have a team capable of carrying out the challenges we set ourselves. The candidacy phase [of the selective process] was the opportunity we were given to start creating something that could generate the real change that is still needed in the entrepreneurial field of Guinea-Bissau, and its objective was achieved when we were selected and given the authorization to being able to present ourselves as Impact Hub Candidate Bissau” – Anicet Charles Ateba Mama, Logistics and Communications Manager at Impact Hub Candidate Bissau

Since March 2021, the team has been working on and improving their business model, receiving tailored support from our network – which included a visit to Impact Hub Bamako – and, most importantly, has already successfully executed their first impact program for entrepreneurs fully dedicated to the circular economy.

Harvesting the first fruits

Semente Verde – a program to find new sustainable solutions addressing recycling and reusing of plastic bags – was launched by Impact Hub Candidate Bissau at the beginning of 2022. This first initiative aimed to empower young changemakers and entrepreneurial university students to channel their innovative and creative potential to find new entrepreneurial solutions. The overall goal of encouraging sustainable solutions in the Semente Verde framework stands for an effort to mitigate the consequences of plastic waste generation and the over-consumption of natural resources in Bissau, targeting the Sustainable Development Goals success on a regional level.

Running the Semente Verde program made me grow a lot in many ways and increased my audacity to embrace the challenges that we still have in our society” – Silênia Mendes, Impact Hub Candidate Bissau’s Space & Events Manager

Among hundreds of interested young innovators, 32 higher education students were selected to participate in Semente Verde’s 64-hour capacity building journey dedicated to circularity and all stages of an impact entrepreneurship project. One of the program’s main pillars was to get the participants involved with different key stakeholders throughout the process, enabling the necessary connections for impact entrepreneurship to flourish in Bissau and allowing for systemic pushes in the direction of the circular economy. 

The program was divided into four phases – inspiration, training, idealization and reinforcement. Based on the lessons learned throughout this journey, each student or group of students structured their circular solution ideas into feasible business models and presented them to the public and jury. 

As a final result, 2 of the 11 pitched ideas were selected for implementation and awarded with cash prizes. The first place went to Produção de Lonas, represented by Ansumane Sambaú, and focused on the production of canvas based on plastic bags for African fabrics; the second place was awarded to MAJE, represented by Abrão Balum, which was dedicated to building a prototype of a wardrobe made of the same feedstock. 

Both Semente Verde winning teams are now being monitored and accompanied by Impact Hub Candidate Bissau’s team to ensure that their projects are executed in a period of three months and keep on generating the necessary ripple effect for systemic changes.

Creating roots

Once Semente Verde wrapped up, the team asked the program’s participants for their feedback. Results were encouraging: the young innovators who took part in the process felt empowered with the ability, autonomy and entrepreneurial spirit to run their own projects in the area of circular economy. Participants also affirmed that they ended the Semente Verde journey with the feeling of being capable of inspiring others to follow the same path, thus are ready to disseminate the seeds of innovation and transformative entrepreneurship to other corners of Guinea-Bissau. 

As they consolidate themselves as a catalyst agent in the Bissauense social entrepreneurship ecosystem, stay tuned to watch Impact Hub Candidate Bissau’s growth and new changemaking adventures!

Do you and your organization have what it takes to help us build healthy, supportive and thriving social entrepreneurship ecosystems? If you are curious to learn more about our seed programs and understand what’s the process to become an Impact Hub partner in this journey, reach out

The journey to Net Zero is one that is walked collectively by Impact Hubs all over the globe; a journey that will allow us to ultimately co-exist and thrive with nature. Over the past few years, a few  Impact Hubs have been leading the way to become Net Zero.  

