On December 15, corporate and academic experts for the GreenTech Startup Booster selected five winners out of twenty-three finalists to progress onto the pilot phase of the accelerator. The pilot phase takes place between December 2020-March 2021.

Screengrab: https://greentech.sk.ru/.

The first of its kind in Russia, GreenTech Startup Booster has gained support from numerous corporations, educational institutions, and state organizations such as Total, TMK, Gazprom Neft, Tatneft, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Energy, Nornickel, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), the Russian Academy of Sciences and so on.

Initially, there were 853 successful entrants into the program hailing from 190 cities across the world, including Amsterdam, Belgrade, Munich, Tblisi, Minsk as well as mention Moscow and St. Petersburg. Over 100 Skolkovo resident companies comprised the original applicants in the accelerator. Five of the twenty-three finalists moved onto the pilot phase after experts from Electricité de France, Skoltech, Gazprom Neft, Total, WWF, and many other bodies, selected the winners.

The focus areas of GreenTech Startup Booster are clean water, clean air, clean land, clean energy, environmental monitoring, and human and environment. It gives startups working on solutions in these areas the chance to get their developments in front of corporations that can provide neceessary capital and expertise.

Green technologies are needed now more than ever with many countries around the world aiming to move towards carbon neutrality within the next two decades. The Covid-19 pandemic may have driven the impending environmental crisis off the headlines, but that does not mean that it has gone away. Climate change is gathering momentum – the last five years being the hottest on record – and its consequences are manifold and could lead to water shortages, desertification, sea level rise, famine, extreme weather, mass extinction, and so on. That is why innovators around the world are working to meet new demand as industries begin to move towards sustainability.

Mikhail Tykuchinksiy, the director of development at the energy efficiency cluster at the Skolkovo Foundation, moderated the GreenTech final, and according to him, President Vladimir Putin recently considered green technologies as crucial to Russia’s geopolitical role. Anatoly Chubais, who was recently appointed special presidential envoy for relations with international organizations for the achievement of sustainable development goals, was the first speaker to open the GreenTech final.

Anatoly Chubais: "You have already shown professionalism, and regardless of how far things go from here, in reaching this point you are all winners." Screengrab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qkx-RsJDl7E&feature=youtu.be.

“This is a professional and modern way to select startup projects,” said Mr. Chubais, “ and I would like to congratulate those who came up with this idea; I think it is well conceived. The UN has already created seventeen sustainable development goals, and when I compare them to the GreenTech booster tracks, I see an almost complete overlap. Clean water, clean air, clean land, clean energy, environmental monitoring, and human and environment – these are absolutely central issues for us all, and I feel that this topic is more important for the younger generation than for ours.”

Mr. Chubais went on to address the startup finalists directly, stating that reaching the final is just the beginning of the process and that in a tough world it is crucial to show long-term strength of will in the face of adversity. “You have already shown professionalism, and regardless of how far things go from here, in reaching this point you are all winners. However, to work on innovations, especially in sectors like clean energy, clean environment and so on, the most important thing to have, apart from professionalism, technological knowhow and startup development, is the ability to not give up in the face of adversity.”

Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich. Screengrab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qkx-RsJDl7E&feature=youtu.be.

Arkady Dvorkovich, the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation, followed Mr. Chubais in opening the GreenTech final:

“Our GreenTech startup booster has become one of the most significant projects in the last few months and is connected to a number of other initiatives. We have conducted several online events in this track and in others in the form of business missions, pitching AI solutions and other solutions aimed at sustainable development. Yet this GreenTech Startup Booster has become the most in-demand event and is supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities, among other entities.

“We are glad to have had over 800 applications from more than 190 cities across the world, and although a large portion of those are from Russia, a significant number are from abroad; thus, the final today will bring greater global renown to this event. Serious expertise stands behind each solution, and some of these have already begun work with prototypes on the market. We hope that these solutions will be needed in industry, energy companies and state organizations and at the mass level in the near future. I wish you all luck today and I would like to offer thanks for the support.”

The five GreenTech final winners were:

  1. Biomicrogel (1st place) for its solution designed to remove oil-based pollutants from water;
  2. Printeltech (2nd place) for its portable air pollution monitoring system;
  3. Brosk (3rd place) for its efficient heating solution;
  4. Environmental Investments (4th place) for its solution designed to reduce CO2 by way of providing plantations of fast-growth CO2 absorbing trees aimed at reducing carbon tax on emitting companies;
  5. Big3 (5th place) for its digital platform designed to monitor waste treatment.

The next step for the winners is to enter the prototype phase during which they will develop pilot projects with program partners.