Information about the Challenge

Your Challenge

We challenge you to come up with a business idea or prototype that contributes to circular biobased economy.

Your solution should offer an innovative and sustainable approach to prevent, reduce, reuse, recycle or recover biomass side-streams. It could anything from a new material made out of biomass, a new technology to extract valuable products from biomass residue, to a more efficient production process or services that bring zero-waste future one step closer. You need to identify a concrete market beforehand. You will have to prove to the jury that your innovation is viable and fills an existing gap, that it differs substantially from what is already available and that it has a positive impact on the environment and the people involved.

Entries will be assessed on innovativeness, sustainability, social impact, technical feasibility, scalability and economic viability

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Boost your career!

The ReThink Waste Challenge is more than just a competition. It offers a unique opportunity to create positive impact and to get a taste of what it means to be an entrepreneur. As participant of the Challenge you will meet and get coaching from experts in the business world and academia who will help develop your idea (and perhaps find a job opportunity). You will receive business model and pitching training and, if you make it to the finals, get exposure for your idea.

You will learn more about topics related to circular biobased economy, grow professionally and master your marketing skills.This Challenge will boost your career and empower you to make the first step towards own start-up!


2nd Prize 2nd place €3.000,-
1st Prize 1st place €6.000,-
3rd Prize 3rd place €1.500,-

In addition, the winners will get an opportunity for professional support to further develop their ideas.

Important Dates

Registration deadline

1 January 2023
Kick-off event

End January
First selection

End February
Sprint day

Half March
Sprint day

Half April
Second selection

End May
Grand Finals

End June

Am I eligible

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Who can participate?

The Challenge is open to students from universities and universities of applied sciences worldwide, in all phases of their studies (BSc, MSc, PhD or equivalent). To come up with a comprehensive solution meeting all the Challenge’s criteria, teams should include different areas of expertise, from technical to social and economic

What ideas qualify for the Challenge?

The sky is the limt. As long as your idea offers an innovative and sustainable approach to prevent, reduce, reuse, recycle or recover biomass side-streams you are welcome to participate. Check some cool initiatives below to get inspired.

How elaborated my idea needs to be?

You can join the Challenge no matter if you already have a fully fledged concept or just a first idea that you would like to develop further. Depending on how far you will get at the end of the Challenge, you can compete for an award in one of two categories:


For teams who will end up with an idea that has great potential. You submit a brilliant business idea and a convincing roadmap of how you will develop your validated Minimal Viable Product or prototype.


For teams who will manage to take it a step further. You submit a validated Minimal Viable Product and complete business plan.

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How do I join?

Registration is closed. We invite you to join the next edition of the Challenge in autumn 2024. Register below to receive updates.

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