13 WINNERS, 13 MENTORS
Fostering a sense of community and collaboration is key to this part of the programme. That’s why we worked closely with Impact Hub Amsterdam to match each team with individual mentors who can provide them with additional insight and support. This year, the curated list includes past Challenge winners as well as leading changemakers from relevant industries.
Job Blom is a mentor of Craste, 100% tree-free packaging solutions out of crop residue in synergy with nature. He is a passionate connector and accelerator and has 20+ years of experience empowering sustainable entrepreneurship globally. Leading an international team at Behold Sustainable Venture Group, including the Generous Minds Collective, he offers comprehensive support for sustainable entrepreneurship, innovation, and acceleration to public, private, and civic partners.
Erik Bomas is a mentor of LibreWater, which makes nearly any water drinkable with an Open Source purification device. He is an experienced innovation lead (becoming) investor and startup advisor; he has more than 15 years of experience in innovation at multiple companies. He started his career at the head office of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. At ING, he helped customers reach energy-neutral homes, and now he is looking into sustainable innovation at ABN Amro.
Lori is the mentor of MUJO, a biomaterial innovation company developing seaweed-based packaging materials for impermanence, envisioning a future where packaging materials. She founded Outlander Materials and tackles resource waste with biotechnology expertise. Recognised as Inspiring Fifty Benelux Top 50 Women in Deep Tech and Hello Tomorrow’s Deep Tech Pioneers, she aims to bridge communication and funding gaps in biotech and material science. Lori actively supports female leadership in tech as a member and sponsor of Female Ventures Rotterdam, CleanTech Female Founders, and The Climate Tech Foundation.
Gladys is the mentor of Coolbricks, a 100% natural earthen, cow-dung bio-stabilised bricks providing affordable, safer, healthier housing solutions to low-income families. She is a Sustainability Expert and Economist with over ten years of experience working with African businesses and organisations. Her extensive expertise offers valuable insights into sustainable strategies to SMEs and investors. She focuses on integrating environmental, social, and governance factors for positive impact and improved financial performance.
Jorn Eiting van Liempt
Jorn Eiting van Liempt is a mentor of Balena, the first durable, flexible, and comfortable biodegradable plastics. He is a seasoned digital entrepreneur and “creator” who combines IT technical skills with marketing expertise. As a Senior Business Developer Digital at ROM InWest, he dedicates his career to transformative and innovative platforms. With extensive experience, Jorn actively shares insights and takes on roles focused on positive change.
Puck Middelkoop is a mentor of Alterist Marketplace, an online platform that unites a community of upcycle designers using creativity to drive change. She is the founder of Hulaaloop, kid clothes rental service. She worked for Circle Economy in the textiles department and has served the Ministry of Water Management and Infrastructure as a transition manager focused on circular textiles. She has supported students as a startup mentor at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
Gülin Ölçer is a mentor of Nivogo; the company aims to extend the life of products taken from users and brand partners and brings them back into the circular economy. She focuses on driving impact in the climate domain, specifically in venture capital and climate technology integrations. With a Master’s in Innovation and Management, she explores web3 and DAOs to advance climate action. As the founder of Istanbul’s first circular design studio, she supports startups in reducing carbon emissions and promoting a circular economy.
Daphne Pit is a mentor of Saathi, an initiative addressing the lack of access to menstrual products in a sustainable way by providing biodegradable sanitary pads to urban and rural women/girls. Daphne, the founder of Pit Pure Power Sustainability, accelerates the transition to a sustainable planet, society, and economy. With a focus on making sustainability mainstream and achieving global energy access, she supports social enterprises and sustainable startups. Daphne also assists investors in finding sustainable enterprises ready for investment.
Bert van Son
Bert van Son is a mentor of Resortecs, an award-winning start-up that develops solutions for textile disassembly and recycling. He founded Mud Jeans, the world’s first circular jeans company. His innovative approach has garnered prestigious awards like Koning Willem 1 Plaquette and Best for the World B-Corp title. Recognised as the Circular Hero of the Year by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
Lawrence Thiga is a mentor of Rethread Africa, a world where textiles work harmoniously with nature—using fashion as a force for climate action. Lawrence, an entrepreneurship developer and expert in Green enterprise, empowers through training and mentorship. As a global trainer for Climatelaunchpad, the world’s largest green enterprise competition, he leads business mentorship and coaching in Africa. Lawrence aims to empower startups and small enterprises, helping them grow and expand their impact. With eight years of entrepreneurship training and certification, he is a certified business mentor in Kenya.
Wouter Valkenier is a mentor of Guiding the Runoff, transforming the outskirts of Tijuana into a vibrant public space. He is an architect and project booster and leads Studio Valkenier, a multidisciplinary design firm focused on urban, architectural, and interior design. Their projects prioritise expanding building lifespans and reducing ecological footprints. With core values of circularity, social impact, co-creation, and non-toxic design, Studio Valkenier embraces collaboration and the beauty of imperfections in its designs.
Sander Vester is a mentor of Balena, the first durable, flexible, and comfortable biodegradable plastic. He is an experienced business advisor specialising in collaborations, negotiations, conflict management, and strategy. He has worked with government and private enterprises for over 15 years as a strategy consultant at Accenture. He has represented the Amsterdam Municipal Executive Board as a shareholder in organisations such as Nuon, Schiphol, RAI, Alliander, and more.
Marije Vogelzang mentors Landless Food, Regeneration of extinct flavour families via microalgae. Marije Vogelzang, a visionary designer and food pioneer, captivates international stages with her creativity and philosophy. As the former head of the “Food Non-Food Department” at Design Academy Eindhoven for eight years, she transforms our relationship with food. Her latest book, “Lick It: Challenge the Way We Experience Food,” invites readers on a thought-provoking journey to question norms and conventions.
Wieke van der Zouwen
Wieke van der Zouwen is a mentor of Apidae, a system of objects for breeding Meliponini bees that seeks to function as a circular interspecies collaboration. She is dedicated to building public-private coalitions for a circular economy. Wieke has been involved in numerous projects, including making the world’s first Impact Ecosystems Network for the City of Amsterdam. She also collaborated with organisations like B Corp and Economy for the Common Good.