Start Up Energy Transition Award 2020

The premier global platform promoting innovation in energy transition & climate.


Jan 15, 2020
Feb 15 - Mar 31
German Energy Agency Competition Organizer
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Berlin, Germany
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Réunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, United Republic of, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Agribusiness, Clean technology, Construction, Import and export, Manufacturing, Renewable energy, Transport and logistics, Utilities, Waste management and recycling, Water, sanitation and hygiene

Start Up Energy Transition (SET) is a leading international platform supporting innovation in energy transition. SET is implemented with the conviction that sustainable energy solutions and mitigating climate change is directly linked to a bridge between inventive business models and political will.

The SET platform is comprised of the annual SET Award, SET Tech Festival and a global network of innovators. The SET Award is an international competition for start-ups and young companies worldwide who are working on ideas affecting global energy transition and climate change. Start-ups fighting against climate change will get the chance to submit their brilliant ideas and projects in five different categories until January 15th, 2020.


Renewable Energies & Materials

energyIn light of the move away from fossil-based energy sources, combined with the ever-growing increase of renewable energy sources, energy systems are changing shape and evolving into much more intricate systems than ever before. While renewable energy resources may be abundant in some areas, the required technology mix or supporting infrastructure may be lacking. How can we move faster and further away from conventional emission intensive forms of energy production in a sustainable way? What technologies, business models, applications, and other innovative approaches to energy production are out there? This category seeks to identify innovation in energy generation and storage, in alternative fuels and energy carriers and of course, ‘Power-to-X’.

Digital Energy Systems

Digitalisation, the ‘Internet of Things’ and the era of smart devices have all vastly changed and improved the way in which we receive, utilise and share information. The dissemination of information and decentralization of energy systems has the potential to empower and enable citizens globally. Grid management systems, smart platforms, virtual powerplants, the application of big-data, artificial intelligence and machine learning are key technologies that will continue to support the energy systems of the future. This category looks for innovation on the digital spectrum. From micro, mini, local, or system wide application, digital innovation will be a key driver for the successful transition.

Energy Efficiency Solutions

We want to see which ideas can help us do more with less. Energy efficiency and using energy responsibly are fundamental to the successful energy transition. This is becoming ever-more urgent with growing cities, populations & energy demand coupled with more extreme temperatures and weather conditions. How can we use the valuable energy resources that we have in a more meaningful and sustainable way? Which ideas aide industries, buildings and households to track, manage, reduce or adapt their energy consumption? We are searching for smarter appliances, applications, materials, substitutes and behaviour-changing innovations that help promote and improve energy use.

Smart Mobility

While decarbonising the transport sector is no easy task – there is no shortage of real and effective solutions. More and more cities are implementing policies that aim at reducing pollution and GHG-emissions, meaning that the era of smart mobility is not far off. The uptake of electric vehicles, innovative sharing platforms, and the advancement of alternative modes of transport will all help mobility become more accessible and affordable, while also reducing the impact on the environment and climate. Creative approaches to infrastructure, public planning, logistics, user behaviours, vehicles and other modes of transport are key to a well-functioning & sustainable mobility sector of tomorrow.

Special Prize: Quality Access & SDG-7

To achieve a global energy transition, we cannot ignore the matter of energy poverty. UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 is all about “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. While action is needed from the side of policymakers to maintain the Energy Trilemma balance, the entrepreneurial community has a role to play in ensuring access to energy for all – in a sustainable way. Which start-ups are able to provide sustainable solutions for energy, use less, and mitigate competition between key resources such as the energy, water and food agendas? We are looking for start-ups that have the potential to make the biggest dent in ensuring access to affordable energy for all, in an equitable way. We are looking for diverse solutions for technology, financing, awareness & capacity building, that can reach far and wide, have a very clear social drive and most of all, will make a large impact.

Perks & Prizes

No matter how far you go into the SET process, there is always a value-added for your start-up. Many of our start-ups have gone on to gain new investors, mentors and customers, received invitations to energy events around the world and won even more awards and recognition for their inspiring work.

For all Participants: join the global platform of innovation leaders; see your views represented in the Energy Innovators Issues Monitor; Inform and influence policies that will boost innovation.

For the #SET100 2020: the Top 100-ranked applicants will be featured in our annual publication which is circulated to investors, corporates and political stakeholders across the globe. The Top 100 also receive a free ticket to the SET Tech Festival 2020.

For all Finalists: return-flight to Berlin, and accommodation for 2 representatives of the start-up to attend the Tech Festival; Pitch coaching; Meet-and-greet with high-level jury, Individual booth at Tech Festival; Live pitches at Tech Festival; Investor-matchmaking; Tickets to the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD); Content creation: interviews and branding in all communication material.

Winners of each category: up to 10.000 Euros prize money; Participation on the winners’ panel at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD); Profile of start-up celebrated across the World Energy Council’ s global energy network in 99 countries. In addition, start-ups will have the opportunity to attend the World Energy Leaders’ Summits.

Participation Criteria

Applicants may only apply to one category. All subsequent applications to other categories will be disqualified. This also applies to the Special Prize: Quality Access & SDG-7.

  1. The start-up must not have been founded longer than ten years ago. In other words, the date of foundation cannot exceed 2009.
  2. The application, including any attached documents, must be in English.
  3. The start-up must be able to present a functioning prototype. In addition, the company must be registered or be in the process of becoming registered and the applicant must be able to present a proof of concept or a client, and/or an industrial/corporate/institutional partner.
  4. The applicant must fill out the entire form. Partially completed applications will not be accepted.

The application portal will close Jan 15th, 2020 11:59pm (GMT-10)

Selection Process & Timeline

September 30th, 2019 – January 15th, 2020: Application phase

January 15th – mid-February, 2020: Analysts of our partner EarlyMetrics, to rank and evaluate applications; high-level jury evaluations

Mid-February, 2020: Top 15 announced and invited to Berlin; SET 100 announced

Week of March 24th, 2020: pitch coaching, high-level jury meeting & finalist pitching in Berlin at Tech Festival. Announcement of winners at BETD-hosted Award Ceremony

Start Up Energy Transition Award 2020

Start Up Energy Transition Award 2020