In recent years climate change and the importance of immediate measures to tackle the most fundamental issues of our time have reached a new level of awareness among people around the globe. More and more have become concerned about the sustainability of our beautiful planet, big movements arose and are urging governments and corporations for change. The time has come to work together and build a better future for everyone.

An increasing number of corporations is integrating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations into their business conduct. But it is especially the Entrepreneurs and their start-up ventures who often act as the channel through which new and disruptive technologies and approaches reach the market. With their break-through solutions they have an immense impact on our societies and the environment. They find solutions to problems once deemed unsolvable, and show that corporate success and working on a better future for everyone are not mutually exclusive.

Sustainability is playing an increasingly important role, and the number of start-ups who assign their business purpose to the Green Economy or Social Entrepreneurship has been growing for several consecutive years. Survey shows that 21 % of German startups’ products and services make a concrete contribution to environmental and climate protection, and therefore classify as green. While those green startups have a significantly higher rate of female founders than non green startups, and they foster the participation and advancement of their employees at a much greater rate, they face much greater challenges in raising capital. In contrast, expectations for the business climate among green startups are better than their nongreen counterparts, and even much better than in the established industry. Green start-ups are surely no less growth- and profit-oriented, but in addition they create social and ecological impact.

Paradeisa and markta are great examples of bringing local producers and customers together, and therefore avoiding waste, saving transport, storage and packaging, while also enabling fair prices for both sides.

Did you know that chewing gum is made from polymers which are synthetic plastics and they don’t biodegrade? And yes, you guessed it: up to 90% of it is not disposed properly. Alpengummi has developed a new chewing gum concept that is also based on old traditions: A natural chewing gum, whose gum base is extracted from tree resin and beeswax.

With fast fashion adding massive amounts to the environment, endlosfesch came up with the great idea to create Viennas’ first fashion library, renting out unique and high-quality clothing from young local designers. A small membership fee opens the doors to an endless wardrobe full of sustainably sourced fashionable items.

The online platform WISR is matching companies with experienced retirees for project-based work, to preserve their knowledge and to help senior talents find exciting challenges and purposes. And then there is wohnbuddy, a great platform that enables flat-sharing between different generations.

Magdas Hotel opened its doors in 2015, and is Europe’s first hotel run by refugees. Habibi & Hawara is an entirely private and independent incubator for future entrepreneurs, also a social training and integration project for refugees and migrants to equip them with an entrepreneurial tool

Vollpension, an intergenerational coffeehouse, quickly became a fixture in Vienna’s vast coffeehouse scene. Pensioners prepare meals and desserts served by young people in a 60’s-70’s atmosphere. It is a place where generations meet, share stories and life experiences.

Shades tours is creating jobs for homeless people to work as alternative tour guides, giving them an income and an opportunity to combat their homelessness. Their educational tours for the local community explain the multiple shades of homelessness, and present the different institutions that form Vienna’s social net.

There is great optimism among green start-ups: 3 in 4 start-ups are expecting an improvement in their business situation, contrasting the more pessimistic expectations of non green start-ups and the general economy.

From Renewable energy to environmental protection, from circular economy to reduced inequalities, with their innovative ideas and approaches, green start-ups are successfully tackling the whole range of the Sustainable Development Goals. They have a great sense for peoples wishes and needs in regards to more sustainable solutions in their respective niche. They show that entrepreneurial success can be achieved while actively changing the world for the better, and they prove every day that they deserve support, from governments, from decision makers, from asset owners and investors and from everybody that wishes for a better future for everyone.

The Money 4 Change – Impact Awards

To support and bring recognition to best practices, Mercer and Institutional Money have initiated The Money 4 Change – Impact Awards. Presented in four categories, the awards will highlight Asset Owners, Corporates, Entrepreneurs and Collaboration.

Today, we invite Entrepreneurs who already have an increased focus/adjustment to SDGs and/or are making increased investments in the area of Social/Climate Impact and/or take climate risks into account in the decision-making process to apply until April 16, 2021 here.

To be eligible for application Entrepreneurs must have:

As a minimum requirement Entrepreneurs’ business solution must focus on Social or Climate Impact.

In April 2021, a short list of twelve finalists – three per category – will be disclosed. The final winners will be announced at the gala evening during the „Institutional Money Congress“ in Wiesbaden on May 26, 2021.

In addition, the winners are going to present their solutions at the „Impact Days“, an annual community gathering of professionals interested in mainstreaming impact. Held this year in Vienna, 400 professionals working in innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment for impact across Europe are looking at what already works, and what still needs to be done for the transition towards the impact economy.

Find out more about the awards, the jury and the application process here.