Summer is always a particularly exciting period for the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. With the long list of 25 inspiring start-ups now announced, the team is already preparing for the next phase of the competition. On hand to make sure everything goes to plan is project leader, David van der Leij. Here, he takes time out from his busy schedule to discuss his role, how sustainable start-ups have professionalised - and why finalists’ week is his personal highlight of the challenge!

There is a group of people that genuinely enjoys going to places where they don’t know anybody. For them, chatting with new people comes naturally and networking doesn’t feel like working at all. Can’t relate? We advise you to keep reading.

‘We just love making mistakes’ said no start-up, ever. Because let’s be real, it doesn’t feel good. The only positive thing about it, is that we can learn from our mistakes and do better next time. But what if you can learn from mistakes without experiencing them?

The Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge has announced the 25 start-ups that have made it through the first stage of the international competition supporting green entrepreneurs. The start-ups have been chosen by a panel of experts from 1,167 applications from all over the world to be considered for the grand prize of 500,000 euros to develop their sustainable business. Early September the five finalists will be announced. 

In 2017, Rwanda-based EarthEnable scooped the top prize of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. Providers of hygienic, affordable, not to mention beautiful earthen floors, the organisation aims to solve the problem of dirt floors in rural Africa, which have been linked to issues spanning everything from respiratory problems and diarrhea, to malnutrition. An affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to concrete, EarthEnable's floors are quite simply making homes better. We caught up with co-founder and CEO, Gayatri Datar, to discuss how their business model is changing as a result of EarthEnable’s big win.

Jacquelien Bunt is deputy head of the Charities Department at the Dutch Postcode Lottery and she is a member of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge pre-jury for the second year in a row. We talked to her about her background and her role in selecting the nominees of the best ideas from over 1,167 submissions from all around the world.

As any burgeoning start-up will attest, a fantastic product or idea is one thing - but it’s securing investment that can really make or break entrepreneurial success. With a portfolio spanning 65 equity investments and convertible loans, as well as 12 fund investments, DOEN Participaties (Ventures) is the biggest impact investor for sustainable and socially inclusive start-ups in the Netherlands. The investment arm of DOEN Foundation, a key partner of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge, it furthers the Foundation’s core goals.

This year, Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge was delighted to team up with tech and innovation platform, The Next Web. Innovation Program Manager, Gianluca Bellan, took time out from preparing for the company’s calendar highlight, the annual TNW Conference, taking place in Amsterdam 9 -10 May, to discuss how the challenge helps start-ups focus on growth - and why building a network matters.

The DOEN Foundation has been an important partner of Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge since the competition's launch in 2007. DOEN plays an essential role in selecting which start-ups have the potential to really make a difference. Also, the organisation holds and releases prize money to finalists.