STARTUPS

Why join

Startups

Benefit for startups

Embark on a transformative journey of development and scale-up for your startup:

  • join an international community of leaders and partners
  • access invaluable resources, contacts, and expertise
  • add your contribution to a global movement defining a new paradigm of regeneration, collaboration, and inclusive prosperity, substituting the traditional neoliberalism story and its focus on perpetual economic growth
  • get tailored support to help refine your business model, develop effective industrialization and go-to-market strategies, connect with investors and customers, and gain international visibility

Vibrant and engaged network

Connect with representatives from thriving enterprises and international organizations, and access invaluable support, collaboration opportunities, and industry insights to fuel your growth.

Individual coaching and mentoring

Get access to a wealth of knowledge and guidance from our multidisciplinary team of experts who will assist you with financing, operational or marketing challenges, or any other obstacles to achieve your goals and impact.

Immersive workshops

Participate in various engaging workshops designed to enhance your business skills, strengthen your entrepreneurial vision, and unlock the potential for positive contributions to nature, climate and society.

Investor connections

Seize a unique matchmaking opportunity to connect with a wide network of impact investors, increasing your chances of securing funds and propelling your project forward.

Pilots and market validation

Explore synergies and opportunities for partnerships around impactful proof-of-concept projects, pilots, and field-testing of your solution and business model.
STARTUPS

Mentors

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trainer
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Mentor
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Program coach
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Program manager
Academia-Company Partnership
Bizdev
Business-model
Certification
Circular Economy
Finance
Fundraising
Governance
HR
Human centered design / Design thinking
IP
IT
Impact investing
Impact/Carbon Accounting
Industrialization
Internationalization
Leadership
Legal
M&A
Manufacturing
Marcom
Operations
Partnerships
Pricing
Project Management
Public Funding - Innosuisse
R&D
Sales
Strategy
Sustainability
Transformation, Growth, Transition from start-up to scale-up

Botaya Laurent

Head of innovation strategy and Venture Building, Romande Energie SA (RE Ventures)

Botaya Laurent

Head of innovation strategy and Venture Building, Romande Energie SA (RE Ventures)

Experience:

Passionate about the forces that are driving change in our society, such as the transition to lower-carbon economy and innovations, I have a dual academic background (engineering/business school) and 16 years of work experience. A few achievements:

  • helped a new intrant in the energy sector develop its renewable energy activities on the French market
  • defined the growth strategy for a major transportation company in the Americas and assessed new opportunities
  • helped launch a tech start up (BtoC, text to speech technology)
  • managed business development for a Canadian SME that specializes in advanced healthcare technologies
  • worked as a strategy consultant for various large European companies (banks, insurance, telecom…)
  • performed due diligences on startups in the energy sector for investment banks
  • and finally created my own consulting services (strategy, impact investing and energy transition)
Industries:
Natural Resources
Energy
Infrastructures
Transportation
Fields of expertise:

Dr. Cara Tobin

Innovation Coach | Founder, C Greene Solutions

Dr. Cara Tobin

Innovation Coach | Founder, C Greene Solutions

Experience:

Cara founded a successful blended climate finance platform in 2015.

In 2018, she was invited to join Clean Energy Ventures (CEV) where she mentors start-ups  funded by CEV at seed and Series A levels.

Cara mentors approximately 40  companies annually for Mass Challenge (MC) Switzerland  as their climate solutions and sustainable manufacturing coach. She supports  MC start-ups to identify KPIs, improve pitches and financial projections and  find paid pilots and investment. This year, Cara supported start-ups to  quantify their impacts on the SDGs. In 2023, she coached 6 of the top 10  start-ups and has received the highest ratings as a coach for 2 consecutive  years. Some of the start-ups that Cara has coached/is coaching include:  LiveGrow Bio, Carbonaught, Gaia Technologies, Databaum, Revocircle and  Instaheat.

Cara is also an Energy and Environment expert for Innosuisse.  