Their main strategy to achieve this goal was to categorise their emissions into Scope 1, 2, and 3 to be able to implement focused initiatives for each scope. These scopes are the leading standard currently used in the corporate world when it comes to greenhouse gas accounting. Scope 1 emissions are directly created during operations owned or controlled by the company; Scope 2 emissions arise from the generation of electricity, steam, heat, and cooling consumed by the company; and finally, Scope 3 emissions are all emissions that arise as a result of the organisation’s activities from sources that are neither owned nor controlled by the organisation. 

We spoke to three Impact Hubs to understand what motivated them to start their journey, to outline the key initiatives they implemented to deal with each emissions scope, and to listen to their advice. Understanding their process can be helpful for those who want to follow in their footsteps.

Impact Hub King’s Cross

Impact Hub King’s Cross’ journey to Net Zero started as a response to the urgency of the climate crisis. Their current location is a redeveloped Victorian warehouse that integrates advanced sustainable technologies and space maximisation designs to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. In order to efficiently reduce their emissions, they established an extensive plan to deal with each scope.

For the Scope 1 emissions, they have reduced dependency on car or air travel for their business activities; encouraging video conferencing when possible instead. For the Scope 2 emissions, natural lighting is maximised and additional lighting is predominantly provided using low-energy (dimmable) fluorescent bulbs and tubes. The space is also highly insulated and uses air source heating and cooling systems. Finally, for the Scope 3 emissions, their initiatives include: avoiding single-use plastics, cups, and other packaging by providing a range of reusable options in their café and bar, funding part of their local borough’s food waste programme which they are using, and employing an eco-friendly cleaning company 

Their membership within the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership (ISEP), a group of local organisations coordinated by the Islington Council and committed to reaching Net Zero, was also key in supporting their journey. Being a member allowed them to “take advantage of advice, training and practical support to become more sustainable, with a focus on energy and carbon”.

Impact Hub Curitiba

Impact Hub Curitiba’s motivation to go Net Zero started with the ambition to make their Impact Hub a role model for their community by implementing more environmental actions, reducing their negative impact, and inspiring through action.

The first step to reducing emissions was to calculate them using GHG Protocol’s calculation tools for Brazil. They started their assessment with emissions that have a large impact and the ones that can easily be reduced. 

After that, Impact Hub Curitiba came up with a few initiatives to deal with each of the scopes’ emissions. They sent organic waste to a compost site in order to avoid landfills and to cut methane emissions, they also encouraged their community to reduce and better separate their waste. Finally, all emissions were monitored to be offset, with a focus on the Makers’ transportation as well as Scope 2 emissions.

In partnership with Iniciativa Verde, a company dedicated to reforestation, tackling climate change, and sustainable development in rural areas, they were able to offset their emissions. One of the reasons why they collaborated was the fact that the reforestation done by Iniciativa Verde to offset their emissions happens in the Atlantic Forest, the same biome in which they both live and operate.

Impact Hub Lusaka

Impact Hub Lusaka’s mission to work towards becoming a Net Zero Hub is derived from their vision. They aim to create an Impact Hub whose objectives are anchored in the principles of sustainable development. They are trying to achieve this by adhering to the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Among their key initiatives to reduce emissions, they organize community meals to reduce energy consumption  and created furniture out of wood and pallets from shopping mall retailers that would have gone to waste.

Stay tuned for more Net Zero stories.

Environmental entrepreneurship is an appealing concept to the Senegalese youths. For a few years now, there has been an increase in projects run by young people that aim to improve sanitation, fight pollution and reduce plastic waste. However, the technical support and idea incubation available remain small. 

Willing to fill in that gap, Impact Hub Dakar implemented a circularity programme pilot, making available an opportunity for Senegalese young innovators and entrepreneurs with projects at the idea stage to develop their vision into something concrete and discover the large ecosystem of projects pertaining to their interests.

Named “Wërngël-Bi”, a term in Wolof that translates to “The Circle”, the circularity programme at Impact Hub Dakar supported different entrepreneurs carrying out projects that ranged from eco-construction to ecological toilets. The top 3 projects were qualified for funding opportunities after a Demo Day, where they had the chance to showcase the progress made during the programme.

