Entrepreneurs and startups are drivers of economic change. They have the potential to develop innovative business models and technologies that contribute to sustainable growth and to solving global challenges. A functioning stakeholder network is essential for the success of young high-tech companies. Therefore, we support impact startups that align profit and purpose.
To help founders scale their enterprises and to emphasize the importance of socially and ecologically relevant business models, we initiated the five-month accelerator program RESPOND with support from UnternehmerTUM, Europe’s leading center for innovation and business creation. Startups receive intensive training on the fundamentals of impact-oriented business, are connected with mentors, and meet for multi-day sprints. Responsible Leadership in the context of the startup and impact community is at the core of the program.
“A global wave of tech-for-good entrepreneurs believes success is not just a numbers game, focusing on clicks and ignoring the most vulnerable. By actively focusing on positive and minimizing negative impacts from the start, they’re showing that responsible leadership can be a winning business strategy – and their products are fundamentally changing how we understand and respond to the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century.” – Amanda Feldmann, Non-Executive Board Member of Bethnal Green Ventures
The ten startups that have been selected for the 2020 cohort from a total of 409 applications include teams from Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, and Nigeria. They all in their own way pursue the mission of supporting the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Their solutions range from technologies that provide amputees with customized prosthetics to innovative business models that recycle plastic waste into durable building materials or bags.
The dialogue with other international accelerator programs (e.g., Maze X), funds (e.g., Mustard Seed Maze, Ananda, Purpose Ventures, and BonVenture), and networks is part of the RESPOND concept. Moreover, the teams receive the opportunity to network at a variety of conferences, including Katapult Future Fest or the Bits & Pretzels conference.