Industries:
Natural Resources
Consumer Products
Energy
Food & Agriculture
Infrastructures
Fields of expertise:

Fabrice Leclerc

CEO, Wild keepers | Board Member

Fabrice Leclerc

CEO, Wild keepers | Board Member

Experience:

Fabrice is an innovator and entrepreneur who makes innovation a force for positive human and environmental evolution. His collaborations with renowned organisations such as Haagen Dazs, L'Oréal's Prestige, Apple, SKY, Nespresso, Google, the United Nations and
Patagonia have received international recognition. He sits on the board of directors of several start-ups and major groups, and lectures at Bocconi, EPFL and HEC universities

Industries:
Natural Resources
Energy
Infrastructures
Food & Agriculture
Consumer Products
Fields of expertise:

Laura Scorza

Senior Stakeholder Engagement Consultant, Quantis

Laura Scorza

Senior Stakeholder Engagement Consultant, Quantis

Experience:

Laura understands international environments, the challenges companies face in rethinking their role in society and recognising the power of diversity.

Her interest in sustainable development has given her a strong direction in her career. Her mission is to support companies of all sizes in their sustainable development approach and to help them communicate honestly and transparently and avoid greenwashing.

Her main areas of expertise are: corporate communication (including executive coaching), sustainability communication, employees and stakeholders engagement strategies, social impact, diversity and inclusion, and creative execution.

Industries:
Consumer Products
Enabling Technologies
Energy
Food & Agriculture
Infrastructures
Fields of expertise:
STARTUPS

TRAINING Workshops (draft programme)

The program offers a comprehensive set of training workshops and seminars covering the most important aspects of the development of regenerative businesses, conducted by top-notch professionals specialized in their field.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The workshops below are provided merely as an indication and are subject to changes at anytime without notice.

W1 — Regenerative Business Strategies

Date & location

📅 Date: March 26, 2024

🕒 Time: 8:30 - 12:30

📍 Location: EPFL Innovation Park, Building D, ground floor, room NEPTUNE

Rationale

To generate scalable and sustainable Net Positive Impact, regenerative technologies need to be combined with appropriate business models and operational strategies. 

Goal

The workshop aims at exploring innovative business approaches that are needed to finance regeneration at scale.

  • Understand the importance and principles of regenerative entrepreneurship.
  • Define your impact strategy with the help of well-known analysis tools, methodologies, and reporting standards.
  • Turn your purpose into an inspiring vision and mission statement.
  • Design a business model combining profitability and purpose in symbiosis, using specific canvases.
  • Assessing the regenerative impact.
  • Find out how to finance your impact venture and manage shareholders expectations.

Trainers

  • Géraldine Fiol, Sustainability Consultant

Géraldine is a Strategy and Sustainability Consultant

In 2019, while Director of Strategy Business Planning Europe for the car manufacturer Nissan, she founded besustainaball to engage companies in reinventing themselves and creating innovative business models for a more sustainable and inclusive society.

Trained in sustainable management, circular economy and climate issues, she guides organisations and their teams in structuring and implementing their sustainability strategy, enabling them to combine business performance with positive impact on ecosystems and human communities.

  • Bertrand Klaiber, Impact entrepreneur & startup coach

Bertand Klaiber has 30 years of experience in Cleantech and Medtech industries, where is hold several positions related to engineering and innovation management, strategic marketing and international business development.

In 2012 he co-created the EssentialTech program at EPFL and developed an impact entrepreneurship approach to harness technology and business to drive sustainable development.

From 2015 to 2022 he founded and led as the CEO the startup Pristem (teleradiology services and battery-powered medical X-ray systems), thus gaining experience in the whole life cycle of a startup, from scientific research to fundraising (CHF 18mio), team building, product industrialization, certification and go-to-market.

In 2023 he launched Tech4Regeneration program at EPFL Innovation Park.

W2 — Structure your Company for Impact

Date & location

📅 Date: April 30, 2024

🕒 Time: 9:00 - 12:30

📍 Location: EPFL Innovation Park, Building D, ground floor, room NEPTUNE

Rationale

Regenerative ventures need to build appropriate company’s governance, structure, and culture.

This workshop explores how to root impact in the company’s DNA through legal and organizational means.