Meet the Wërngël-Bi entrepreneurs


Josephine Tine, the co-founder of ART-Pesoung, was one of the participants of the initiative. She noticed the lack of sanitation in rural areas, and how it was affecting women and the population at large. In view of the problem, Josephine decided to start a project that consists in creating ecological toilets with soil bricks, and also methanized pits for generating biogas from human excreta. Her solutions not only improve hygiene and sanitation, but also makes wastewater treatable and ready to be used for household watering too. Josephine believes that with this innovation, issues of sanitation in rural areas can be solved while lowering the cost of living with biogas and running water.

Founder of the Cactus Innovation venture, El Hadji Malick Sagne was another participant of the programme. He wants to change how we see agriculture and imagines a world where we cultivate without pesticides or fertilisers, operating only with the natural biogas of plants. His solution is powered by innovating with cactus plants, which are transformed into biogas, then transformed into electricity thanks to a machine fueled by gas, supplying resources for the properties. 

Malick shares about how he has grown through Impact Hub Dakar’s Wërngël-Bi: “Impact Hub has promoted exchanges between entrepreneurs, giving rise to new collaborations as well as a positive climate movement. Furthermore, with the funding obtained, I can confidently develop my project”, he highlights.

Adja Aissatou Diallo, founder of Galle (which means “home” in Pulaar), has chosen the path of eco-construction. Adja wants to build houses by using renewable, biodegradable and available materials such as raw earth, straw and bamboo. These houses will also be self-sufficient by being equipped with a device for collecting rainwater, providing running tap water for the families. Thanks to the support of Impact Hub through the circularity programme, several concepts on business models have been mastered for Galle. Adja adds: “The teamwork has allowed us to see the complementarity of our projects and new relationships were born between different pillars.”

In addition, there were other two projects on the idea-stage that participated in the programme and received great support to develop into prototypes: a consultancy agency for mineral extraction with minimal environmental impact and a project for making bricks out of plastic waste.

All these projects come from the observation of real-life challenges, the desire for change and an innovative spirit, leading to economically feasible solutions and environmental sustainability. Thanks to Impact Hub Dakar, the entrepreneurs are ready to fly and further develop their businesses – and above all, they are ready to contribute to the sustainable transition from the linear to the circular economy in Senegal.

The Circularity Program is part of our broader Environmental Strategy – discover how Impact Hub Global Network is addressing our time’s most pressing issues here.

To learn from already-tested approaches, discover new activities and opportunities to integrate the Circular Economy knowledge into your entrepreneur support programs design and implementation, discover our toolkit!

How can we better support acceleration and incubation efforts to push for the transition from the linear to the circular economy?

Looking to answer that question and with the support of the MAVA Foundation, Accelerate2030 codified Circular Economy (CE) knowledge and best practices from the global Impact Hub network, Switzerland’s CE ecosystem and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and embedded them into Accelerate2030’s 2021 program. 

If you slept on it, Accelerate2030 is the world’s leading program for entrepreneurial solutions towards the Sustainable Development Goals. They believe in the power of business for transformative change and catalyze innovative startups in emerging and developing economies. 

On their efforts and outcomes to accelerate the transition to a circular economy: in their latest chapter, six countries – China, Croatia, Colombia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Turkey – were selected to pilot and fully integrate the “future proof business” framework of circular economy into their national programs with the aim to provide technical support to green and circular entrepreneurs and foster nascent circular economy ecosystems at the national level. 

Talking about key numbers from the Accelerate2030 Circular Economy program pilots:

  • At the national level, 64 entrepreneurs were selected to take part in the program among more than 450 applicants; 
  • 47% of ventures in pilot countries were women-led, i.e. women make up at least 50% of the leadership team;
  • 98% of participating entrepreneurs increased their knowledge of circular economy throughout the program;
  • 89% of ventures are implementing new circularity principles (65%) or improving upon their existing circularity approach (24%) as a result of the program, including designing out waste, enabling maximum reuse and recycling of their products, avoiding the use of toxic compounds and ensuring energy comes from renewable sources;
  • participating ventures were able to attract over 300,000 USD in total investments from green funders in the past year!

