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Together

Collaborate to innovate

At Impact Hub Berlin, we believe that only through collaboration can we create a future that works for all – both people and the planet. Better Together is our circular economy-focused incubator for impact-driven entrepreneurs that puts partnerships at the core of its programme.

Collaboration is the key to innovation.
We’re Better Together.

Programme

Purpose-driven founders need meaningful, long-term partnerships in order to solve the greatest challenges of our time. Better Together is where they unlock their full potential. We support early-stage Impact Entrepreneurs with stipends and tailored business coaching, giving them the space, tools and network needed to secure strong partnerships and grow their impact.

Challenge: The Circular Economy

While an increasing number of people around the world materially benefit from mass production in its linear form, it’s become overwhelmingly obvious that this concept is utterly unsustainable.

We’re seeing the world over that the ‘take-make-dispose’ model leads to severe deforestation, biodiversity loss, land degradation, depletion of natural resources, disruption of freshwater cycles and catastrophic climate change. This approach to production generates immense pressure on our natural environment that – if left unaddressed – will result in irreversible repercussions. In short, the planet is running an ecological deficit.

The concept of a circular economy – one in which resources are reduced, reused and repurposed instead of wasted – offers solutions to many of the challenges faced by production while still allowing for economic growth. Circular initiatives have been sprouting up in several industries, but so far most have been unable to thrive beyond a nascent stage.

Why is that? Major barriers hinder the proliferation of circular economy concepts, notably: a lack of knowledge regarding the implementation of scalable solutions, high production costs, low incentives, and a lack of synergies between different players and stakeholders.

For this edition of the Better Together programme, we’re looking for solutions that tackle these two sub-challenges:

Convenient and affordable consumer products+

Why do current solutions often only cater to a small, niche market? Two of the biggest drivers for consumers are convenience and affordability. Do you offer a solution or prototype that’s circular, accessible and affordable? Or an innovation that can make many such circular products more viable? If yes, then we want to know about it. Our programme helps you to scale, preparing you to enter the mass market and have a far-reaching impact.

Sustainable and profitable production+

Many industry players now feel the pressure to act in a more sustainable manner, but at the same time, they’re under pressure to ensure smooth production and generate profit. If your product or services help small to medium enterprises or larger corporates to become more sustainable, or lowers the cost of circular solutions, we can help you to approach pilot customers and implement your ideas.

Why should you apply?

Better Together is different to other incubators. By putting mutually beneficial partnerships and individual support at the centre of the programme, we give you the necessary knowledge and skills needed to grow your business fast. By supporting you to establish pilot projects, we enhance your company’s value – without requesting an equity stake. Because innovation requires collaboration.

Who are we looking for?

  • Better Together is your perfect match, if you
  • have developed an innovative solution that drives the transition to a circular economy.
  • are tackling a challenge relating to ‘convenient and affordable products’ or ‘sustainable and profitable production’.
  • have a functional prototype of your process or service.
  • apply an entrepreneurial mindset: a willingness to learn combined with high resilience.
  • are on a team consisting of at least two founders.

Timeline

Applications Open
6th April 2021

Teams can apply via the online application form.

Applications Close
9th May 2021

Be sure to submit your application by 9th May 2021, 11:59 CET.

Top 15 Selection
14th May 2021

We’ll select a shortlist of the top 15 teams. If you’re in that selection, we’ll inform you via email.

Selection Interviews
17th-21st May 2021

The top 15 teams will be invited to interview calls.

Pitch Day & Final Selection
3rd June 2021

The top 15 teams will pitch their solutions to our Advisory Committee. The committee will have the final call on admission to the programme.

Programme Kick-Off
29th June 2021

Official programme kick-off and onboarding.

Demo Day
2nd December 2021

Your time to shine!

Teams can apply via the online application form.

Be sure to submit your application by 9th May 2021, 11:59 CET.

We’ll select a shortlist of the top 15 teams. If you’re in that selection, we’ll inform you via email.

The top 15 teams will be invited to interview calls.

The top 15 teams will pitch their solutions to our Advisory Committee. The committee will have the final call on admission to the programme.

Official programme kick-off and onboarding.

Your time to shine!

