H&M opens €1m grant for recycling innovations

Five eco-entrepreneurs will win share of funding and access to Stockholm accelerator for ethical fashion focused Global Change Award...

Fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is offering five budding eco-entrepreneurs the chance to win a share of €1m grant funding as it seeks to find innovative new ways to recycle clothes.

Intended to boost the Swedish company’s ethical fashion credentials, the Global Change Award intends to discover new technologies aimed at recycling fibres with “unchanged quality” which will prevent clothes from going to landfill and tackle the predicted shortage of raw materials such as cotton.

Created in partnership with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the competition will award the five winning business ideas with a share of the grant and access to KTH’s innovation accelerator in Stockholm where entrepreneurs will get support and mentoring to develop their ideas further.

The accelerator will also provide access to key players in the fashion industry and offer opportunities for network-building and commercialisation.

H&M has confirmed that it will not take an equity stake or intellectual property rights in the innovations.

The news coincides with the retailer’s upcoming launch of a range of jeans containing recycled cotton, and follows Startups.co.uk’s report on ethical fashion as a hot business opportunity for 2015.

Karl-Johan Persson, H&M CEO, said of the prize: “Ground-breaking, game-changing ideas can come from anywhere, so the challenge is open to anyone.

“Each year the Global Change Award aims to find the truly brave and bold ideas that make change. I’m also eager to see how the fashion industry as a whole will embrace the challenge of closing the fashion loop.”

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