On June 25, 2021, the first start-up competitions within the project “GreenTecLab – Empowerment for Green Start-ups for Climate Protection” took place in Heraklion, Crete. The project works with partners in Greece, Spain and Slovakia. Michalis Katharakis and Giorgos Manousakis are the two partners in Heraklion who organize the bootcamps, pitches and trainings in Crete with the support of the project team.

Nine projects presented their innovative business ideas in the fields of sustainable tourism and organic agriculture. The new products and services aim to promote climate protection and facilitate sustainable behavior.

All but one of the projects were present in Heraklion, and one project from western Crete was digitally connected. The jury consisted of international experts as well as local players who know the market in Crete very well. For example, the TUI Foundation and the Bayer company were on the jury as potential sponsors, as well as representatives of the regional administration, the local university and local companies. Rüdiger Klatt was also a member of the jury for the FIAP project team. On site, of course, the hygiene rules were observed – presentation of ideas and communication only with a mask.

The projects presented exciting ideas, the focus was mainly on the recycling of agricultural waste products, but also on technological solutions to protect the environment.

All the ideas presented were good and important, the jury was spoilt for choice, so to speak, and did not make the decision easy. There was a long discussion about what fits into the Cretan market and supports sustainability and climate protection in a special way. Nektarios Fakidaris took first place with the process he developed of processing whey, a byproduct of cheese production, and leftovers from the olive harvest into a protein powder that can be used for animal feed but also for fitness products. Here, “waste” from Cretan agriculture is created into a new product that has a good market in Crete. Four other projects also won awards and now have the chance to be funded by foundations, by companies or by political stakeholders in Crete.

All nine projects will continue to receive support in the GreenTecLab project to further develop their ideas, professionalize their products and services and make them customer-oriented. They will present themselves and their ideas on the GreenTecLab platform, which will go online this summer.

With the cooperation partners on Crete, the GreenTecLab project team is now planning further bootcamps and pitches to be held in spring 2022. The project team is looking forward to the next competitions with young startups and innovative ideas.