Munich — Unter­neh­mer­TUM, Europe’s largest center for inno­va­tion and start-ups, is laun­ching CIRCULAR REPUBLIC, a unique combi­na­tion of forces in the field of Circu­lar Economy. True sustaina­bi­lity and thus climate neutra­lity can only be achie­ved if we succeed in massi­vely redu­cing resource consump­tion and rethin­king estab­lis­hed proces­ses. This enor­mous chal­lenge offers both compa­nies and start-ups immense busi­ness poten­tial and a wide range of oppor­tu­nities for inno­va­tive busi­ness models. They can be crucial in making Europe more resi­li­ent by making it less depen­dent on global supply chains in the long term.

Climate and energy crisis, popu­la­tion growth, species extinc­tion, fragile supply chains and incre­a­sing resource scar­city: Circu­lar Economy is a key to solving exis­ten­tial crises. In line with the vision of a sustainable and people-cente­red future for Germany and Europe, Unter­neh­mer­TUM aims to create a central plat­form for the bund­ling and active shaping of such ideas in Munich. Circu­lar economy is unders­tood as a rege­ne­ra­tive econo­mic system in which resour­ces are kept in cycles and whose goal is to deco­u­ple value crea­tion from resource consump­tion.

Circu­la­rity works best in the ecosys­tem

CIRCULAR REPUBLIC supports compa­nies and start-ups in further deve­lo­ping their inno­va­tions and ideas for the Circu­lar Economy in line with market requi­re­ments and trans­forming them into concrete busi­ness models. In addi­tion, the initia­tive networks compa­nies and start-ups with rele­vant play­ers from science, busi­ness and the venture capi­tal indus­try. In this context, the inno­va­tion ecosys­tem of Unter­neh­mer­TUM plays a crucial role: The initia­tive speci­fi­cally offers access to the latest rese­arch findings from the field of Circu­lar Economy at Tech­ni­sche Univer­si­tät München and itself provi­des advice on entre­pre­neu­rial issues and chal­len­ges. A central service also consists of directly networ­king compa­nies and start-ups in so-called “multi-stake­hol­der projects” and acting as a joint plat­form for the exchange of know­ledge and expe­ri­ence. Ideally, the projects deve­lo­ped will then find their way into concrete application.

The initia­tive was laun­ched with foun­ding part­ner BMW AG. The first part­ner compa­nies include SAP, PreZero and Tengel­mann.

Inter­di­sci­pli­nary foun­ding trio

To be able to fully address the field of Circu­lar Economy, you need diverse perspec­ti­ves and a team with very diffe­rent back­grounds. The foun­ding team of the initia­tive inclu­des Dr. Susanne Kadner, Dr. Matthias Ball­weg and Niclas Mauß (Photo © CIRCULAR REPUBLIC). Kadner previously initia­ted and led the Circu­lar Economy Initia­tive Germany. Before joining CIRCULAR REPUBLIC, Ball­weg was respon­si­ble for SYSTEMIQ’s global Circu­lar Economy acti­vi­ties and Mauß initia­ted and estab­lis­hed Germany’s largest Circu­lar Economy rese­arch network at the Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity of Munich.

Multi-stake­hol­der approach

The first “multi-stake­hol­der project” will focus on the textile indus­try — one of the least circu­lar sectors of all. Start-ups already offer nume­rous partial solu­ti­ons here — such as recy­cling tech­no­lo­gies — but there is a lack of a cross-indus­try solu­tion that is now being jointly deve­lo­ped. Anot­her project will subse­quently revolve around the recy­cling of batte­ries. The findings deve­lo­ped in the initia­tive — for example, on the start-up land­s­cape in the Circu­lar Economy sector — will also be shared with the public. A specially initia­ted festi­val will take place in Munich from Novem­ber 15–18, 2023, and aims to bring toge­ther outstan­ding play­ers in the circu­lar economy.

Dr. Matthias Ball­weg, Co-Foun­der and Direc­tor of CIRCULAR REPUBLIC, says: “The global deve­lo­p­ments around climate, lack of resour­ces or supply shor­ta­ges, as well as the accom­pany­ing regu­la­tory conse­quen­ces show: In the 30s of this century, there will no longer be a success­ful busi­ness model based on the explo­ita­tion of primary raw mate­ri­als. The Circu­lar Economy will be the key to solving the climate crisis and at the same time the driving force for inno­va­tion and prospe­rity in Europe. The large number of star­tups working on the topic of the Circu­lar Economy — we have iden­ti­fied almost 400 of them in Germany alone — is anot­her indi­ca­tor that this is where the future lies.“


The Circu­lar Economy is the basis for a prospe­rous, resi­li­ent and sustainable economy. As part of Unter­neh­mer­TUM, Europe’s largest center for inno­va­tion and startup, CIRCULAR REPUBLIC empowers compa­nies and star­tups to realize circu­lar economy inno­va­tions and deve­lop new busi­ness models. As a plat­form, the initia­tive networks rele­vant actors and thus aims to set system-chan­ging impul­ses along the entire value chain.

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