Circular Challenge

10 reasons to join our Circular Challenge – written by alumni

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Are you a young person and dreaming of becoming part of a team that really does something to make the circular economy a reality? With the Circular Challenge, young professionals develop a circular business case in 6 weeks, based on waste streams that participating organizations contribute. Three entrepreneurs from the past Circular Challenge share their reasons to partake as a young professional/student, and how the experience shaped their circular dreams into action. Veerle Roest (Why Knot), Abbe Hekkert (Blauwe Bagger) and Inez van Erp (ComPeat) summarize the 10 best reasons to participate in the Circular Challenge:

  1.  Work on real things
  2.  Meet a great group of co-founders
  3.  Dive into the ecosystem of BlueCity
  4.  Become a circular entrepreneur
  5.  Have fun while changing the world
  6.  Learn a lot about the thresholds towards a circular economy
  7.  Expand your professional network
  8.  Get to know yourself better
  9.  Realise the impossible within six weeks
  10.  Have a kick-start of your circular career!

Veerle Roest – co-founder of Why Knot

“The wastestream we worked with in the Circular Challenge was the Japanese Knotweed plant. Due to the versatility of the Japanese Knotweed we had a lot of possibilities to choose from. This led to various experiments, during which we discovered the qualities of the fibers. We had a lot of fun in the process of turning this wastestream into a nice product and we thoroughly enjoyed the variation of things we could try. One day we were conducting experiments in the lab, another day we were talking to experts from within the circular economy to gain knowledge and inspiration. We were never sitting still because there were always more things to discover.  BlueCity itself is also a huge inspiration to us. There are so many designers, entrepreneurs and researchers who contribute to making The Netherlands circular and more sustainable. We received a lot of tips and inspiration from people working in the labs. We are looking forward to taking our next steps in the development of our material, to help turn this hated plant into a loved product, and save it from the incinerator.”

Abbe Hekkert- co-founder Blauwe Bagger

“Learning by doing and from there making real change for a better world. Thanks to the circular challenge, I was able to work with a team of smart and innovative people to bring the dredging industry within the limits of the planet. Team up with great minds in BlueCity via the Callenge. I recommend this to everyone who wants to become a circular entrepreneur to register!”

Inez van Erp – founder of ComPeat

“BlueCity is a safe space for every enthusiast who wants to participate in global change by circular action. In this hub, passionate people combine their strength forming teams with various backgrounds ranging from economy, design, or ecology like myself. The supporters of the circular challenge had an unconditional trust in the talents of the participates, giving me the freedom to express creativity I didn’t know I had in me. This resulted in Compeat, a circular business creating the first truly sustainable potting soil. I really felt at home here during the Challenge, and I now feel supported by the entrepreneurs that are helping me develop Compeat from concept to actual scalable business.
The combination of getting a residual stream from a company to work with – a real – life challenge that costs these companies a lot of money to get rid of – ánd the complete freedom to create a circular solution is super motivating. I encourage everyone who wants to make a change as circular entrepreneur, or want to get experience in circular entrepreneurship: join the Challenge!


Excited about partcipating in the Circular Challenge? Students and young professionals can contact Rik Winsemius via or 0631688761‍ to sign up!