Regarding lessons learned, Accelerate2030 developed a robust capacity building infrastructure and was able to validate the strong interest and need of capacity building on the topic of circular economy as a strategy to combat climate change in developing and emerging economies.

Learn more about the Accelerate2030 participating countries, ventures and stories here.

Circularity is part of our broader Environmental Strategy – discover how Impact Hub Global Network is addressing our time’s most pressing issues here. For more inspiring stories like this, head to our blog.

To learn from already-tested approaches, discover new activities and opportunities to integrate the Circular Economy knowledge into your entrepreneur support programs design and implementation, discover our toolkit!

Circularity has the power to create a more sustainable present and future. At Impact Hub, we are committed to mainstream circular principles across our global network’s business support initiatives, especially incubation and acceleration programs. 

As part of that journey, we ran a pilot programme across different Impact Hubs around the globe dedicated to boosting impact ventures and social entrepreneurs’ capacities to implement circular principles in their own operations and mission. With a main goal to increase the local awareness and know-how for the circular economy, Impact Hub Harare was one of our locations who joined the adventure of running the pilot.

Based in Zimbabwe’s capital, the Impact Hub Harare team selected 11 ventures – mostly social enterprises between startup and growth stages – to join its six-month circularity program. While some of the participants were already “natives” in the theme as they tackle recycling, food and plastic waste, most of them were considered “adopters” (as in still did not have any circular principles embedded in their core, but were willing to do so in order to become more sustainable). This mixture of circular experiences was certainly an ingredient that enriched the sharings and developments along the program.

Beyond developing a circular mindset and circular business models, one of the biggest lessons Impact Hub Harare and the participating ventures seized from this chapter is that relationship building and a supportive ecosystem are fundamental for growth and scaling – one cannot be circular in isolation.

What followed the conclusion of the program was encouraging: the final event saw lots of different stakeholders interested in their work, including the national radio station, and many people have reached out to them to learn more about the next circularity embedding journey steps, including the country’s Ministry of Environment. 

Learn more about the Impact Hub Harare’s circularity program implementation and its participants by watching the videos below:

Circularity is part of our broader Environmental Strategy – discover how Impact Hub Global Network is addressing our time’s most pressing issues here. For more inspiring stories like this, head to our blog.

To learn from already-tested approaches, discover new activities and opportunities to integrate the Circular Economy knowledge into your entrepreneur support programs design and implementation, discover our toolkit!

In June 2022, Impact Hub Barcelona ended on a successful note the first edition of “Raíz”, a programme focused on supporting and incubating startups and new companies that want to integrate circularity principles into their business models and value propositions. 

Over a period of 3 months, Impact Hub Barcelona promoted training on relevant topics – circular economy, impact measurement and management, systems thinking, marketing, sales, etc. – and worked side by side with a team of more than thirty mentors and the five participating entrepreneurs to boost and develop their skills, connections and confidence before going to market.

Meet the 5 participating startups of Raíz’s first edition


The winning project of Raíz’s first edition was
Sustein Material, a startup driven by Simon Gonzalez that addresses the reuse of healthcare waste for construction materials. Did you know that 100% of the sanitary waste discarded in hospitals and health centers ends up in landfills or incinerated? Through his project, Simon says “enough is enough” and proposes to extend the 15 minutes of useful life that these materials usually have by converting them into material for housing construction.

Simon won a membership to Impact Hub Barcelona space for the next few months. ”A great prize”, as he considers that being part of the community throughout the time he participated in the program has been key to the development of his project. “Impact Hub has brought me synergies and new social circles, both with the people who work here, as well as the members of the community with whom I have been able to connect,” he says. 

