Toyota Startup Accelerator's Demo Day Aims to Catalyze Sustainable Innovation Across Europe

It's all about bringing together startups that are innovating in the "Mobility for All" and sustainability space.

You're reading Entrepreneur Europe, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. This story originally appeared on Novobrief

Written by Emily Senkosky

Toyota Europe

Since it came into place on November 4, 2016, The Paris Agreement set forth a huge call to action for the 196 parties that agreed to its legally binding international treaty on climate change. In this hallmark accord, there were 17 overarching sustainable development goals (SDGs) outlined that emphasized a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all.

These goals have demanded rapid and systemic change, and since the commencement of the treaty, the EU has seen different levels of achievement for different SDGs.

On the one hand, the EU was able to reach its 2020 energy efficiency target and, based on the progress achieved so far, appears to be on track towards its 2030 target thanks to the region's growing use of renewable energy. This shows that in the past five years, the EU has been able to meet its Affordable and Clean Energy goal (SDG 7).

On the other hand, however, according to a report by The European Commission, progress towards the goals in the areas of health and well-being (SDG 3), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), and reduced inequalities (SDG 10) was only ranked as moderate—showcasing the need for more development in society for these targets.

About one-third of Europe's largest public companies have pledged to reach net zero by 2050, but in order to get the remaining two-thirds on board and see a more inclusive range of SDGs being met by businesses, cohesion between EU companies big and small needs to be a part of the strategy.

Car manufacturing giant Toyota Motor Europe has partnered with ISDI Accelerator, a venture accelerator founded by the leading digital business school in Spain, in an effort to generate a collaborative spirit toward some of these underserved goals in the EU.

Let's take a look at how these two entities are bringing together startups who are innovating in the "Mobility for All" and sustainability space so that the EU can start hitting their SDGs across the board.

Channeling entrepreneurial efforts for sustainability

According to a statistical analysis of sustainable development and green economy in the EU, an approach that promotes innovation on a societal level requires searching for new, more effective solutions that will reduce negative externalities in the realms of production, distribution, and consumption.

The implementation of this trifecta will help to improve the competitiveness of enterprises, both in domestic and foreign markets. Furthermore, it showcases that environmental protection and sustainable development assumptions are a carrier of technical progress and innovation.

In recognition of this, the Toyota Startup Accelerator, hosted by Toyota and the ISDI Accelerator, the investment lab of ISDI Digital Business School, has selected five winning startups to participate in its Demo Day, happening tomorrow, June 24, in Madrid at ISDI's headquarters.

Chosen startups will pitch their breakthrough sustainable solutions across three broad verticals – Mobility for All, Carbon Neutrality, and Circular Economy – to investors and the EU startup press corps.

At the event, the five entrants will progress to the second stage of the ISDI + Toyota Startup Accelerator by presenting the technologies they've been developing related to these categories.

Specific categories include:

Mobility for All:

  1. Revolve Wheel (Germany) created the world's first active wheelchair that fits the standards of a universal cabin suitcase or compact car's trunk.

Carbon Neutrality:

  1. HySiLabs (France) is developing an innovative solution to facilitate hydrogen transportation, by charging and releasing hydrogen in a unique liquid carrier.
  2. PurCity (Denmark) is working to improve air quality by turning buildings into large-scale CO2 air capture facilities.
  3. CargaTuCoche (Spain) proposes a platform for residential electric mobility charging infrastructure that allows for sharing charging points with others.

Circular Economy:

5. MicroWave Solutions (Switzerland) accelerates circular carbon economies by recycling plastics, rubbers, and carbonaceous materials into critical and advanced materials such as graphene.

Startups will pitch their sustainable and mobility ventures in front of top investors, executives from Toyota and ISDI, as well as members of the entrepreneurial community and the media.

Toyota has invested €100,000 in equity-free funding, opening their facilities as testbeds and matching experts to support the development of proof of concepts with the startups. ISDI has provided training, mentoring, and brokerage with corporations and investors to support the business development and investment needs of the startups.

This hallmark event gives the young businesses the chance to unlock new funding opportunities and strike new corporate and tech ecosystem partnerships if they are successful. What is more, it gives them the opportunity to possibly help shape the EU's society more holistically and sustainably for the future.

Bringing sustainability into the EU's business agenda.

One Accenture study found that accelerated action will be needed by EU companies to meet SDGs, as just 5% of companies are on track to meet their targets. Based on the pace of the specific goal of emissions reduction, data shows that between 2010 and 2019, a paltry 9% are on track to achieve their net-zero target by 2050.

This makes it vital that companies with more sustainable innovations in Europe are provided the resources they need to help start shifting the paradigm. Since its inception, ISDI Accelerator has developed dozens of incubation and acceleration programs leading to the implementation of hundreds of startups and thousands of companies across sectors.

In combination with the support from Toyota, the Toyota Startup Accelerator will help to channel the entrepreneurial efforts of members of Europe's startup ecosystem to help achieve a broader spectrum of SDGs more rapidly and accurately.

Through the collaboration between public entities, corporations, educational entities, investors, and founders, a greener future is possible.

Investors and media are invited to attend the event in person or online. For more information about the ISDI and Toyota Startup Accelerator partnership, please visit the following link for updates, here.

Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.