The Zurich-based innovation promoter SEIF has presented Oxara, also from Zurich, with the SEIF Award 2020. In this business plan competition, start-ups offering particularly innovative business concepts aimed at tackling current social and ecological challenges are supported. The focus here was on high-impact technological solutions, as was the case in the previous year. The jury selected the winners from a recornd number of nearly 400 applicants from a total of 30 different countries, according to information in a press release.
Oxara is seeking to change the future of the construction industry and has developed a sustainable, affordable alternative to cement. Instead of depositing building waste in landfill sites, construction companies can recycle old construction materials to produce new ones on site using the technology developed by Oxara. The Jury’s reasoning in naming Oxara as a winner was as follows: “With their solution, Oxara speaks to the needs of an industry, the environment and local communities”. This could lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, lower building costs and may therefore produce benefits for cities and communities. The spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) has already won several awards and has been receiving a support grant from the EU since January 2020.
Among the four other winners, Green-Y from Hasle bei Burgdorf BE impressed the audience during the award ceremony with its innovative energy storage solution, the jury explained. This efficient, cost-effective system combines electricity, heat and cold in a decentralized device and makes these available when and where they are needed. The solution developed by DePoly from Sitten processes PET plastic waste and other materials that current recycling systems are unable to cope with.
As the Founder of SEIF, Mariana Christen Jakob, underlines, “the SEIF Awards have been established as a quality label in the impact ecosystem over the past ten years and the ten finalists can be very proud to have stood their ground in this great impact start-up competition”.
With a focus on Tech for Impact, SEIF offers targeted support to impact-focused companies to help them grow, improve their performance and scale their impact. SEIF is the only organization in Switzerland certified to carry out Innosuisse training programs for social entrepreneurs in conjunction with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).