Goal

Get an insight and some advice on several aspects related to the company's structure and legal aspects:

  • Legal form of the business, articles of association, protection of the mission, ...
  • Role and Duties of the Shareholders, the Board of Directors and the Executive management
  • Better redistribution of benefits (within the company and all along the supply chain)
  • Integration of impact & sustainability requirements or ethical rules in various contracts (procurement, partnership, distribution, licensing, etc.)
  • Protecting David from Goliath, and cases of force majeure
  • Human rights & Nature rights, possible impact on your business
  • etc.

Trainer

For the past 25 years, Michel Jaccard has been involved in corporate finance and M&A deals in Switzerland and abroad, acting for entrepreneurs and owners, venture capital and private equity firms, industrial buyers and financial sponsors. He also advises purpose driven, hybrid companies and impact investors on governance and sustainability issues.

He is co-creator of the Impact Term Sheet, member of the working group for introduction of a new legal status of Sustainable Enterprise in Switzerland, and also Lecturer at E4S Enterprise for Society Center (UNIL, IMD, EPFL) 

Michel Jaccard holds a Ph.D. in Law from University of Lausanne and a Master of Laws from Columbia Law School (LLM’97). He is CEDR Accredited Mediator and also admitted to the New York Bar.

W3 — Regenerative Leadership

Radical changes require strong leaders!

A new generation of inspired leaders is needed more than ever to forge a world in which humanity can live and flourish, within planetary limits and in symbiosis with the natural world.

We are at an important point in our development where the challenges we face may seem so great that we don't know where to start. As the leader of your company, your start-up or your life, it's time to refocus on yourself, to connect with meaning in order to take action the best possible way forward. 

Goal

  • Rediscover what meaning is, where it comes from, and how to use it as a force for moving forward.  
  • What if the solution was to bring happiness back at the root of success ?
  • How to innovate, create regenerative applications and opportunities with happiness. 
  • Harness learnings from Nature to reconnect and guide your next steps.
  • Design your own solutions to drive your personal and professional elevation.

Trainer

  • Fabrice Leclerc — Fabrice is an innovator and entrepreneur who makes innovation a force for positive human and environmental evolution. His collaborations with renowned organisations such as Haagen Dazs, L'Oréal's Prestige, Apple, SKY, Nespresso, Google, the United Nations and Patagonia have received international recognition. He sits on the board of directors of several start-ups and major groups, and lectures at Bocconi. EPFL and HEC universities
W4 — Regenerative Branding & Marketing Strategies

Rationale

To lead for a Regenerative future, brands need to deeply rethink their positioning, from a consumer centric approach towards a new communication including society and environment as key stakeholders.

Goal

This workshop takes you on a journey of how to create a sustainable brand and business from scratch, from brand concept to business strategy and its communication.

You will learn:

  • Why building an efficient & adequate ecosystem is key to success
  • What are the regenerative drivers of an impactful go-to-market strategy 
  • How to boost visibility with a sustainable communication — insight & pitfalls

Trainers

  • Chantal Baer &  Marine Gruaz-Rébuffat, co-founders and partners of Swiss House of Brands, born from the merger of a brand & business strategy consultancy and a communication agency to support multinational, SME and start-ups on a strategic and implementation level.

Chantal Baer The art of strategically combining her expertise as a linguist, marketing expert and sustainability consultant to build successful brands. Chantal is co-founder of Swiss House of Brand and founder of Admarka, co-author of the book “les leviers de croissance à l’ère de l’économie numérique", member of the “Cercle Suisse des administratrices “, member of different Boards, speaker & moderator.

Marine Gruaz-Rébuffat — A seasoned entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in the fields of branding, communication strategy and digital. Throughout her professional journey, Marine has founded 2 communication agencies and co-founded Swiss House of Brands, where she honed her skills in creating impactful and innovative communication strategies for various clients & industries. She furthered her commitment to sustainability by undertaking a sustainable business management program at the University of Cambridge. Marine passion lies in blending her entrepreneurial spirit with a sustainable mindset and strong communication skills, and she's always eager to explore new opportunities and collaborations that align with these values.

