Business4Change Hackathon

Business4Change is a 2-day hackathon contest, organised to 'hack' or solve issues businesses are facing in their transition to the circular economy. The hackathon emphasises the potential of social innovation and the role of new business models in the circular economy. Business4Change is an initiative of the European Commission and will take place on 16-17 November 2020 within the European Business Summit at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium.

Over the course of 2 days, different teams will compete against each other to come up with innovative and creative solutions to solve a practical challenge related to the circular economy. The challenges are selected in collaboration with challenge owners and experts representing companies, associations, and NGOs. Leading up to the hackathon, selected experts will share their knowledge on the circular economy with the participants.  At the hackathon, teams will pitch their ideas and win prizes! 

We need your help solve circular economy challenges using social innovation!

What does this mean?
The circular economy is an economic system aiming to eliminate waste through the reuse, repair, recycling or sharing of materials to minimise the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste pollution. The aim for the circular economy is to keep products and infrastructure in use for longer and to maximimize the regeneration of these resources as much as possible. Solving circular economy problems using social innovation means that proposed solutions should be geared towards creating social value and meeting societal needs.



July 2020 - Apply with your team
July 2020
Apply with your team
Early September - Brainstorm ideas
July-September 2020
Brainstorm ideas
September - Join a webinar to get trained
September 2020
Join a webinar to receive training
The hackathon Ends
16 November 2020
Take part in Hackathon
Pitch your idea to experts
17 November 2020
Pitch your idea to experts
Demos & Awards
17 November 2020
Win a prize!

Participate in the Business4Change Hackathon!

We are looking for motivated teams to come up with creative business solutions for challenges businesses and organisations are facing in their efforts to become more sustainable. The challenges for the Business4Change Hackathon will be based on issues the Challenge Owners face in their day-to-day operations. The hackathon focuses on finding socially innovative solutions and business models to enable the transition to a more circular economy. The circular economy aims to maintain the value of products, materials, and resources for as long as possible by returning them into the product cycle at the end of their use, while minimising the generation of waste.

Register now!

  • Participants have to be based in a country participating in the COSME programme of the European Union. This includes all EU countries as well as some non-EU countries.
  • Teams must be composed of 3 to 5 members.
  • All kinds of academic and professional backgrounds are welcome to participate, including students, entrepreneurs and professionals.
  • Teams with interdisciplinary backgrounds are encouraged. The more innovative and creative your team, the better!

Individuals can try to find a team for the hackathon via our LinkedIn group . On the group you can search for like-minded participants and ask questions to the organisers.

The Challenge Owners selected for the hackathon will assist the organisers in selecting the teams according to the selection criteria*.

Challenge 1

The Challenge: How to reduce the supply chain cost of waste plastics packaging? Help SUEZ reduce the supply chain cost of waste plastics packaging!

Let's talk about plastics! The amount of plastic produced in Europe today is 50 times what it was 50 years ago. (with over 8 billion tons of plastic being produced by industries since 1950 alone). To complicate this even further, each year, the transport of hundreds of millions of tons of waste has an immense impact on society. Just to give you a perspective, this accounts for 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) generated in waste management (which is the equivalent of several million tons of CO2). SUEZ processes more than 400,00 tons of plastics each year to produce 100,000 tons of recycled polymers. The challenge is that the characteristic of plastic packaging waste is its very low density generating high logistic costs between the point of collection until the gate of the reprocessing plant (about 50 % of the total recycling costs). We are looking for innovative ideas to reduce logistics costs across the supply chain.


Why is a new business model needed? These costs are a crucial bottleneck in making recycled plastics competitive against virgin ones.

What is the sectoral impact? Increase the long-term viability of the recycled plastic sector facing very low virgin plastic prices. In addition, there is over 100 Million euros in potential business impact.

What is the societal impact? Collecting more plastic means less plastic in the environment and a decrease in CO2 emission linked to transport.

The Prize: The winners of this challenge will be provided with an internship opportunity. There is also the possibility for them to receive a PhD opportunity or to eventually to become one of the employees in one of SUEZ Business Units or research centers around the world.

Are you interested in this challenge? Register your team now!

Challenge 2

The Challenge: Creating a sustainable business model for the collection, sorting and upcycling of post-consumer wine corks. Help Vinventions to find solutions for post-consumer wine corks. They currently have corks that are 100 percent recyclable and, by 2025, Vinventions aims for 25% of their corks to be made out of recycled materials. The solution needs to be cost effective, since Vinventions is a local SME.


Why is a new business model needed? Currently, the majority of wine closures are burnt in an incinerator and a business model based on recycling corks does not exist at scale. In an effort to avoid pollution from materials that could be recycled but are currently not, we innovative ideas!

What is the Sectoral Impact? This solution could be scaled-up to other small-sized products not effectively recycled.

What is the societal impact? Creating less waste, benefiting both the consumer, producers, and the planet in the long run.

The Prize: The winners of this challenge will be provided with internship opportunities in Vinventions’ Oenological experts centers in Nîmes, France. In the case that the solution provided is a viable business model, Vinventions will also provide funds and mentorship to create a start-up.

Are you interested in this challenge? Register your team now!

Subscribe to our newsletter for more information!


For more information about the event please contact: 

Anya Gregory, Communications and Research Manager at European Business Summit 

Carlotta Traverso, Communications and Operations Assistant at European Business Summit

The location

This year's Business4Change Hackathon will happen at EBS 2020, in the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium.
Welcome to Booth.

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