On Thursday 21 April, Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot participated in the award ceremony of the second Circular by Design Challenge. This initiative, launched by the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster, managed by Luxinnovation, with the support of the Ministry of the Economy, aims at stimulating the development of new design solutions and innovative business models that are in line with the principles of the circular economy.
From January to March, 12 start-ups and established designers – selected out of 68 applications from 19 countries – participated in the 12-week coaching programme. 20 coaches and industrial partners supported them in order to develop their ideas and turn them into a concrete economic reality.
"This second edition allowed us to see how ideas abound when it comes to finding solutions that meet the principles
of the circular economy," explains Marc Lis, Manager of the Creative Industries Cluster at Luxinnovation. "We are proud to have been able to accompany the participants throughout their entrepreneurial journey, together with the partners, experts and coaches who actively contributed to the coaching programme."
In his opening speech, Minister Franz Fayot noted that a new digital dimension has been added to the design of the proposed projects, with more extensive use of new technologies such as blockchain, nanotechnology and even "digital fashion". "The green and digital transition is a priority, and innovating through the circular economy, via the Circular by Design Challenge, is key,” Minister Fayot indicated. "The success of the pilot edition launched in 2020 proved that the concept was appreciated and the participating creatives developed some really impressive ideas.
This year's edition, extended to creatives from all over Europe, allows us to build an even bigger pool of ideas that our partner companies can rely on. These are ideas that will benefit the Luxembourg economy and, hopefully, the broader European ecosystem.”
At the awards ceremony, which took place partly in person at Luxexpo The Box and partly remotely via video conference, the following winners were honoured:
- Katia Vladimirova (Fashion Design category) for her project WELL ROUNDED (Switzerland, creation of a circular underwear brand).
- Harry Edelman (Mobility/Industry 4.0 category) for his project Greenpixel (Finland, creation of green roof solutions).
- Estelle Flammang and Julia Gregor (Sustainable Cities category) for their project on.perfekt Babyfood (Luxembourg, use of local, non-standard vegetables for producing baby food).
- Timothy Tan et Marion Delaporte (Luxembourg – Let's make it happen category) for their project RF:Cocoon (Luxembourg, transformation of discarded fiberglass cylinders into light pieces, tested, upcycled, designed, crafted and built specifically in Luxembourg).
Each winner was awarded a prize of €7,000 from the Ministry of the Economy, a participation in an additional 4-week virtual international accelerator programme provided by US accelerator gener8tor and 6 months of free access to co-working office space.
Companies that submitted projects in the Fashion Design and Luxembourg - Let's make it happen categories have also signed agreements with industrial partners (Ankaa Project asbl, PGA, Lycée des Arts et Métiers and Office Freylinger), in order to jointly implement and produce their ideas.
Arghavan Akbarieh was also awarded in the specific Youth category for her project PoP Up PoD (Luxembourg, foldable and mobile capsule for educational purposes, powered by solar energy).
He received a prize of €7,000 from the National Youth Service and 6 months of free access to co-working office space.
In addition, Céline Coelho was rewarded for her project Multi purpose balm (locally produced balm aiming to reduce the number of cosmetic products that a person needs for their personal hygiene) with a prize of €8,000 euros from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a positioning of this product for sale in the Luxembourg Shop.
"The great work of all the participants, laureates or not, as well as the commitment and active participation of our industrial partners, are a significant sign of the increasing awareness and importance the concept of sustainability has gained in Luxembourg," said Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation, in her closing address. "We are today witnessing a genuine determination to cut loose from the conventional 'take-make-waste' way of doing things towards finding ways of creating economic value in a circular manner. We also see is that the creative industries are a driving force in this necessary economic transition. The Circular by Design Challenge we have organised is certainly not an end in itself. It is now essential to be able to turn these projects into viable products and services that create economic value and that can sustain themselves from the value they create.”
A third edition of the Circular by Design Challenge is already planned for next year.
Press release by the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation