Hamburg's Lignopure wins KfW award for founders

Trio of founders present sustainable business idea
10 November 2021
Lignopure Team

The Hamburg-based start-up Lignopure has won this year's "KfW Award Gründen" which was presented at a prize ceremony in late October. As the state winner, Lignopure received EUR 1,000 in prize money. Founded in 2019 at the Technical University of Hamburg, the company develops powder from the natural raw material lignin as an alternative to plastic. Companies in the cosmetics, food and textile industries are its main customers. Lignopure also won the Future Hamburg Award, presented by Hamburg Marketing GmbH and Hamburg Invest's Startup-Unit, two years ago.

Protecting the environment and end consumers

Speaking at the award ceremony, Joana Gil, Managing Director of Lignopure, said: "We are delighted that the KfW Award Gründen has noted our objective and honoured us with a prize. We want to provide sustainable, multifunctional and bio-based ingredients for better and healthier products. We protect the environment as well as the end consumer, for whom many traditional ingredients are also harmful."

Start-up's winning, sustainable business idea

Lignin is a complex organic polymer found in the cell walls of many plants, making them rigid and woody. It is a by-product of biorefineries and the paper and pulp industry. Until now, the raw material has mostly been burned despite its valuable properties. Gil, Daniela Arango and Wienke Reynolds have developed a patented technology to process the industrial by-product for use in everyday products. Harmful fossil-based plastics such as plastic microbeads are replaced with lignin products.

Lignopure nominated for audience award

The "KfW Award Gründen" has been presented since 1998. A jury consisting of representatives of KfW, promotional institutions, commerce, politics and the media selects the winners. One company from each federal state wins a prize. Lignopure has also qualified for the public vote and stands to win a cash prize of EUR 5,000. Votes can be cast online until November 15, 2021