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Our services | Join an accelerator program | Green at Heart – Build an even more impactful SME

Green at Heart

Does your impact company have a social mission? Let us help you close all the loops by building a business that is environmentally as well as socially sound, well-governed, and circular. Through state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, expert guidance, and financial support, we empower you to integrate all aspects of sustainability into the heart of your business and prepare you for incoming ESG reporting regulations like CSRD in a low-effort, high-impact way.

IN SHORT

Green at Heart helps socially-focused SMEs in the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain to develop a roadmap towards all aspects of sustainability – starting with insight into your current practices. The end goal: preparing you for incoming ESG reporting regulations, and empowering you to build a business that is impactful not only on the human front, but also when it comes to the environment, circularity, and how the company is governed. Once you have completed diagnostics, expert advice will help you devise a plan of action. The 60 companies with the most promising plans will receive some funding to implement their plan. Taking part in Green at Heart is entirely free of charge and the time investment is small. For full details, see the timeline section below.

 

Format

PHASE 1: All companies that meet the criteria receive access to the ESG tool and three guiding webinars. Up to 30 manufacturing companies also receive access to a circularity assessment tool with one guiding webinar and one 1on1 results session.

PHASE 2: All participants of phase 1 may submit a sustainability action plan built on their results. In October, up to 60 selected SMEs will each receive a grant of up to EUR 8.000 to put their plan into action.

PHASE 3: 15 selected entrepreneurs will be invited to attend an entrepreneurial bootcamp in Vienna.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Green at Heart is for small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that:

  1. Are part of the social economy [↗] and ideally put people first
  2. Are registered in the Netherlands, Austria, and/or Spain
  3. Possess at least one year of operational data
  4. Employ between 1 and 249 employees, excluding founders and any volunteers
  5. (Plan to) receive at least 50% of revenue from commercial activities
  6. Are looking to get insight into their current sustainability status to prepare for more impact and upcoming (EU) regulations on ESG reporting
  7. Are motivated to engrain all aspects of sustainability, including circularity if relevant, into their business

WHAT YOU GET

  • Access to a compact online ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) tool
  • Expert online guidance on how to take sustainable action
  • For a selection of manufacturing SMEs: access to an online circularity assessment tool with tailored advice
  • For 60 selected SMEs: funding to put your plan into action
  • For 15 selected SMEs: an entrepreneurial bootcamp in Vienna in the spring of 2025
  • A baseline for complying with new EU sustainability legislation (such as CSRD, CSDDD, EFRAG and Directive 2014/95/EU) affecting SMEs with corporate customers now and all other SMEs from 2025
  • Insight into your SME’s operations and impact potential (including stakeholder and double materiality analysis)
  • A clear pathway towards full-scale sustainability to gain a competitive edge!

Unsure why you should invest in sustainability? Read more here >

Timeline

1. Applications open
UNTIL 30 APRIL
Time investment: <10 minutes
Sign up now
JUNE-SEPTEMBER '24
Time investment: 1 day per tool (incl. guidance webinars) + the time you need to gather data.
2. Online access to diagnostic
tools & expert guidance
JUNE-SEPTEMBER '24
Time investment: 1 day per tool (incl. guidance webinars) + the time you need to gather data.
3. Open call
for funding
AUGUST-OCTOBER '24
Time investment: the time you need to write a great action plan that deserves funding!
OCTOBER '24 - MARCH '25
Receive funding to put towards implementing your action plan!
4. 60 selected SMEs
receive funding
OCTOBER '24 - MARCH '25
Receive funding to put towards implementing your action plan!
5. On-site bootcamp
for 15 selected SMEs
MARCH/APRIL '25
In-person training in Vienna. Details TBD

FAQ

Yes, as long as your organisation receives, or plans to receive, at least 50% of revenue from commercial/market-driven activities.

No. There is an additional circularity assessment tool available for manufacturers, but retailers, service providers, or other non-producing companies are welcome to participate too.

Yes, as long as one of them is the Netherlands, Spain, or Austria. If you are registered in two or more of these countries, select your HQ location.

Information on how your business operates.To be able to fill in the diagnostic tools, your business operations need to have been running for at least a year. That way, most of your processes are in place and you have a sense of who your stakeholders are.

Not for Phase 1. All SMEs that meet the eligibility criteria (see WHO IS THIS FOR?) receive access to the ESG tool and webinars. Up to 30 manufacturing companies also receive access to a circularity assessment tool. In Phase 2, the funding will be awarded to a selection of 60 participants across the three participating countries. A further selection of 15 of these entrepreneurs will be invited to attend the entrepreneurial bootcamp in Vienna in the spring of 2025.

No, your business will need to employ at least one person to take part.

Yes! While our main aim is to help human-focused companies become green as well, the ESG tool is relevant for all SMEs for two reasons. One: all SMEs will need to start reporting their ESG performance soon. Two: the tool may help you improve your Social and Governance performance and you may even get recommendations for Environmental improvement that you hadn’t thought about.

A social enterprise combines entrepreneurial activity with a social purpose to make a social impact, rather than maximise profit for owners or shareholders. 

In principle, all such enterprises are eligible for Green at Heart. Within this group, however, we mainly want to help companies with a human focus, as they often lag behind on Environmental sustainability. Businesses providing social services and/or goods and services to vulnerable people are examples of such social enterprises. Read more on the website of the European Commission [↗].

The Timeline above gives an indication of your time investment per part of the programme. You can take advantage of the ESG tool and webinars in as little as 1 day. Webinars run on a rolling basis and you can fill in the tool in your own time until the end of July. We will make the funding application process as easy as possible within the framework of our EU grant.

Yes!

A selection of 60 participants with the most actionable sustainability plans will receive up to EUR 8,000 each to put towards executing their plan.

While these reporting regulations don’t formally apply to SMEs yet, they will in 2026 and Green at Heart will help you prepare for that in a very easy way. If you are currently supplying to larger organisations, CSRD already applies to your business indirectly. If you don’t supply to larger organisations yet: complying with these regulations makes you a more attractive supplier!

Green at Heart was funded by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). The money is coming from the COSME fund earmarked for greening social economy SMEs and entrepreneurs in the proximity and social economy ecosystem through transnational cooperation. The programme was designed by Impact Hub Amsterdam, Impact Hub Madrid, Impact Hub Vienna, the Impact Hub Network, Amsterdam Impact, and Vienna Ökobusiness.  
Uptraded

 

Funded by the European Union.
Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect
those of the European Union or European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).
Neither the European Union nor EISMEA can be held responsible for them.