W5 — Sales & Strategic Partnerships

Topics

  • coming soon....
W6 — Assess & reduce your solution's carbon footprint

Rationale

Your customers probably need solutions that can help decarbonize the whole life cycle of their products and services, from eco-conception to production, integration, distribution, operation, and disposal or recycling. This trend is further fueled by new environmental regulations and policies as well as market and consumers’ expectations.

The whole supply chain shall be considered as it typically induces far greater environmental costs than the company’s own operations, often accounting for more than 80% of greenhouse-gas emissions and more than 90% of the impact on air, land, water, biodiversity, and geological resources.

Goals

  • How to quantify CO2 emissions of your solution, and implement CO2 reduction strategies to reach net zero target.
  • How to set up relevant targets and KPIs and integrate non-financial data into your reporting.
  • How to comply with relevant certifications and labels.
  • How to work closely with your suppliers to lessen your overall environmental impact and position yourself for sustainable impact.

Trainer

After obtaining his doctorate in geochemistry at McGill University in Montreal, Werner worked as a post-doc in the geology department of the University of Lausanne and as assistant professor at the ETH Zurich. Seeking new challenges, he left the academic world to run the company Swiss Climate in Bern, which specializes in CO2-related issues, between 2008 and 2013. With a view to further developing the concept of CO2 management for SMEs, Werner founded Climate Services in Fribourg in 2013. Over the last 10 years, he supported hundreds of companies as well as public entities in developing an approach to manage the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

W7 — Sustainable Digitization

Rationale

Many startups have difficulties in disclosing their environmental footprint, especially regarding their ICT infrastructures and services. The lack of common standards and tools to report the impact of Web3 and Cloud applications is becoming a real challenge.

Goal

At this workshop, startups will understand what tools and norms they must follow to make sustainable digitalization an opportunity. 

  • As a first step, they will be guided on how to disclose their activities so that they can be considered “sustainable investments” (Taxonomy, SFDR). 
  • Then, the different environmental reporting standards for the ICT sector will be explained (LCA, GHG emissions). 
  • Finally, an overview of the tools available to track and reduce the footprint of their applications will be presented.

Trainer

  • Resilio is a Swiss company leading the sustainable transition for IT. Resilio helps companies keep track of the environmental footprint of their IT activities through Life Cycle Assessment, from IT infrastructure to Cloud services.
W8 — Circular solutions and Eco-conception
  • coming soon...
W9 — Inspiring & Impactful Communication

Rationale

A new way to communicate is required to contribute to a new storytelling, raise awareness without scaremongering, define positive goals, make regenerative solutions appealing (at least as much as the ones proposed by the old economy), and shift consumers expectations and aspirations for circular economy, recycling and sharing, etc.

Goal

  • Popularize and disseminate complex scientific concepts, provide accurate, credible and impactful information in the simplest terms, use multimedia tools (podcast, video, infography,…), etc.
  • Develop communication plans (timing, budget,…), prepare PRs, talk to the media, articulate the company’s purpose/impact and prevent perception of “Greenwashing”,
  • Social medias strategies, engage influencers and KOLs, Responsible communication.

Trainer

  • Laura Scorza, Senior Stakeholder Engagement Consultant.

Before being in charge for Sustainability Communications and Stakeholder Engagement at Quantis, Laura gained significant experience in international environments, with various positions such as Head of Sustainability Communications at PRfact, and Head of Communications EMEA at Logitech.

Her mission is to support companies of all sizes in their sustainable development approach and to help them communicate honestly and transparently and avoid greenwashing.

Her main areas of expertise are: corporate communication (including executive coaching), sustainability communication, employees and stakeholders engagement strategies, social impact, diversity and inclusion, and creative execution.

W10 — Public speaking & pitching

Goal

  • Prepare for a job talk, a keynote lecture, a pitch for a networking event with one-on-one sessions with a specialist…
  • Become an inspiring speaker in front of journalists, investors or other audiences.
  • All participants practice their talk either in front of the other attendees or in front of a camera. Participants get personalised feedback to minimise their flaws and capitalise on their strengths.
  • Prepare the message according to your audience and their expectations.

