On Tuesday 16 May 2023, the prize-giving ceremony of the third edition of the Circular by Design Challenge took place at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg-Kirchberg, in the presence of Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, and the Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Minister for Tourism, Lex Delles.
This initiative, launched by Luxinnovation, with the support of the Ministry of the Economy, aims to enable the development of new design solutions and innovative business models that are in line with the principles of the circular economy.
This ceremony marks the end of a process in which eight selected projects (out of a total of 30 candidates), startups and established companies all participated in an intensive twelve-week coaching programme, accompanied by seventeen coaches, with the aim of developing their projects and making them economically viable. Five public partners were also involved in this third edition, which identified four main challenges:
- finding sustainable solutions that can contribute to development cooperation and humanitarian aid, in collaboration with the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Luxembourg's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs;
- finding innovative solutions that contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of business events and making them more eco-responsible, in collaboration with the Directorate General for Tourism of Luxembourg's Ministry of the Economy;
- finding innovative, circular and sustainable solutions for multifunctional urban furniture that will contribute to limiting the ecological footprint, in collaboration with the Luxembourg Urban Garden 2025 (LUGA) and the organisers of the Luxembourg national pavilion at the World Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan;
- designing and developing products that represent Luxembourg and the "LuXembourg" brand in accordance with the principles of the circular economy, in collaboration with the Luxembourg Collection team of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
"The consequences of climate change and resource scarcity are becoming increasingly evident, as is the need to change our current production and consumption patterns," explained Anja Hoethker, Project Manager - Flagship Projects at Luxinnovation, who was in charge of coordinating this event. "This Circular by Design Challenge aims to inspire companies and entrepreneurs to develop products and services that will contribute to a more circular and sustainable world."
In his opening speech, Minister Fayot said: "The success of this third edition of the Circular By Design Challenge is proof of the success of the initiative and of the fact that circularity has become a major issue for the entire economy. The four themes chosen for the challenge perfectly reflect the growing demand for sustainable solutions." He added: "Awareness on the importance of sustainability is growing in a wide range of fields, from architecture and agriculture to defence, life sciences and mobility. The Circular by Design Challenge is thus a concrete contribution to the transition to a more sustainable economy and society, which is at the heart of the government's actions."
During the award ceremony, the following five winners were acknowledged:
- Angelika Bocian-Jaworska (Äerd Lab - multifunctional urban furniture category) for her Eggshell Wonders project on 3D printing of urban furniture from a mixture of eggshells, clay and other 100% natural materials;
- Cheryl Ury and Kevin Behaegel (Luloop - sustainable business events category) for their Luloop project to set up an international reuse ecosystem that is practical, affordable and accessible to all, to support the transition away from single-use plastic in the hospitality sector;
- Martin Dieterle (Carrerouge - LuXembourg Collection category) for his Quattromania board game project, made 100% in Luxembourg from recycled plastics and with social partners such as Autisme Luxembourg;
- Dean Kauffmann (Amsol - development cooperation and humanitarian aid category) for his 3DField Printer project, a robust and deployable 3D printing solution on which humanitarian aid organisations can rely and which can withstand the harsh environments caused by natural disasters or other catastrophes around the world;
- Loise Wandera and Oscar Rombo (Metricsat - Jury's Favourite Award) for their project TopFodder which aims to promote regenerative agriculture among small-scale farmers in Rwanda.
The jury was composed of twelve international experts, chaired by Prof Martin Charter, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Design at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, England.
"The implementation of circular economy principles contributes to Luxembourg's efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The quality of the projects awarded in this third edition of the Circular by Design Challenge, shows once again the richness and strength that can emanate from close collaborations between companies that develop sustainable solutions and public institutions and other economic actors," said Johnny Brebels, Director of Company Relations and Support at Luxinnovation. "This is perfectly in line with Luxinnovation's mission to raise awareness and support companies, but also the whole economy, in implementing innovative projects to create the digital, competitive and sustainable economy of tomorrow."