Home Competitions/Awards Huhtamaki Circular Economy Startup Program for Entrepreneurs working on Food systems

Huhtamaki Circular Economy Startup Program for Entrepreneurs working on Food systems


Deadline: 15 Aug,2020    Next term Starts:: 01 Oct,2020


The Huhtamaki Circular Economy Startup Program by Food System 6 will support a cohort of up to 8 entrepreneurs, working in all business entity types, in their efforts to create a more circular economy. Participants will receive coaching and mentorship in lead-up to a three-day event in Helsinki, Finland, where founders will engage with and learn from subject matter experts from the Huhtamaki community of industry leaders.

Selected companies will receive a grant of up to $15k, intended to support participation and travel for one participant to the 3-day event in Helsinki, Finland. In addition, FS6 will select up to 3 of these companies to receive additional grants of up to an aggregate of $200k and 1 company will receive a full year of mentorship and support from the FS6 ecosystem.

Across all our programs, FS6 prioritizes working with entrepreneurs who are building a food system that focuses on health, sustainability, and justice. We support early-stage for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurs who are tackling one or more food system challenges across the following impact areas:

Healthy people

For example, innovations that:

  • Provide healthy food for all
  • Ensure the health and well-being of all people, inclusive of race and class
  • Connect people and the food system

Vibrant Ecosystems

For example, innovations that:

  • Support sustainable family farms to thrive and be economically viable
  • Protect and care for farmers and farm-workers
  • Respect farm animals

Sustainable Ecosystems

For example, innovations that:

  • Sustain and grow a healthy environment
  • ​Enhance biodiversity
  • Promote agricultural and food distribution practices that mitigate climate change 

Justice & Fairness

For example, innovations that:

  • Increase food access for all
  • Create just food system structures and cares for food system workers
  • Ensure that public institutions and local businesses support a just community food system


For example, innovations that:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems


Eligibility and Criteria

  • Candidates are chosen through a rigorous selection process, in which system impact and economic viability of the business are taken into consideration.
  • FS6 is looking for early-stage companies with a proven track record of success.
  • When we review the economic viability of the company or non-profit, we’re looking a strong leader, a creative and innovative solution to a problem present in the current marketplace, key differentiators that set a particular product offering apart, and a strategy that takes into account a deep understanding of systems impact on the circular economy.

The companies will be selected based on the FS6 selection process – with an additional focus on identifying innovations that are making change across the circular economy.

Companies chosen for the program must fulfill the following terms:

  • Engage in all programmatic elements of the cohort program
  • One representative from each company must attend the 3-day cohort intensive in Helsinki
  • All companies and their representatives must uphold the values of Food System 6
  • FS6 is seeking a diverse set of applicants that are solving the many opportunities across the circular production model.
    This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Waste diversion, recycling, or repurposing solutions
    • Sustainable packaging alternatives
    • New materials innovations
    • Regenerative production models



Awards and Benefits

  • FS6 will provide a total of up to $300k in equity-free grants to up to 8 companies of any entity type, formally selected as the Program cohort.
  • Each of the selected companies will receive a one-time Participation Grant of $15k to support their CEO in the Program and 3-day event in Helsinki, Finland.
  • The disbursement of the Participation Grant shall be made in two payments: 50% following the selection and execution of a Program Participation Agreement, and 50% at the conclusion of the Program.

Upon completing the 3-day event in Helsinki, Finland, FS6 will select up to 3 of the companies in this cohort group to receive additional equity-free grants.

Equity Free Grant amounts are as follows:

  • FS6 will select up to 2 companies to each receive an equity-free grant of $50k each.
  • FS6 will select up to 1 company to receive a $100k equity-free grant and one full year of advisory and mentor support.
  • Each companies’ representative must participate in all program sessions to qualify for the grant funding. However, if COVID-related travel restrictions are in place at the time of the in-person event, FS6 will reassess the program format in order to prioritize everyone’s health and safety. Stage II Applicants will be kept up-to-date on any changes that happen during the application process.

Through the generous support of our funding partners, we are able to offer the FS6 Business Accelerator to non-profits at no-charge, while for-profit companies are required to make a 1.5% equity contribution.

  • All participants are asked to cover travel and lodging expenses.
  • For-profit companies that are selected to participate in the 2-year core program will pay 1.5% in equity to FS6 upon acceptance to the accelerator program
  • In addition, thanks to a partnership with investment fund 1st Course Capital, eligible* participants will receive a $25k SAFE note upon successfully completing the initial program.
  • Non-profit organizations are accepted into the program at no cost and are invited to join the FS6 Portfolio at the conclusion after the first year.


How To Apply

To Apply please click here