Startup Europe Awards

Open call for entrepreneurs to provide innovative solutions to the challenges of water, energy and circular economy

  • The LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 StartUp Europe Awards (LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 SEUA), organized by the Finnova Foundation, in collaboration with Global Omnium and Àguas do Centro Litoral, are now open.
  • The deadline to apply will be open until July 31, 2023.
  • The winner will benefit from a European acceleration ticket, based on personalized mentoring by specialized technicians.

Startups, SMEs and innovative initiatives capable of solving current challenges in the area of water, energy and waste recovery. The LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 project announces the Startups Europe Awards (SEUA), a useful open innovation tool to promote the exchange of experiences, add value to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and help startups to grow and position themselves in the market. The Finnova Foundation – beneficiary of the LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 project – implements through Startup Europe Awards this methodology of the Directorate General for Communication and New Technologies (DG CONNECT), supported by the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission in collaboration with StartUp Europe.

The deadline for submitting nominations is 23h59 CEST on July 31, 2023 and the winners will be announced on September 20 and 21, 2023 in the framework of Greencities and S-Moving at the Malaga Trade Fair and Congress Center (FYCMA).


LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 SEUA wants to locate those ideas, initiatives or projects that offer products, services or methodologies that are committed to innovation in the field of circular economy and sustainability in sectors such as water, energy and waste recovery, responding to the following challenges:

  • Improvement of biogas generation in Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) and their energy improvement. The aim of this challenge is to achieve a first level technology applied to wastewater treatment, which allows saving energy costs, and to look for companies and entrepreneurs that promote biogas generation, improve the efficiency of its production or its subsequent use in services such as fleets of public vehicles with the objectives of circular economy and sustainable mobility as the main axis.
  • Sustainable technology for the valorization of sludge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). This challenge seeks a project or initiative that provides a sustainable technological solution for the treatment and disposal of sewage sludge and its subsequent valorization. Two criteria that will be prioritized is that it must be a sustainable technology capable of transforming the limited use of sludge (typically agricultural applications such as fertilizers) into ways of generating value and profitability (e.g., co-production of biofuel).

The calls are open to SMEs, corporations, start-ups, scale-ups, spin-offs, universities, students and anyone interested in entrepreneurship, who belong to or develop their activity in sectors related to water, energy and circular economy and who can provide innovative solutions to the proposed challenges.


The successful candidate will benefit from a European acceleration ticket, based on:

  1. Mentoring: personalized consultations for projects tailored to each sector and training on European funds through an e-learning platform.

  2. Networking/Lobby: assistance and relationship management within the EU framework and in the creation and management of contact networks, advice on the European legal framework and support for the internationalization of the project.
  3. EU funding: support to convert the awarded ideas or proposals into European projects that can be implemented within the thematic framework of application.

A jury, formed by João Simão, executive director of the Portuguese Water Partnership; Mark Barker, CEO of Wex Global, and Elías Colom, director of Corporate Marketing at Global Omnium, will assess and evaluate the proposals submitted based on their viability, the response to the challenges posed, innovation, internationalization and investment and feasibility of the business model.

To participate in the LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 SEUA you must register at this link:


The awards are part of the LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 pilot demonstration project, financed by the LIFE Program and with a budget of more than 970,000 euros, which generates biogas in sewage treatment plant digesters by mixing putrescible organic waste (slurry, poultry, organic fractions, MSW, horeca, etc.), thus transforming sewage sludge into green energy through technology. The initiative led by Global Omnium, (Spain), in collaboration with the Finnova Foundation (Belgium) and Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal) aims to become the most versatile digestion control tool on the market, achieving environmental and economic benefits through the production of biogas by making optimal use of waste. 

Wastewater Treatment Plants, or WWTPs, are used to remove waste, floating fats and oils, sand and other elements that may be contained in the water, as well as sedimentable materials, both organic and inorganic, and biodegradable organic matter dissolved in the water.


Finnova is the Spanish-Belgian non-profit foundation based in Brussels and Spain, working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the EU. Finnova’s experience in leading communication and dissemination activities of European projects is combined with a solid proven track record in business creation and entrepreneurship support programs, such as accelerators, incubators and events, as well as its commitment to training and employability of young people.


  • Deadline for submission of applications: Monday, July 31, 2023 at 23:59 CEST.
  • Evaluation, deliberation and jury’s decision: Tuesday, August 1, 2023 to Thursday, September 14, 2023 
  • Notification of the selected proposal: Friday, September 15, 2023 internally 
  • Award ceremony to the winning startup: Thursday, September 21, 2023, in person, in the framework of Greencities and S-Moving in FYCMA.

Do you have a project in the circular economy, water or energy sector?

Boost your project or innovative idea!

Apply before July 31, 2023 on the following link: