The final day of the business accelerator Hringiða managed by KLAK – Icelandic Startups was celebrated on May 5, and on that occasion Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate, sent a speech with encouragement to all start-ups, entrepreneurs, mentors and investors about the importance of innovation. The writer Andri Snær Magnason opened the event in the presence of the mayor of Reykjavík, Degi B. Eggertsson, start-up companies and about 20 of the country's main investors along with other influential people from the business world.
"It is great to follow Hringiða and the projects that were presented on the harvest day. Clearly, it has been successful in creating a good and supportive environment and also in attracting good people and good ideas, which are the key to success.", says Dagur B. Eggertsson, mayor.
The stars of hope of the circular economy have attended six weeks of workshops, lectures and meetings with specially selected mentors from KLAK VMS, presenting their solutions on related environmental issues.
"The entire legacy of the 20th century needs to be redesigned and rethought if this century is to be viable. The circular economy is one of the keys and we are only done with a few degrees of a 360 degree circle - Any investment that is not circular economy is dead money”. Says writer Andri Snær Magnason.
Melta, Munasafn RVK Tool Library, Mar Eco, Orb, Bambahús, Resea Energy and Alor, performed for the guests of the event and a specially selected panel that was composed of Nanna Elísa Jakobsdóttir from Samtakum industriens and Márta Hermannsdóttir from Eyri. Questions were raised about the startups' solutions to pressing environmental issues as an incentive to continue building the startup.
"The companies that participated in Hringiða last year have achieved great success as a result of the accelerator. For example, they have collected almost 180 million from national funds, one of the companies received capital from a VC fund and another received a large European grant. This year, seven companies participated and it will be a pleasure to follow their journey after the accelerator ends.” Says Kolfinna Kristínardóttir, Hringiða's project manager.
Alor works on the development and production of environmentally friendly aluminum batteries and energy storages of different sizes, i.e. from small batteries and accumulators to large energy storage in container sizes.
March Eco stands for Marine Ecological Solutions, but the goal is to work on environmentally friendly solutions in the production and use of fishing gear. Recycled plastic waste from the sea, the blue economy and environmentally friendly fishing.
Orb develops technology to measure forest carbon sequestration in an inexpensive and accessible way to promote responsible carbon offsets and the production of certified carbon units.
RVK Tool Library memorabilia provides government and local authorities with a hardware and software solution to streamline borrowing from their local libraries.
Resea Energy is a research and development company aiming at the production of biofuel from the waste from cultivated seaweed.
Bambahus are greenhouses that contribute to the strengthening of the circular economy, where liquid packaging is reused that would otherwise be transported out of the country and landfilled. The houses are light, sturdy, durable and specially designed with the Icelandic climate in mind.
Hringiða's sponsors are the City of Reykjavík, the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate, Orkuveita Reykjavíkur, Faxaflóahafnir, Terra, Ölgerðin and the Swedish Confederation of Industry. Hringiða's partners are Rannís, Breið vejðurfélag, Evris, Sjávarklassinn, Orkuklassinn and Grænvangur. The owners of KLAK are the University of Iceland, the University of Reykjavík, Origo, the Swedish Confederation of Industry and the Innovation Fund.
Photographer: Eygló Gísladóttir