Julie Conrad won the Interior Design category for her circular workspace system. She is pictured with Romain Poulles from prize partner ProGroup and minister of the economy Franz Fayot.Photo credit: Luxinnovation. 

The inaugural Circular by Design challenge, organised by Luxinnovation, the ministry of economy and Creative Industries Cluster culminated in a prize giving ceremony that saw five category winners selected out of the 28 projects and ten start-ups that participated in the challenge.

Anna Zahedi-Lamarch founder of Nana and Rose, Julie Conrad founder of CEGO, Marko Klacar founder of Capriole, Filip Westerlund founder of Our Choice Circular Fashion, and Guoda Treciokaite founder of Kombucha Leather won prizes including internship offers, specialised training and access to tools and the resources of top brands.

The challenge, a project that Fayot described as “dear to my heart”, was launched in October last year with ten start-ups undergoing intense training over the course of 12 weeks. Fayot emphasized the urgent need to move away from a linear to a circular economy in order to build a more resilient economy with a competitive foundation for the future. He described design as the logic behind the innovation required to initiate new businesses, raise awareness and “build back better”. According to the minister, complex shifts require systemic changes and simultaneous effort, making the Circular by Design challenge a unique initiative in the move towards greater economic diversification. He also underscored the role of the Luxembourg circular economy strategy as a key policy detailing Luxembourg’s transition pathway and requiring the commitment of public and private stakeholders.

Christian Tock, the ministry’s deputy director general industry, new technologies and research, affirmed the need to move towards a more circular economy based on expected price fluctuations globally, growth in consumption levels, and possible shortages in resources and production quantities. According to the Dutch circularity gap report, the pace of global recycling is far from impressive with a poorer performance observed in 2020 at about 8% compared to 9.1% of recycled materials in 2019. Tock stressed that although consumption levels cannot be reduced immediately, recycling and better storage techniques could be a viable solution.

Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation, said in her closing remarks that the next edition of the challenge will be launched in the autumn of 2021, with a new category for participants in secondary schools and tertiary education institutions. The next edition will also include an international jury and a call for international partner companies.

The full list of participants and winners were:

Fashion design category

Anna Zahedi-Lamarch: founder of Nana and Rose, maternity rental wear - Winner

Sid Mysore: founder of Care Wear, sustainable baby clothes

Guoda Treciokaite: Founder of Kombucha Leather, biobased alternative leather.

Interior Design category

Julie Conrad: Founder of CEGO, circular workspace system – Winner

Product design category

Marko Klacar: Founder of Capriole, sustainable fertilizer from coffee - Winner

Riccardo Daidone: Founder of Your Green Kit, reusable boxes for food deliveries

Adham Al-Sayyad: Founder of MiniCaps, less plastic in mini caps

Mobility category

Filip Westerlund: Founder of Our Choice Circular Fashion, Circular footwear with soles from tires – Winner 

Kiran Nambiar: Founder of Dial a Car Wash, water less car wash with under two 2 litters.

Norbert Palfalvi: Founder of DottedCars, car-roaming platform

Special Prize Category (for the most growth observed)

Guoda Treciokaite: Founder of Kombucha Leather, biobased alternative leather – Winner