Run by Creative HQ, the Climate Response Accelerator program is now in its second year – and this time around it’s being run online, allowing teams to participate from across the country. (File photo)
Carbon capture technology, AI recycling and ‘Xero for climate change’ are among 10 start-up innovations set to be boosted in second round of capital’s climate change incubator program .
Run by Creative HQ, Wellington’s innovation hub, the Climate Response Accelerator program is now in its second year – and this time around it’s being run online, allowing teams to participate from across the country.
From a total of 52 applicants, 10 startups were chosen to receive funding and advice over 12 weeks to develop their climate change solutions.
Teams receive $20,000 in funding, mentorship, and tools and resources to help them progress through each stage of their growth.
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Creative HQ’s managing director of startups, Luke Ball, said with the world experiencing droughts, pandemics, floods and fires at “alarming rates” – both overseas and domestically – urgent solutions were required.
“The Climate Response Accelerator is designed to accelerate these new solutions and technologies.”
This year, teams would tackle a variety of challenges, from everyday issues such as sustainable toothpaste, to business solutions for tracking and measuring climate impact.
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Other teams focus on deep carbon capture technology solutions, as well as software-as-a-service and fintech products.
“We’re privileged to hear about the incredible ideas of our teams, and we’re learning a lot while contributing our innovation and business expertise to help them grow — it’s a two-way street,” Ball said.
Anna Ririnui, head of strategic partnerships at one of this year’s program sponsors, the Ministry of the Environment, said innovation was “crucial to accelerating the transition to a low-emission circular economy”, and that t was exciting to see the range and potential of the teams.
One of the teams, Capture6, is developing a carbon-negative technology that removes carbon dioxide directly from the air.
Co-founder Luke Shors said it could work on a large scale – “essentially an insurance policy if our other efforts to reduce emissions don’t move fast enough”.
The world continues to emit 50 billion tonnes of CO2 each year, he said. “We need carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere – and quickly.”
He said various carbon capture initiatives exist, but none are scalable, verifiable and affordable. “That is our challenge to solve.”
A startup called Donut has created a product that helps businesses track their carbon footprint.
Co-founder Hugh Walcott said it could be integrated with services like Xero “so people can track their carbon footprint the same way they track their accounts.”
Donut’s goal is to save small business owners time by automating the process of creating footprint reports, then linking them to solutions to reduce it.