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For more than 45 years we have been pioneers in promoting sustainability in the textile industry. Every day we prove that there is another way: fair, ecological and fashionable!

We are all the more pleased that our own sustainability prize, the Innovations for Tomorrow Award by hessnatur, will be held for the second time this year and will be dedicated to a particularly important topic: Female Founders * .


We too started out as a start-up. To this day we create clothes from natural materials. We are constantly developing new standards for sustainability and thus inspire the entire fashion industry. We take responsibility - not only for nature and our planet, but also for the people who make the fashion. We set new standards and prove every day anew: Fashion can and must be sustainable.
Our award for innovation, sustainability and future Our award for innovation, sustainability and future

Your ideas for more tomorrow.

Already knew? Only every fifth start-up is founded by women*. With our Innovations for Tomorrow Award by hessnatur we would like to support young companies and start-ups that were founded by women and that provide sustainable, innovative and visionary solutions for the challenges of the textile industry of today and tomorrow.

Because we are convinced: together we can achieve even more. With our award we honor your ideas FOR MORE TOMORROW.

That's why we are looking for you: Female (co-)founded green & social start-ups for a sustainable fashion industry with a positive impact.

People and creative minds who dare to try something new and go bold.

  • Which ensure more innovations and further thinking in the value chain.
  • Who are not satisfied with the status quo.
  • Who want to change the fashion industry in the long term.
  • Who work meaningfully and with purpose.
  • Who have a positive impact and want to expand it.

Who should apply?

You are (co-)founders and stand for more tomorrow? Do you want to change something? Contribute your big ideas for a better future? You stand for more fairness and responsibility in the fashion industry, for more sensitivity in dealing with resources, for more transparency, data and green technology, for more circular economy, for more biodiversity, for new impact measurements & methods and more positive impact? Then you are exactly right here!

Are you in the ideation or market entry phase? Great. We support you in all phases of your company development.

Our selection criteria:

  • innovation potential
  • economics
  • market potential
  • Your impact on topics such as circular economy, water, environment, biodiversity, human rights, working conditions, land use, climate, etc.

What to expect What to expect

What to expect

  • With our award you can document your top position in the areas of sustainability and female founders and place yourself as a pioneer
  • The big stage of the Greentech Festival - the largest event for green and innovative technologies worldwide. Here, five pre-selected start-ups present themselves and their ideas to our jury and the public.
  • Our three winners receive individual coaching from DigitalValley®, the digital innovation ecosystem for Europe
  • Prize money for the three winners.
  • Access to an excellent network of experts.
  • The chance to implement your innovative ideas together with hessnatur and our partners.



Our jury. Our jury.


Our jurors are the brightest minds from the fields of sustainability, social business, venture capital, fashion, medium-sized tech companies, trade press and content creation. Look forward to the exchange and benefit from their in-depth knowledge!

  • Andrea Homann (Co-CEO hessnatur)
  • Diana zur Löwen (Content Creator, Founder Melationship & Rawr Ventures and Business Angel)
  • Ina Budde (Co-Founder & CEO
  • Catherine Wolff (Editor & Publisher Strive)
  • Kristin Heckmann-Kipouros (Chief Sustainability Impact Officer hessnatur)
  • Nina Puetz (CEO Ratepay)
  • Saskia Bruysten (Co-Founder & Executive Co-Chair at Yunus Social Business)
  • Tina Dreimann (Founder better ventures)

The moderation will be provided by Larissa Holzki , technology reporter and expert on the most important trends and developments in the European start-up scene.

