FS6 & Huhtamaki announce circular economy startup program participants

Developing innovative circular economy solutions

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FS6|Huhtamaki
Circular economy startup Program in India by FoodSystem6. Photo - Huhtamaki

The impact-focused Us-based nonprofit startup accelerator, Food System 6 (FS6), announced the eight early-stage companies from around the world selected to participate in their new Circular Economy program, launched in partnership with global sustainable packaging solutions leader Huhtamaki. The purpose of the Huhtamaki Circular Economy Start-up Program by Food System 6 (FS6) is to accelerate the development of young and promising companies working to deliver innovative sustainable solutions in areas such as waste management, sustainable packaging alternatives, new materials innovation, and regenerative production models.

Food System 6 (FS6) is a non-profit based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to support impact-driven entrepreneurs as they transform how we grow, produce, and distribute food. The organization runs a comprehensive accelerator program that mentors entrepreneurs by coaching them through a wide range of business and organizational needs. FS6 also works to educate stakeholders on the unique capital needs as related to redefining the food system.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these entrepreneurs leading change in the world,” said Caesaré Assad, chief executive officer of Food System 6. “They are helping to solve some of the most urgent issues within circularity in our world today—from materials innovation to waste management solutions and community resiliency projects. These leaders are showcasing the depth and breadth of a systems-driven circular economy.”

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Through the partnership with Huhtamaki, FS6 is committing critical mentorship, advising, and networking resources to provide direct support and help the selected participants build their efforts to scale. The eight cohort members were selected for their unique and timely innovations across the impact areas of circularity, healthy people, vibrant farms, sustainable ecosystems, and justice and fairness.

The cohort includes the following eight innovations

Aheza Iwacu – Transforming household waste into a valuable resource through the collection, composting, upcycling, and education in Burundi.

Andes – Harnessing microbes’ power to increase the crop yield, nitrogen capture, and carbon sequestration of plants.

Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED) – Reenvision and rebuild food and land cooperative ecosystems through the transformational leadership of QTBIPOC young folx.

Matriark Foods – Upcycling vegetable surplus to feed people and protect nature.

mobius – Converting organic waste into renewable chemicals and biodegradable materials.

Nafici Group – EcoPulping turns agricultural waste into raw material for low-carbon, non-plastic packaging, and paper.

Rhizoform – Harnessing fungi’s power to “grow” a bio-based alternative to plastic thermal food coolers, foodservice packaging, and more.

SoluBlue – Creating biodegradable seaweed-based packaging that extends shelf-life of fresh food and reduces plastic waste.

“In addition to adopting identified solutions more widely, we need to invest in developing the next generation of initiatives to tackle challenges and build a circular economy that takes us to the future,” says Charles Héaulmé, President and chief executive officer of Huhtamaki. “Through the Huhtamaki Circular Economy Start-up Program and our partnership with Food System 6 we can help discover, develop and deliver such innovative solutions. I am excited to learn more about the eight finalists and I am proud that Huhtamaki can play a part in speeding up the commercialization of their innovative solutions.”

According to the press statement, this cohort of emerging leaders will receive mentorship, advising, and up to US$ 300,000 in equity-free grants to accelerate their implementation of sustainable and regenerative solutions. The program will host interactive online sessions with participants from October through November 2020, culminating with a week of immersive virtual programming.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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