Press release ¤ Information de presse

Oct 17, 2023


18 internationale Start-ups präsentierten ihre Ideen /

18 interternational Start-ups presented their ideas

Photo: Peter Nierhoff

Promoting impact investment in Sustainable Chemistry innovations

What does it take to establish and maintain sustainability as a measurable value for companies? What conditions need to be created for ideas in Sustainable Chemistry to flourish? And which start-ups worldwide promise the greatest impact in this field with their innovations? These and other central questions about innovations for Sustainable Chemistry were answered at the Investor Forum 2023 of the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3). The fifth edition took place live as part of the 5th World Chemicals Conference ICCM5 in Bonn. International representatives from politics, industry, NGOs, science, environmental associations and investors met 18 international start-ups to talk about meaningful cooperation and to award the most innovative ideas and solutions in the field of Sustainable Chemistry at the finals of the ISC3 Innovation Challenge, which is endowed with a total of 25,000 euros.

The Innovation Challenge is an integral part of the Investor Forum. The 2023 Award on the topic of "Sustainable Chemistry and Agriculture" won Indian start-up Schutzen with bio-based, biodegradable textiles, paints and varnishes, body care products and household chemicals made from the seeds of the tamarind tree. In the "Special Impact" category, Makabi (Croatia) convinced the international jury with its development of 3in1 capsules to reduce agrochemicals in agriculture. Molepse Bioresources (Kenya) won the "Special Regional Impact" category with multitarget pesticides to protect stored grain and the Audience Award went to Natupla (Colombia) for developing bio-based, biodegradable materials and adhesives. The founder of the German start-up ClimEtSan-OnTheGround received an “honourable mention” from the jury as best female founder for her business idea and contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For the 2024 Innovation Challenge, ISC3 is looking for start-ups from around the world with the best ideas in the field of "Sustainable Chemistry and Textiles".

"Sustainable solutions such as those presented here show the potential of innovations for combating environmental pollution," State Secretary Dr Christiane Rohleder noted in her speech at the official opening of the Investor Forum. Representing the BMUV, she spoke about the role of Sustainable Chemistry in international chemicals management, the BMUV's German sustainability agenda and the role of the ISC3. Finally, she addressed the start-ups presenting at the Investor Forum directly: "Your ideas inspire more innovations in the chemical sector that meet the requirements of Sustainable Chemistry."

"With the Investor Forum, ISC3 brings together selected international start-ups from the field of Sustainable Chemistry with investors every year. Financing is still one of the biggest challenges for the development of start-ups. Especially in the pre-seed and seed phase, many start-ups struggle to find an investor. As part of the ICCM5, we had a great political framework to bring the topic of innovation in Sustainable Chemistry as a central field of activity into the discussion on sustainable chemical management with concrete solutions. The finals of our annual Innovation Challenge and the award ceremony was again a highlight. Also this year, I was deeply impressed by the sustainable solutions presented by the start-ups, which motivates us at ISC3 to continue promoting them," says Dr Thomas Wanner, Managing Director of ISC3.

At the Investor Forum 2023 panel discussion, international experts spoke about the role of investors and governments in supporting start-ups, the importance of Sustainable Chemistry and the cooperation between business and science: “Not least because of the need for action, societal pressure and political commitments, I am convinced that in the next 30 years we will witness a sustainability revolution that will make sustainable investments the most profitable investments imaginable”, said Fabian-Domenic Meier (Groon IO, Germany). Marcelo E. Cobrol (Chief Scalability, Knowledge and Impact at IDB Labs, USA) concluded that the highest impact projects must also be profitable.

More information on the ISC3 Investor Forum 2023 and the sustainable innovations of the 18 start-ups in total at


The winners of the ISC3 Innovation Challenge 2023

In the pitch of the eight finalists of the Innovation Challenge 2023, SCHUTZEN CARE PRIVATEwon the main prize of 15,000 euros. The start-up from India produces bio-based and biodegradable textiles, paints and varnishes, personal care products and household chemicals. The company's goal is to replace fossil chemistry with C-12 isotopes and toxic groups with C-14 chemistry. Schutzen mitigates climate change, reduces the toxicity of pollutants and ensures high biodegradability.

MAKABI Agritech from Croatia was the winner in the "Special Impact" category and received 5,000 euros. The start-up has developed a smart 3in1 capsule containing a formula of microparticles for nutrition and protection of plant parts. They focus on the application of green encapsulation of bioactive components isolated from nature in agricultural products. This approach is expected to reduce the use of agrochemicals by 30 percent and reduce the negative impact on the environment. The start-up also offers collaboration in research and development for new products.

Molepse BioResources won the prize in the category "Special Regional Impact" and also received 5,000 euros. The Kenyan start-up produces and distributes novel multitarget pesticides to protect stored grain from weevil infestation. Its two products, Dudukit and Dudumit, are socially acceptable, contribute to economic growth and promote environmental awareness. They are also more affordable than the products of commercial grain traders.


About ISC3

The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre promotes Sustainable Chemistry for a sustainable world. ISC3 supports the chemical industry and chemical-related sectors in their transformation process through sustainable, innovative approaches from Sustainable Chemistry. The goal is a circular economy that implements the multiple aspects of sustainability over the entire life cycle of products and a rethinking of the behaviour of all stakeholders. To advance the dialogue between different sectors and actors worldwide, including Europe and other regions as well as emerging and developing countries, ISC3 follows a multi-stakeholder approach with the networking of policymakers, public and private sectors, education, science and society. It contributes to international chemicals policy, develops professional and academic training programs, advises companies, and promotes start-ups and research. Founded in 2017 by the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, the centre is supported by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and by the Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA e.V.) as ISC3 Innovation Hub and Leuphana University Lüneburg as ISC3 Research & Education Hub.


Christian Ruth-Strauß
Director Communications ISC3

René Sutthoff
Konsequent PR

back to overview

© DECHEMA e.V. 1995-2024, Last update 12.02.2024

Theodor-Heuss-Allee 25
60486 Frankfurt
Telefon (069) 7564-0
Telefax (069) 7564-201

Simone Angster
Tel. +49 (0) 69 / 75 64 - 540
Become a member