Saskia Bruysten
“We all know that fashion can and must be sustainable. And together we can achieve that. But that also means that we need more female founders. Female founders are also an extremely important topic for me and I am pleased that the IFTA by hessnatur starts right here."
Ina Budde
“As a founder, I am passionate about fostering innovation and business models that can create truly lasting change. So I think it's important to run an organization with the right values, which I've observed are very often lived out in great ways by female founders - we need more of these!"
Tina Dreimann
“The innovative startups of today create our economy of tomorrow! Together we are leading Europe into the future - into a world in which profitability and sustainability go hand in hand. Thank you hessnatur for being a role model and accelerator.”
Kristin Heckmann-Kipouros
“Our award is an affair of the heart for me. We reward green and social start-ups that turn ideas into solutions. people who go ahead. This year with the important focus on Female Founders, because we need more female founders who dare to try new things and take courageous paths.”
Andrea Homann
"As one of the leading fair fashion providers, we have been committed to the topic of sustainability without ifs or buts for over 45 years - that is our DNA. With our award we want to support start-ups that use their innovations to continue the change into the future carry."
Diana to the lion
“I think it is important to support young founders who want to improve the fashion world sustainably and in the long term. For me, hessnatur is a pioneer in this segment and I look forward to discovering new talent with them.”
Nina Puetz
"The IFTA by hessnatur manages to bring together companies with sustainable visions and proves that we can achieve more together."
Catherine Wolff
“An award that focuses on the topic of sustainability is of course worthy of support. When it comes to the Female Founders Edition of the award, STRIVE must not be missing!”
Timeline and award ceremony.

  • The application phase runs until May 7th, 2023.
  • The review is then carried out by hessnatur, DigitalValley® and our jury.
  • We will contact and announce the five finalists in May 2023 .
  • On June 16, 2023, the big stage of the Greentech Festival in Berlin is waiting for you! The five finalists pitch their ideas here and our jurors choose the three winners of the Innovations for Tomorrow Award by hessnatur - Female Founders Edition.


The services are provided to the award winners free of charge.

The award is at the sole discretion of hessnatur. There is no legal right to receive the prize at any time. If no application meets hessnatur's criteria, no prize will be awarded.

Note on the confidentiality of the information submitted: hessnatur will treat the information for its own evaluation purposes with care and implement all technical and organizational measures to protect the information. A formal non-disclosure agreement (NDA) cannot be granted upon submission. Therefore, please only pass on information that does not require such a declaration of confidentiality.

German law applies.

* For better readability, the generic feminine is used here. The personal designations used refer to all FLINTA (women, lesbians, inter, non-binary, trans and agender).


The nominees The nominees

The winners.

It was an exciting and extremely close final. All five Impact Startups were great! But our jury made its decision and the three winners have been determined. We are very happy with:

The three start-ups receive prize money and a start-up grant from the Impact Factory. They also have the chance to implement their innovative ideas with us

Thank you - we look forward to next year.

We would like to thank everyone who supported our project and made it possible.

  • THANK YOU to our three amazing partners: GREENTECH FESTIVAL , Impact Factory , DigitalValley ®
  • our wonderful jury
  • our great moderator Nina Eichinger
  • the numerous start-ups that have applied
  • all hessnatur employees. It wouldn't have been possible without you!

The nominees The nominees

The finalists.

Five impact start-ups completely convinced our jury. They are coming with us to Berlin to pitch their innovative ideas on the big stage of the Greentech Festival on June 24, 2022.

Also nominated were:
BEAWEAR is a fashion tech solution that eliminates the misfit problem and drastically reduces online returns, costs and waste. We make precise clothing size recommendations and create digital twins with virtual try-on.
EEDEN develops the most efficient chemical upcycling process for used textiles. With us, old clothes can be turned into new, high-quality textiles. In this way, the limited resources of our planet are protected.
LOVR is a 100% plant-based alternative to leather, made from hemp residues. We work with partners from the textile, furniture and automotive industries to ensure that LOVR is used as widely as possible.
Made with lovr
Repair Rebels
Repair Rebels is a platform where technology meets traditional craftsmanship - we offer fashion lovers an easy solution to repair their clothes and shoes. Our goal is to use a digital concept to draw particular attention to local solutions and thus to digitize the analogue market for fashion repairs, which is still highly fragmented today.
Repair Rebels
retraced is a sustainability management platform that connects fashion and textile companies with all those involved in their supply chains on a single digital platform, thus ensuring efficient data exchange and transparency right down to the raw material. This is driving the sustainable change in the fashion industry.
The award ceremony on June 24, 2022 in Berlin.
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