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Jun 12 2024
09:02

Goethe Unibator honors start-ups with best sustainable product ideas // Santander Universities provides prize money for SDG Contest

Award-winning sustainable business ideas: Artificial intelligence and innovative products help shape the future 

FRANKFURT. Goethe Unibator, the entrepreneurship center powered by Innovectis, on June 6, 2024, hosted the Goethe SDG Contest’s third award ceremony on Westend Campus. First place in the competition, which centers on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) – went to the HOPES Energy team. Start-up MySympto came in second, while third place went to CERES FieldCheck. 

All told, 28 start-up teams from 19 different universities had applied for the competition. To qualify, each of them had to outline how their project supports the achievement of at least one of the UN’s 17 SDGs. Of these, 12 start-ups were selected for the preliminary round, as part of which the teams joined a boot camp dedicated to working on further developing their project with the support of various experts. The six finalists that qualified were MySympto, CERES FieldCheck, Zenaris, HOPES Energy, GreenFlush and I3DEnergy.

During the final round, each team delivered a five-minute elevator pitch on stage to convince both jury and audience of their start-up idea. Following the presentations, the jury members – Goethe University Vice President Prof. Michael Huth; Dr. Eberhard Schnebel, Head of Business and Financial Ethics at Commerzbank; Impact Investor Dr. Dania Hückmann; and Unibator Director Felipe Macias – assessed and selected the best ideas in consultation with each other.

While the jury debated, Unibator Managing Director Dr. Kirstin Schilling interviewed Alberto Dörr, Head of Santander Universities Germany, about the goals and activities of Santander Universities' extensive support programs for students and startups. In the end, the coveted awards went to the teams of HOPES Energy, MySympto and CERES FieldCheck, who not only received €5,000, €3,000 and €2,000 respectively, but can also look forward to three months' participation in the Unibator Startup Program, giving them valuable contacts and access to investors.

Speaking at the event, Goethe University Vice President Prof. Michael Huth said: “I am happy to see that this year’s SDG competition met with such a positive response and broad enthusiasm. It goes to show how strong a startup culture we have here in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region. It is inspiring to see how the teams are actively addressing the topics of sustainability and innovation and driving forward innovative solutions for the manifold challenges of our time."

The Goethe SDG Contest finalists:

MySympto is developing an AI-powered virtual assistant that supports emergency room doctors in their decision-making with a view towards minimizing misdiagnosis and increasing the efficiency of treatment processes.

Ceres FieldCheck is designed with small farms in developing countries in mind. The team’s swarm robots use artificial intelligence to maximize crop yields by examining plant health and removing harmful weeds, thereby eliminating the need for environmentally harmful chemicals.

Zenaris sets out to combat the social isolation of older people and those in need of care. With its Zenaris portal, the team wants to enable digital participation for a target group that previously had little access to digital services.

HOPES Energy has dedicated itself to one of the biggest challenges of the energy transition: finding an economic and sustainable solution to store electricity on an industrial scale. With an innovative approach based solely on common salt and water, the company is setting new standards in the energy sector.

GreenFlush is a promising initiative that aims to revolutionize toilet hygiene. Its aim is to develop a sustainable alternative to conventional toilet rim blocks and thus make a positive contribution to environmental protection.

I3DEnergy transforms energy data into cost savings and increased sustainability. By using AI and digital twins, the team is revolutionizing energy management. Its vision is to enable sustainable and cost-efficient business.

Unibator is the entrepreneurship center at Goethe University Frankfurt, operated by Innovectis, a wholly-owned university subsidiary. Unibator actively supports all students, academic staff and alumni in the implementation of their start-up projects, and serves as a bridge between science and business. https://goetheunibator.de/

Contact
Felipe Macias, Director of Unibator. Felipe.Macias@innovectis.de 


Editor: Dr. Dirk Frank, Press Officer/ Deputy Press Spokesperson, PR & Communications Office, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Tel.: +49 (0)69/798-13753, frank@pvw.uni-frankfurt.de