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Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Reveals Five Finalists Vying for €500K

Image credit: Glowee

The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, one of the largest sustainable enterprise competitions in the world, has announced the five startups still in the running for a cash prize of €500,000. Finalists include innovators from France, Rwanda, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Launched in 2007 by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Green Challenge is an international competition that rewards products, services and technologies that successfully combine sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity. Startups’s business plans and products are weighed against factors such as their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to contribute to a sustainable lifestyle, as well as their convenience, quality and design. Ideas should also be developed enough to be executed and brought to market within two years.  

This year’s finalists include innovations for renewable energy, low-carbon transport and alternative materials.


Rwandan startup ARED is striving to bring low-cost connectivity and energy services to millions of Africans with its mobile solar kiosk. The product provides a short and long-term solution to Africa’s growing energy demand, by providing a clean alternative to diesel generators now and laying the groundwork for a sustainable energy future across the continent. Its franchise business model also provides employment opportunities for people living in remote regions.


Netherlands-based Lightyear could give industry giants such as Tesla a run for their money. The startup has developed a fully solar-powered car that allows consumers to break away from the constraints of traditional electric vehicles. Without the need for charging stations, Lightyear could be a breakthrough for the EV market and help drive the widespread adoption of low-carbon vehicles.


Based in France, Glowee is a biological source of light, using natural properties of marine micro-organisms. The company was founded in response to the French government’s ban on the illumination of non-residential buildings at night. The technology delivers an outstanding quality of light and a much lower carbon footprint over the whole product value chain.


Another startup from Rwanda, EarthEnable has developed a method for making sustainable floors using locally sourced materials. More than a billion people still live on dirt floors, which are often a breeding ground for parasites and germs. Cement flooring is often the only alternative, but is expensive and bears a significant environmental burden. EarthEnable floors are 75 percent cheaper than cement floors and reduce the carbon footprint by 90 percent, offering a cheap and sustainable solution for the world’s poorest people.

“Being among the last five out of 515 entries is already a great achievement and honor,” said Gayatri Datar, co-founder of EarthEnable. “With the prize money, we plan to scale within Rwanda and likely in three other countries. The prize money gives us the opportunity to test different scaling models to find a viable scale strategy to improve the health and lives of millions of people who are still living on dirt floors.”


In the EU alone, 400,000 tons of composites are sent to landfill each year. With their sights set on revolutionizing the plastic industry by delivering composites that are both sustainable and strong, Thomas Brorsen and Martin Jensen developed the Pond bioresin system. Instead of crude oil, Pond’s resin is bio-based and can be used to create biodegradable composites. Existing composite processing can be applied, allowing easy substitution of conventional resins.

The winner of the Challenge will be announced during the final on September 14th, where each team will pitch its business plan to an international jury. €500,000 will be awarded to the top startup to bring its business to market. A prize of €200,000 will go to the Challenge runner-up. 

Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]

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