Trainer

  • coming soon...
W11 — Fundraising

Rationale

  • Find how to finance your impact venture, identify investors, and adapt your pitch.

Goal

  • Identify appropriate sources of financing.
  • Understand how impact investors look at companies, the frameworks they use and how you can communicate your company’s impact succinctly
  • Concepts or sustainable finance and regenerative Economy – ReFi.

Trainer

  • coming soon...
Startups

Eligibility Criteria

If your startup meets these criteria, we encourage you to apply and take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to propel your venture forward and make a lasting positive impact on Biosphere and Society.

Company

Less than 7 years of incorporation — We welcome registered startups that are in their early stages, recognizing the potential for groundbreaking ideas to emerge and make a significant impact.

Innovation

Demonstrated technological innovation — Your product or solution should be based on disruptive technology, patented IP, or scientific breakthrough, responding to a well identified problem.

Technology readiness

Ready-to-market product or solution — Your startup should have a product or solution that is developed and tested, ready to be launched or already on the market. This ensures that you can take full advantage of the programme's resources and support to accelerate your growth.

Traction

Customer acquisition and/or internationalization phase — You should be actively seeking to acquire customers and expand your user base. This indicates that you are ready to scale your operations and benefit from the program's exposure and networking opportunities.

Impact

Alignment with our mission — Your solution should demonstrate a potential net positive impact within at least one of the application fields outlined by our program. We aim to accelerate startups contributing to the transition towards a regenerative economy, i.e. moving away from business models based on overconsumption, extraction and exploitation, to ones where social and ecological goals are integral to the company’s mission.

Commitment

Dedication and active engagement — We expect participating startups to attend all programme activities and foster open, collaborative exchanges with fellow participants to fully leverage the available resources, mentorship, training, and networking opportunities.
Although the programme is open to international startups, beware that some events require the physical presence of one of the startup founders or leaders at EPFL or other locations in Switzerland.
Startups

FAQ

At what stage can we apply?

Participating startups must already have a technical product or service to get the most out of the programme.

They should at least have demonstrated the feasibility with an operational prototype and possibly already get some first customers.

The programme does not aim to help develop your technical solution, but rather build and implement successful business strategies for existing products or services.

Our experts from various specialized fields may possibly help improve your existing solution to adapt to new systems, applications, regulations or markets.

But more importantly, they will help develop sound go-to-market strategies, manage overall impact, grow the company structure and culture, prepare communication plans, and raise funds.

What are the benefits of taking part in the programme?

By joining the 9-month Tech4Regeneration programme, you will gain access to a leading Cleantech ecosystem.

To develop and unlock the full regeneration potential of your business, you will receive personalized coaching and mentoring, and participate in specialized workshops and roadshows.

You will benefit from unique expertise and network from our partners, and will receive direct feedback from a panel of business and technology experts from the EPFL network and partner Universities.

Additionally, the programme offers opportunities to develop pilot projects with partner companies, connect with potential customers and access to international investors.

What are the main events of the programme?

The programme is still under construction and will be finalized by the program launch.

The main events will be the opening ceremony in March 2024 (kick-off event) and the closing ceremony in November 2024.

In between, a few roadshows, a dozen of thematic workshops and seminars, as well as regular peer-to-peer meetings and coaching sessions will be organized.

When is the next cohort?

The call for application was launched on December 15th, 2023 with the deadline for application on February 10th, 2024.

The first cohort will follow the programme from March to November 2024.

Can we participate remotely or do we need to be based in Switzerland?

The programme will include virtual, hybrid and physical events.

Startups from all over Switzerland and even other countries can participate, but shall be able to attend in-person a few important events at EPFL or some Swiss or International Roadshows (typically 1-2 days a month).

Is there a fee to apply or participate in the programme?

Participation in the programme is completely free, including the application process.

The programme is fully sponsored, and we do not require any equity in return.

Selection will be solely based on the quality of the applicants' proposals with regard to the impact potential.