Ston Agona has also participated in the incubation program, which is an urban sneaker made from recycled and vegan material driven by Sergio Muñoz Fernández. Although his product is not yet on the market, Sergio says that “I have learned to create a narrative about the circularity of our sneakers thanks to Raíz”. 

Led by architect Adriana Rodríguez, another participating venture is Arova Arquitectura, which is an architecture and interior design studio that gives a second life to construction waste. “And in this case, we already have a success story to tell!”, shares Impact Hub Barcelona. “Shortly after finishing the program, Adriana has managed to sign a collaboration agreement with Fundació Roure to manage the waste from her own renovations.” Amazing!

This is Ours is all about renting, monetizing, premiering and having fun. This clothing rental platform of major brands promotes circular fashion and luxury clothing without renouncing to take care of the planet. The project, which has been going on for a while now, was created by Vanessa Filippa Teixeira and accompanied by Eva María Mendoza Díez.

Finally, Midori also participated in the program. A gamification app created by Alejandro Ponce to lead a more circular lifestyle that renounces throwaway practices. Midori is one of the startups in Raíz with the longest success track record and work done. In fact, this is how they were described in El Periódico a few months ago.

Impact Hub Barcelona’s circularity learned lessons


Throughout the program, Impact Hub Barcelona has promoted several events in the framework of the program, organized and coordinated by
Marina Medina Camps, main responsible of Raíz. Their main purpose has been to accompany the five selected startups, as well as creating and disseminating content related to the circular economy. 

Among others, Impact Hub Barcelona organized a round-table discussion entitled Consumption and activism moderated by Gisela Ibáñez, activist for the transformation towards sustainability and chief operations manager at Go Zero Waste. Participants included Sònia Flotats, journalist specialized in sustainability and creator of the fashion and sustainable trends magazine So Good So Cute; Anna Badia, promoter of regenerative agriculture and Llorenç Witty, workshop leader and educator on the ecosocial transition. 

During the event, the involved parties reflected about the lack of information, transparency and mislabeling by big brands, which make it difficult for consumers to make more sustainable and responsible purchases. While governments suggest some policy solutions to these obstacles, there’s an imminent individual challenge: to practice critical consumption incorporating ethical, social and solidarity values. The conception of responsible and conscious companies is fundamental to help people in this individual challenge. In this sense, at Impact Hub Barcelona they aim to accompany entrepreneurs who want to change the world and Raíz has been a triumph on that behalf.

Circularity Tales at Impact Hub Barcelona

If you and your company are also concerned about the future and want to be part of the change, help Impact Hub Barcelona make the second edition of the program a reality!

Circularity is part of our broader Environmental Strategy – discover how Impact Hub Global Network is addressing our time’s most pressing issues here. For more inspiring stories like this, head to our blog.

To learn from already-tested approaches, discover new activities and opportunities to integrate the Circular Economy knowledge into your entrepreneur support programs design and implementation, discover our toolkit!

The world’s population is constantly on the rise, and every year, more and more raw materials are extracted to make products for consumption. These raw materials are finite, and to exacerbate the situation, the used products are largely dumped in various landfills, missing the opportunity for extra value creation, and adding pressure to the environment. What if we all learned from mother nature and her cyclical processes? Adopting a Circular Economy model would allow us to extract less raw materials, add more value to our products, and ‘close the loop’, leaving our environment unharmed. 

What does adopting a Circular Economy model (circularity) look like for entrepreneurs and startups? What if all startup incubators and accelerators took the step towards integrating design principles that foster circularity? How would this impact ventures going through these programs and the environment at large? 

These are some of the questions that the Impact Hub Global Network has been exploring over the past year. From the initial questions, the network moved to testing and piloting with local Impact Hubs. 12 Hubs across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America are integrating circularity into their programs.

