New business competition puts environment-focused entrepreneurs in front of like-minded investors – EIN News

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Department of Ecology News Release – Oct. 10, 2022
Sixteen Washington-based businesses will receive business planning, networking, and pitch development support, along with technical training over the next few months as they prepare for NextCycle Washington’s inaugural cohort pitch competition in February 2023. Hosted by King County Solid Waste Division and the Washington departments of Commerce and Ecology, the competition will shine a light on environmental ventures that are primarily women and minority owned, and whose projects would expand the state’s circular economy.
The statewide cohort competition will put entrepreneurs focused on sustainability in front of potential investors who are interested in funding established business ideas through NextCycle Washington’s Circular Accelerator Tracks. 
The 2022 program’s two tracks include “Upstream,” which is focused on preventing waste or improving reuse and repair of materials; and “Downstream,” which is focused on improving, innovating, or expanding recycling, organics recovery, and material end uses.
“We are excited about NextCycle Washington’s first cohort, representing women-led and minority organizations,” said Pat McLaughlin, King Could Solid Waste Division Director. “This is the intention of this state-wide initiative, to create a more equitable investment landscape for all Washingtonians.”  
The NextCycle Washington teams that have been selected for the 2022-2023 cohort include the following:
The teams were chosen from an application pool of 26 by the Track Governance Circle, a diverse group of external subject matter experts and people with lived experience from industry, local governments, and communities to provide oversight and guidance to the program. They were selected based on concept feasibility, value to Washington’s circular economy, project team qualifications, as well as environmental, social and economic impacts. 
Over the next six months, the NextCycle Washington teams will work closely with experienced mentors, consultants, and subject matter experts to improve and refine business models and project plans. Programming will conclude with a pitch competition in which the teams will demonstrate their shovel ready projects to a live audience. 
NextCycle Washington is currently accepting applications through November 16, 2022, for the Renew Seed Grants. Selected projects will receive up to $10,000 to develop early-stage projects focused on the reduction of waste or reuse, repair, or recycling of materials in Washington.  The program plans to have a 2nd accelerator cohort in 2023.
NextCycle Washington is a state-wide initiative of King County Solid Waste Division, Washington departments of Commerce and Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities, and the Washington Recycling Development Center.
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