Team

We’re a team of thinkers, doers and bridge-builders. Above all, we’re enthusiasts for social innovation and radical ideas. We try to get the best out of teams and pull the strings necessary to make a startup successful. Meet the team behind Better Together:

Programme Team

Advisory Commitee

Impact Hub Berlin

Impact Hub Berlin empowers entrepreneurs and organisations to create innovative solutions for people and the planet. Established in 2014, we host a coworking community of impact-driven members, run a creative space for inspiring events, and consult startups and companies on social innovation and sustainability. As part of the Impact Hub global network, made up of 100+ locations and almost 17,000 members, we’re both locally rooted and globally connected in our mission to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

FAQ

Where is the programme located?+

The programme takes place in Berlin, Germany – where we will provide you access to one of Europe’s most vibrant startup scenes and connect you to like-minded entrepreneurs, decision-makers and startup experts. It’s a prerequisite that you are located in or willing to relocate to Berlin.

Who is Better Together for?+

We designed Better Together to boost early stage startups with a ready / almost ready prototype. The focus for the upcoming programme is the Circular Economy. You should be prepared to either start testing your solution with first pilot customers, or expand your existing customer base.

I am not sure whether I can apply. What are the entry criteria into the programme?+

You’re eligible to apply if you:

  • Reside in Berlin or plan to for the duration of the programme.
  • Have not previously received an Exist Programme or Berlin Startup Scholarship.
  • Base or plan to base your venture headquarters in Berlin.
  • Have not yet registered your company (or have been a registered company for no more than three months before your application date).
  • Have not received major external investments like prize money or business angel money, or major public funding before beginning the programme.
  • Possess the majority of the company shares.
  • Can commit to the programme full-time employment for six months.
  • Are not registered as a university student for the duration of the programme.
  • (For non-EU residents) Have a valid Schengen Zone visa including permission to be self-employed.
I have submitted my application. What’s the next step in the selection process?+

By submitting your application you should receive a confirmation email. If you haven’t received a confirmation, please contact us: bettertogether@impacthub.berlin.

From 9th May 2021 the selection team of Impact Hub Berlin will screen all of the applications. In that phase you might be contacted by Impact Hub Berlin, if any questions should come up.

After screening all applications, the selection team will choose 15 teams that will be invited for personal interviews between in May 2021.

In the next step, Impact Hub Berlin will invite teams for the Pitch Day, where our external Advisory Committee comprised of experts in the fields of sustainability and business management will finally decide on the admission into the program.

What does the selection process involve? How will the teams be appointed for Better Together?+

In choosing the participants, we’ll take into account the entrepreneurial and technical skills of the team, the potential for scaling and the the positive impact of your solution. We’ll also take into consideration how persuasive you are in your pitch / application.

Applications will be assessed on:

– Social and ecological impact
– Business model and feasibility
– Potential to scale
– Team

The diversity of the team also plays a key role and we aim to have an equal gender split within the cohort.

Can I enter as a solo founder?+

Our focus is on collaboration – to be selected for the programme you must have a team of at least two founders. If you have a great product and are currently seeking co-founders, reach out to our team who may be able to advise or connect you to potential co-founders.

Do I have to attend all events if I get accepted into the programme?+

Better Together will combine input from experts as well as highly individualized business coaching. As such we will cater to the specific needs of our start-ups and deem them highly relevant. We would therefore expect that you attend all of the events and engage full-time.

Which language is the programme delivered in?+

The programme elements will be conducted in English or German depending on the preferences of each participant. We encourage participants to submit their documents and materials in English to attract the broadest range of potential partners and investors.

Who is behind the Better Together programme?+

The Impact Hub Berlin designed the programme, implements all measures and ensures a smooth transition. We belong to a global network focused on building communities for impact at scale. With 100+ communities of almost 17,000 change-driven entrepreneurs in more than 50 countries across five continents, Impact Hub is one of the world’s largest communities and accelerators for positive change. The programme is supported and funded by the European Union (European Social Fund) and the Senate of Berlin.

How is Better Together affected by Covid-19 restrictions?+

We take the Covid-19 situation very seriously and follow a safety-first policy. Through the use of technology, we’ve been able to maintain and in certain aspects even strengthen our programme delivery. We carefully align our policies with current developments and will do our best to support you whatever these may be.

Will my costs for travel and accommodation be reimbursed if I travel from outside of Germany to Berlin?+

All participants of the programme receive a stipend of EUR 2,000 per month, which should cover all costs incurred. In addition – but only for those startups that qualify and show high potential – we may also fund an ‘exposure trip’ to another Impact Hub outside of Germany for the purposes of implementing pilot projects or for traveling to conferences.

Get in touch

Impact Hub Berlin GmbH
Friedrichstraße 246
10969 Berlin
Germany

T: +49 30 259 257 25
M: bettertogether@impacthub.berlin

This project is supported and funded by the European Union (European Social Fund) and the Senate of Berlin.