After about 2.5 years, the project “GTL – Empowerment for green start-ups to foster climate protection and sustainability” is coming to an end.
Our vision that green start-ups will contribute to the ecological, but also to the social, cultural and economic change of societies is validated. We are convinced that GTL is an important impulse for systematic support of ecologically oriented project initiatives and for raising awareness of the relevance of this topic across European countries.
But this was only the beginning and there is still a lot to do.
In the last two and a half years GTL has been motivating young people in Greece, Spain, Slovakia to found green start-ups and accompanying them on their journey through analogue and digital green entrepreneurship trainings, individual mentoring, pitching and networking with relevant actors. Our goal was to support climate protection-related innovations, especially in regions that are considered structurally weak and where young, future- and sustainability-oriented people tend to migrate.
Following the GTL Journey, the focus was on working directly with the start-up initiatives in the local and mobile GTLs.
Besides classic entrepreneurship training and a focus on technical and green innovation opportunities, the individual, needs-oriented mentoring of the participants played a particularly important role. The heterogeneity of the business ideas, the different stages of development as well as the different needs for support made the individual support sessions as well as the networking with experts on the respective topics essential.
The diversity of topics of the business ideas strongly reflected the broad innovation spectrum of the green economy. The GTL projects ranged from awareness raising and educational services for the green economy, sustainable tourism, sustainable agriculture, circular economy, sustainable logistics, energy consumption and production, and sustainable building.
By the end of the project, we can say that the implementation of the hubs in all countries has been very successful, in terms of the development and market entry of start-ups.
In total, the GTL project supported more than 50 start-up initiatives in developing their business idea into a valid business model. About one third of the initiatives have already launched their start-up and entered the market with their product or service. These are very diverse business ideas (an overview of our successful start-ups can be found in the “Start-up of the Month Section”). Further start-ups are planning their launch in the upcoming months.
But also with regard to the continuation and the long-term perspective of the project, promising follow-up perspectives have emerged in the respective regions. Through the initiated strong networking with local actors and also regional politics, the relevance of the topic has gained importance and new structures of green start-up support have been initiated in all regions.
Nevertheless, our project experiences also show that GTL is only the beginning of the journey towards a start-up-driven green transition:
Support structures for green start-ups need to be consolidated, as our experience with GTL is that policies need to be strongly adapted to local needs and markets. Furthermore, there is currently a lack of a green ecosystem that catches ecologically oriented initiatives and offers them a platform to develop their ideas and implement them successfully.
GTL shows that such an ecosystem is missing especially in rural areas. It is very important to create awareness about the needs of green transition and transfer knowledge and experience to these regions, which are far from innovation-oriented cities.
In these regions, access to innovative green technologies is also often a problem. The transfer of knowledge to these regions is often neglected, which means that young people do not have the opportunity to learn about and try out new technologies and vocational training providers cannot offer qualifications in these fields of technology. Neither companies nor customers can adapt to new services relevant to climate protection because there is simply a lack of technical know-how. This is a structural problem for which new approaches must be developed. The GTL consortium has made a proposal for this with GreenVETnet.
The GTL project and the continuous dialogue with experts identified a transnational need for qualification and start-ups as well as the continuously growing need for new services especially in the fields of green hydrogen, heat pump installation in combination with renewable energies (especially photovoltaics) and renewable energy. The project approach tries to give answers to that need.
The project consortium has set itself the goal of raising awareness of these needs and supporting the green transition by building expertise in climate-relevant technologies and eco-innovation and developing a European green start-up ecosystem, beyond the GTL Project and related project activities.
As a first step, the virtual GTL platform will be further used to actively address the established community. For this purpose, two sections of the platform in particular will be continued in the following months.
In the “News Section”, you can expect interesting factsheets and exciting posts on innovative green topics that have emerged as particularly important in the course of the project and the transnational cooperation, in order to further raise awareness of the green economy and its opportunities.
Additionally, the “Start-up Section” will continue to feature innovative green start-ups each month. In addition to start-ups that have emerged from the project, other initiatives also have the opportunity to use this platform to introduce themselves to an international community and thus also enter the transnational network.
So stay tuned and visit our website in the future to join us on the important green journey – the way to an eco-oriented transition.