"Making the green economy happen" - How green investments can make Stuttgart and the world more sustainable.

The "Green Invest" team wins first place in the "Most Transformative Idea" category at the global Climathon 2020.

The Climathon Award was presented via livestream on 21 January 2021. Challenge sponsors were Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences together with Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH (WRS). Both partners set the task that the team worked on so successfully.

The challenge was great: Which idea has the greatest potential to change the world? The idea of the "Green Invest" team was awarded first place in this category. It explored the question of how citizens can become active participants in regional climate protection projects, even with small financial investments. This was a question posed by the Stuttgart Challange donors. In response, a digital platform called "Green Invest" was developed. Citizens can use it to invest small amounts of money in local climate protection projects. They don't have to look far: the platform itself lists solar and wind energy projects that are looking for financing. Anyone who wants to can thus invest money sensibly and at the same time invest in sustainable, regional projects as well as climate-friendly technology. With partners from Stuttgart, "Green Invest" wants to provide access to green investments everywhere. The "Green Invest" team is made up of seven citizens from all over Germany: They come from Berlin, Heidelberg, Stuttgart and Munich. They are also a very heterogeneous group in terms of professional background and age, who did not know each other before the Climathon 2020, which took place on November 13 and 14, 2020, but participated in the Challenge with enthusiasm and commitment. The way to the highest step of the winners' podium took place in several steps. In the first step, the Green Invest team distinguished itself among a total of 14 teams and reached seventh place. Afterwards, a public vote was taken to determine which projects were eligible for the Climathon Award. In the run-up to the Climathon Award, "Green Invest" team member Klemens Witt had campaigned on social media for the votes of the public. With success: the team came third in this citizen-based voting. First place in this intermediate stage of the award was taken by the "Green Penguin" team from Ljubljana, Slovenia, followed by "Ecopolis" from Pasig, Philippines, in second place. And then the breakthrough: in the final round among these three award winners, a jury decided to award first prize to the "Green Invest" team.

At the award ceremony, David Müller represented the "Green Invest" team. He could hardly believe his team's success: "This is incredible! My team and I are so excited to have won this global award, especially when I think about how it all started: I just wanted to have an interesting weekend and participate in the Climathon, not knowing that it would turn into such a journey. However, this is just the beginning, the real work starts now. We all want to see the first prototype of our platform come to life as soon as possible." The first place award will help them achieve this goal: As award winners, they will be accompanied and supported by the Facebook Sustainable team in the future.

The experts and mentors from the HFT Stuttgart see not only an innovative but also a great economic potential for the Stuttgart region in the developed platform. Prof. Dr. Tobias Popovic researches in the field of "Sustainable Finance & Investment" with a focus on "Financing the Energy Transition & Sustainable Investments". Dr. Dirk Pietruschka heads the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology (zafh.net) at HFT Stuttgart and has contributed his expertise in this area to the project. "The 'Green Invest' platform offers a solution for citizens who want to invest their savings wisely while supporting sustainable, climate-friendly projects in the region," said the HFT researchers. "Many climate-friendly technologies are becoming more and more economically interesting for investors*, but unfortunately there are still too few regional projects. This is where we see a future for 'Green Invest'."

"Green Invest" was mentored and coached by Irina Kohlrautz, Transfer Manager at HFT Stuttgart, Robin Schmücker, from Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH, Dr. Dirk Pietruschka and Prof. Dr. Tobias Popovic, both HFT Stuttgart. "The Climathon was a great experience to bring together expertise from science, business and that of the citizens*," Schmücker and Kohlrautz concluded. In total, more than 6500 committed participants from 145 cities on six continents took part in the Climathon 2020. In a two-day idea sprint, various teams developed climate protection solutions for different challenges. The national Climathon was organized by Impact Hub Germany and, at the international level, by Climate-KIC, Europe's leading initiative for climate innovation.

The participation in the Climathon 2020 was initiated by the WRS as a partner of the transfer project M4_LAB, which is funded by the federal-state initiative Innovative Hochschule.

Publish date: 22. January 2021 By Michaela Leipersberger-Linder ()