Apply now for Circular Factory

We need more circular factories!


As entrepreneurs in the circular economy, it is our observation that too few circular startups make it to scaleups.’ Sabine Biesheuvel (co-founder BlueCity) and Lindy Hensen (co-founder PeelPioneers & Tekkoo)


The Netherlands aim to have a circular economy by 2050: a waste-free economy that runs – as much as possible – on sustainable and renewable raw materials, in which products and raw materials are reused. This requires scaling the circular ideas we already have and building a new processing industry.


We know from experience that scaling a circular startup is complicated, especially in the phase from prototype at lab-scale towards real production in a demo plant. Circular Factory is the supporting start-to-scale-up program dedicated to this phase, offering specific knowledge and a tailor made ecosystem of partners and experienced entrepreneurs.


And you can now be a part of that, because the applications for Circular Factory 2023 are opened. Are you a startup that’s ready for the next phase? Apply now! If you have additional questions you can join the online info meetings on June 1ste from 09:00 – 10:00 am or June 5th from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Please sign up here. We are ready to answer all your questions and provide more info.

The program

So, what’s in it for you?! Based on our experience as and with circular entrepreneurs, we developed a program that centers on five topics, each essential to building a circular factory:


get your sourcing, logistics, quality control & legal status

from interest to contract and product certification

Plant design
preparing for a fit-for-purpose plant

building the storyline & finding the right financing mix

the right people for the right job

The program consists of the following phases:


1 Scouting & selection

3 months

In this phase, we open the call for potential Circular Factory participants. We search far and wide for startups that are ready to become a scaleup. The applications deadline is on June 20th and on June 28th we invite potential participations to our Selection Day. At June 30th, we will definitively chose which startups will participate in Circular Factory in 2023/2024.

2 Due Dilligence & matchmaking

3 months

In this phase, the program really kicks off. On September 4th, 21th, 27th and October 5th, 12th and 18th, the selected startups will gather with BlueCity and Tekkoo, and dive into feedstock, customers, plant design, finance and team during the Due Diligence Days. Together with experts we determine your needs in terms of expertise and experience and define a roadmap to build your value proposition and business case for investment. This OKR roadmap is the guideline for the rest of the Circular Factory program. We also match you with experts that can help you with these needs in matchmaking sessions.

3 Hands on support, expert sessions & peer to peer learning


In this phase, you’ll receive support related to your roadmap. There will be six expert sessions related to Feedstock, Customer, Plant design, Financial modeling and Team, quarterly personal meetings with BlueCity and Tekkoo related to your OKR roadmap, four site visits to other circular (demo) plants, continuous matchmaking with experts and partner events for networking. All of these are unique opportunities, bringing you closer to the goal of opening your own circular factory.

About You

Startups that want to apply for Circular Factory must meet various requirements: they have make a product from waste or a biomass material, have a viable business plan and seed funding, have completed a successful pilot (and be able to submit the pilot data in our selection interviews) and have a demonstrable interest from the market to produce the product on a commercial scale.  Startups that still have questions about the program or are unsure about participation can join the online meetings  on June 1ste from 09:00 – 10:00 am or June 5th from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. You can sign in here.

You make a product from waste or biomass

You have a feasible business plan and secured seed funding

You have conducted a successful pilot

You receive real interest from customers to buy the product at commercial scale

Follow in these footsteps

In May 2022, Tekkoo and BlueCity selected six startups for the first year of Circular Factory. Out of all the applications, six startups were selected: Bakkersgrondstof, Biophilica, BlueBlocks, Fairm, MaGieCreations and Nature’s Principles. These six startups are now ending their participation of the program, after working towards their ultimate goal: building their own circular factory. You can follow in their footsteps and get one step closer to scaling your startup, by signing up for Circular Factory.





Nature’s Principles




Circular Factory supporter Invest-NL about the future of circular startups in the manufacturing industry: “How can we use circular strategies to create a just and liveable society for all?”

Invest-NL is one of the supporters of the Circular Factory program. In this interview, Maud Hartstra and Guy de Sévaux discuss the importance of scaling up circular startups. “All kinds of developments are underway, which means that many more circular start-ups will be founded in the coming years. Circular Factory is designed for circular startups in the manufacturing industry that want to scale their production by building their first factory; and help them to make this factory circular. In addition to these startups, we also see on a larger scale a new focus of moving production closer to home. More and more manufacturing companies previously located in Asia and Eastern Europe are returning to Western Europe. With the Circular Factory program we want to point out to the entire value chain that making things circular and sustainable requires a different approach and mindset, but also changes in business models and new ways of financing. As far as Invest-NL is concerned, Circular Factory is coming at the right time.”

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From circular startup to circular startup with factory – recap Pitch & Plug Event 2022

On Tuesday 20 September, experts flocked to BlueCity to attend the first Pitch & Plug Event, part of the Circular Factory program by BlueCity and Tekkoo. The six participating startups pitched to the gathered crowd. This time not a shiny success story meant to sell their product, but a raw and real story about the key-issues that are currently holding them back from scaling up. Their vulnerability was rewarded with tailor-made advice. During this networking event, connections were made, feedback was given and plans were rewritten.

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The ups and downs of Fairm’s Due Diligence days

Fairm is one of the participants of Circular Factory. In this honest and open reflection, Marc Postel who is, together with Joost Vette, cofounder of Fairm describes how they have experienced the first part of the program up to September.

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Stichting Ondernemers- belangen Rotterdam supports Circular Factory

Stichting Ondernemersbelangen Rotterdam supports the Circular Factory program by BlueCity and Tekkoo. Last month, Diederik van Dommelen and Jeannette Baljeu of Stichting Ondernemersbelangen Rotterdam and Sabine Biesheuvel of BlueCity signed the contract. In this interview, Diederik van Dommelen and Jeannette Baljeu talk about why Stichting Ondernemersbelangen considers it important to give circular startups the opportunity to scale-up. “The great thing about Circular Factory is that it focuses on the production side of circular entrepreneurship. That combination of entrepreneurship and production fits in seamlessly with the objectives of Stichting Ondernemersbelangen Rotterdam.”

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The Circular Factory participants have been selected

Six circular startups have been selected for the Circular Factory program of BlueCity and Tekkoo: Bakkersgrondstof, Biophilica, BlueBlocks, Fairm, MaGie Creations and Nature’s Principles. In the coming year, these startups will start preparing for their own circular factory.

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Circular Factory launched at SYMBIOSIS symposium

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