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AmCham Romania News AmCham Sustainability Competition, the Accelerator Dedicated to Sustainable Solutions for Environmental Challenges, has Announced its Winners

AmCham Sustainability Competition, the Accelerator Dedicated to Sustainable Solutions for Environmental Challenges, has Announced its Winners

The AmCham Sustainability Competition, an acceleration program dedicated to sustainable solutions for environmental challenges, has reached its final stage. After nearly three months of consultations, workshops, and the development of proposed solutions by the participating startups in the program, the jury has designated a winner for each of the challenges addressed by the competition. CarbonCel, ECONOS, and Archnite Technologies have developed innovative solutions that can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint, measuring the impact of adopting regenerative agricultural practices, and innovative methods for recycling waste. The winning teams pitched their solutions at the AmCham Thanksgiving Breakfast. The AmCham Sustainability Competition is a program organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania in partnership with Impact Hub Bucharest.

Between August and October 2023, the 14 startups selected in the AmCham Sustainability Competition worked intensively to develop the solutions they proposed. In addition to business workshops, participants benefited from guidance sessions and feedback from AmCham Romania member companies that launched the three challenges: Cargill Romania, Microsoft Romania, Raiffeisen Bank, Stericycle Romania, Kimball Electronics Romania, and Coca-Cola HBC Romania.

The goal of the AmCham Sustainability Competition was for participating startups to develop a relevant and innovative Proof of Concept that addresses the most pressing challenges in sustainability and environmental protection proposed by AmCham member companies for this program: measuring the impact of adopting regenerative agricultural practices, reducing carbon footprints, and identifying innovative solutions for waste recycling. The jury that monitored the progress of participating startups in the program and designated the three winners included representatives from the challenge owner companies, AmCham Romania, and Impact Hub Bucharest.

"We are pleased that the AmCham Sustainability Competition has brought together large companies and early-stage companies preoccupied with a sustainable future and committed to finding the best solutions for the complex challenges in the field. We congratulate the 3 winners and encourage all 14 startups that completed the acceleration program to continue working on their solutions. We thank the members directly involved in the project, our implementation partner, Impact Hub Bucharest, as well as the companies that supported the #AmCham30 anniversary agenda and made this project possible. For AmCham and our community members, a sustainable future remains a critically important goal beyond the anniversary year," said Letiția Pupăzeanu, Executive Director of AmCham Romania.

Winning Solutions of the AmCham Sustainability Competition 2023

Challenge #1: Impact of Adopting Regenerative Agricultural Practices - How do we measure the impact on biodiversity following the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices?

Out of the five startups enrolled to develop innovative solutions addressing this challenge, CarbonCel was designated as the winner. CarbonCel is an advanced end-to-end solution for carbon cultivation that supports the implementation and monitoring of carbon projects. CarbonCel proposes a new green agriculture approach aimed at sequestering carbon in the soil, which otherwise ends up as CO2 in the atmosphere. The solution is based on Agriculture 4.0 use cases, implementing devices, robots, and telematics machines, the best agricultural practices consolidated by algorithms (AI) on real-time monitoring data.

Challenge #2 - Reducing Carbon Footprint – How can SMEs measure and report their carbon footprint (scopes 1, 2, and 3)?

Out of the six selected startups to develop solutions to address this challenge, ECONOS is the winning team. ECONOS offers carbon footprint assessment services, allowing companies to measure the amount of greenhouse gases released from their professional activities. Based on the results of the carbon footprint assessment, the startup proposes customized solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Challenge #3: Waste Recycling – What innovative solutions exist for waste recycling?

Archnite Technologies, the winning startup among the three participants in this category, aims to create a collection and recycling center for electronic and electrical waste (WEEE). Archnite Technologies proposes the development of a process for recovering raw materials from discarded electronic equipment, creating jobs, and reducing the shortage of materials and raw materials, both for Romania and the EU. By recovering significant amounts of secondary raw materials from WEEE, these have a high recycling-reuse rate between 85-90%.

"With 63 entries, the AmCham Sustainability Competition shows that there is a real need to create bridges between startups and the corporate sector. Participating startups appreciated the chance to interact directly with the companies that launched environmental challenges, discussing the challenges they faced in developing their solutions and validating the feasibility of the proposed approach. It is encouraging to see that startups appreciated this opportunity for direct dialogue with some of the largest companies in Romania and took advantage of it to validate and improve their proposed solutions. At the end of the accelerator, participating companies expressed interest in continuing collaborations with certain finalist startups," said Vlad Craioveanu, CEO and co-founder of Impact Hub Bucharest.

Results of the AmCham Sustainability Competition

The three winning startups presented their solutions at the AmCham Thanksgiving Breakfast event on November 22, 2023 concluding the AmCham30 anniversary year. The event was attended by leaders of member companies, professionals from the AmCham community, as well as members of the Board of Directors, and representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest.

In 2023, AmCham celebrates 30 years of presence and activity in Romania by acknowledging the joint contribution of AmCham members to the country's economic development over the last three decades and reaffirming the AmCham community's commitment to investing in a sustainable future for Romania. In this context, AmCham Romania, alongside Impact Hub Bucharest, organized the AmCham Sustainability Competition, a program aimed at finding real solutions to pressing sustainability issues faced by companies in Romania.

The accelerator brought together six of the largest companies locally - Cargill Romania, Microsoft Romania, Raiffeisen Bank, Stericycle Romania, Kimball Electronics Romania, and Coca-Cola HBC Romania, attracting 63 startups in the competition, of which 14 were selected by the jury to participate in the program. Following the three-month acceleration process, three startups were chosen as winners and were awarded by AmCham Romania. More details about the AmCham Sustainability Competition and the proposed solutions are available on the official program page, here.

About the Organizers

AmCham Romania

The American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania) is among the most representative associations of the business community in Romania, recognized as a promoter of public-private dialogue on issues concerning the business environment, public policies impacting the economy, Romania's competitiveness, or the dynamics of economic relations between the U.S. and Romania.

AmCham Romania's over 550 American, international, and Romanian member companies are active in 32 economic sectors, creating over 250,000 jobs in Romania, with cumulative investments of over EUR 20 billion and a cumulative turnover of over EUR 65 billion.

AmCham Romania promotes the vision and economic priorities of the business community through specialized working groups that monitor the main areas of interest: Capital Markets and Financial Services, Corporate Governance, Competition and State Aid, Energy, Education, Digital Economy, Taxation, Environment, Labor Market, Health, European Funds, Public Procurement and Public-Private Partnership, Real Estate, and Tourism.

AmCham Romania is accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a member of the European network of American Chambers of Commerce. For more details, we invite you to visit us at www.amcham.ro.

Impact Hub Bucharest

Impact Hub Bucharest is a dynamic space where professionals and entrepreneurs work on the development of projects and business initiatives. Launched in 2012, Impact Hub Bucharest is the first coworking space in Romania, with a community of over 3,000 members in Bucharest, and globally the organization is present in over 100 locations in more than 50 countries. The mission of Impact Hub Bucharest is to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing startup acceleration programs and direct funding, as well as the largest online entrepreneurial education platform - Startarium.

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