Impact Hub Kigali is part of the process and has recently concluded the Circular Economy (CE) Acceleration Program, a unique 6-month program dedicated to enabling startups to become more circular. The CE Acceleration program was supported by the DOEN Foundation, the MAVA Foundation, and the GIZ Digital Transformation Center and was designed to leverage Circular Economy principles in supporting startups or companies to identify and capture new opportunities in their product or service life-cycle that will ultimately lead to the sustainable growth of their circular businesses.

Circularity Tales at Impact Hub Kigali
Representatives from the six selected startups, and Impact Hub Kigali team at the program kick-off session

The pilot program in Rwanda began with a nation-wide call for applications to attract startups and companies interested in becoming more circular. Six startups were selected out of a pool of 50+ applicants. 

Each startup was assigned an individual sustainability coach that supported them to apply CE knowledge in testing out their circular innovations. In addition, they also had access to a series of circularity workshops and training such as product/material journey mapping, circular opportunity identification, circular collaborations, and circular business modeling, as well as access to seed funding to test their circular innovations. 

The program culminated in a circular Demo Day where startups had a chance to showcase their progress and pitch in front of potential partners and investors. The event also brought together relevant circular economy institutions, local partners, practitioners and enthusiasts, and served as an opportunity to network and discuss circular collaborations.

In addition, the pilot aimed to raise circular economy awareness in the country. As part of that commitment, Impact Hub Kigali and the Digital Transformation Center are currently working on building a community of practice around Circular Economy in Rwanda. This is being done through a series of events, workshops, and networking exchanges to bring together circular economy players and enthusiasts – and will keep happening beyond the framework of the program.

The six startups embedding circularity


Regarding their background, the six selected startups came from different sectors – like agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and health with a technology aspect embedded within some of their business models. Here’s a sneak peak on their work: 

AFLIMBA is a creative space for rural artisans based in Rwanda, whose aim is to elevate the craftsmanship in rural communities and improve the livelihood of rural artisans and, at the same time, elevate their creative and leadership skills to another level as they are bringing to life fine handcrafted bags (called ‘LIMBAGS’).

I thought that I knew so much about the circular economy, but now I realize that I don’t. I like the feeling of not knowing and the opportunity to learn.” – Plante Josue from Aflimba. 

GREENREV GR is a youth-led agribusiness social enterprise. They focus on reducing horticultural harvest losses, as perishable crops and fight against malnutrition by adding micro- nutrient, to improve livelihoods through high profits and diversified nutrient-rich diets. They are interested in vegetables, tubers, fruits and cereals from seed to their processing to improve and modernize the agricultural sector through technological services.

Sanit Wing is a processing and manufacturing industrial company that produces a variety of oils, cosmetics and soaps from raw materials, like avocado. Sanit Wing processes avocado into pure avocado oil, avocado hair cream, avocado vaseline and avocado soap. They produce cold pressed Avocado oil for industrial and Pharmaceutical use, and Organic pesticides free cosmetics that are affordable and custom to customer needs.

We only have one planet. If we waste it today, what will happen tomorrow?” – says Nshimiyimana Alexandre from Sanit Wing.

Kosmotive produces and distributes breathable, non-toxic and super absorbent reusable sanitary pads that last for two years. They offer to all their end-users to bring back all used products they bought from them, and they give them new ones at half the price. They recycle them and make other useful products from used products.

CropTech Ltd is an agri-tech company that provides modern on-farm harvest handling services to maize growers in Rwanda and aid them to access the higher market through provision of transport and logistic services. They have developed a comprehensive on-farm harvest handling service through which they take the dryers at the farmers location and dry the maize harvest in a period of three hours instead of three weeks, and support the farmer to sell that to the high-end market .

Ngozi Naturals is a conservation enterprise that amplifies local plant benefits through manufacturing natural beauty products. They currently manufacture 6 different handmade soaps that are meticulously developed for 4 skin types. All of their products are 100% natural, biodegradable and the packaging is 100% recyclable.

For more information about Impact Hub Kigali’s Circularity Economy Acceleration Program, watch the video below!

To learn more, visit Impact Hub Kigali’s CE Acceleration Program page.

Circularity is part of our broader Environmental Strategy – discover how Impact Hub Global Network is addressing our time’s most pressing issues here. For more inspiring stories like this, head to our blog.

To learn from already-tested approaches, discover new activities and opportunities to integrate the Circular Economy knowledge into your entrepreneur support programs design and implementation, discover our toolkit!

At Impact Hub, we believe in the power of circularity to create a more sustainable present and future. That’s why we are on a path to mainstream circular principles across our global network’s business support initiatives. 

As part of that commitment, we are running a pilot programme across different Impact Hubs around the globe dedicated to boosting impact venture’s capacities to implement circular principles in their own operations and mission. In the latest interview for the Circularity Tales series, which is showcasing great examples from innovators and entrepreneurs who participated in the pilot programme, we spoke with Adriana Uribesalgo. Adriana is the Project Manager of KAFEA.ECO, an Aduna-based (Spain) business dedicated to tackle the waste problem in the coffee industry founded in 2020.

Impact Hub: Adriana, tell us about KAFEA.ECO – what is it about?

Adriana Uribesalgo: KAFEA.ECO’s mission is to find ways to recycle the different waste materials created by the coffee industry, especially coffee capsules. We address all the logistic stages, from the collection of the waste residues, to the recycling and creation of products in an integral way, thus providing a real solution based on the principles of the Circular Economy.


Impact Hub:
In one phrase, what does circularity mean to you?

Adriana Uribesalgo: It means making materials and processes flow without being or generating wastes.


Impact Hub: You participated in the Impact Hub Donostia pilot dedicated to embedding circularity practices into businesses’ practices. How did that go for KAFEA.ECO?

Adriana Uribesalgo: Our project from the beginning was raised in a circular way, so it started from a sustainable base. However, thanks to the program we have been able to outline and improve the different approaches that we had come up with. Above all, we are now going to be more capable of making good measurements and improving our processes.

On a different note, what we enjoyed the most about the program were the modules related to communication and storytelling. It is often difficult to clearly show what we do in circular companies since, as in nature, the Circular Economy is made up of complex interconnected systems that make possible processes through which materials do not end up in landfills but rather that everything is used.

KAFEA-ECO's Project Manager Adriana Uribesalgo

Impact Hub: Thinking about everything you learned throughout this journey, what would you recommend to ventures that would like to follow the same circularity path?

Adriana Uribesalgo: As an industrial company, our recommendation is that, at first, it’s really important to understand how they can create a system through which the materials flow during the entire process/product life, in a way that the waste can become a resource – either for their own or for other nearby industries.


Impact Hub:
Wise advice! Now, when you look to the future of KAFEA.ECO, what do you see? 

Adriana Uribesalgo: For now, our goal is to install our system nationwide – we want to offer our products and circular proposal to all Spanish municipalities. In the future, we hope to be able to expand at a regional level and bring the capsule recycling system to the entire European Union.


Impact Hub:
Any final words for a more circular world? 

Adriana Uribesalgo: In a limited world, a circular system allows us to be in harmony with nature and helps us flow with it. Humanity is an expert in creating waste, and in not taking responsibility. That is why we must be responsible for reversing this effect and turning this problem into a business opportunity that generates green, innovative and competitive employment.

Stay up to date with KAFEA.ECO’s work and next steps by following them on their social media channels.

Circularity is part of our broader Environmental Strategy – discover how Impact Hub Global Network is addressing our time’s most pressing issues here. For more inspiring stories like this, head to our blog.

To learn from already-tested approaches, discover new activities and opportunities to integrate the Circular Economy knowledge into your entrepreneur support programs design and implementation, discover our toolkit!