• The European capital hosted yesterday the #CirCoAx30 Startup Europe Awards 2022, the first face-to-face awards ceremony organised by Finnova since Covid19 broke out.
  • The Spanish startup makes clothes that do not stain, do not wrinkle, do not absorb odours and are designed to save resources in the long run.
  • Candidates, jury members, representatives of CirCoAX by CircularInooboster partners and experts from the textile sector agreed on the need to mitigate the environmental impact generated by this industry.

The Spanish startup Sepiia, a company that combines fashion and technology through cutting-edge technical fabrics and garments that combine “functionality and design”, has won the #CirCoAX Startup Europe Awards 2022, a tool that will accelerate and scale its textile technology with 100% recycled and circular fibres worldwide. The award was presented yesterday at the #CirCoAX30 Startup Europe Awards 2022, the first awards ceremony organised by Finnova since the outbreak of Covid19, in which ten proposals developed by different associations formed by the candidates of the European project CirCoAX by CircularInnobooster fought to win the StartUp Europe Awards.

Sepiia proposes clothes that do not stain, do not wrinkle, do not absorb odours and are designed to save resources in the long term. A quality that has been taken into account by the jury as it saves carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, and is environmentally friendly. “Sepiia believes that change is possible. Since 2016 we have been researching how to make more sustainable garments that generate fewer emissions, use less water and resources and have a positive impact on the planet,” said Paula Cristóbal, Head Designer & Product Developer at Sepiia, yesterday.

Award ceremony in Brussels

Under the dark blue sky and the moon as a witness, the textile sector shone with its own light during the award ceremony of the CirCoAx30 Startup Europe Awards, an initiative of the European Commission, supported and implemented by the Finnova Foundation in collaboration with StartUp Europe Awards.

With nerves on edge, the candidates arrived in the Da Vinci room, located at Finnova’s headquarters in Brussels, to find out if their idea would be the winner of the StartUp Europe Awards. Proptech House CEO Dirk Paelinck, owner of the building where the gala was held, welcomed all the attendees. Then, Natalia Cediel, Circular Economy Communication Mentor – CirCoAX by CircularInnoBooster and moderator of the event, gave way to the first block of the ceremony, a brief round table on the importance of the circular economy in the European textile sector with the participation of José Francisco García, director of the IED Innovation Lab, Cecilia Nilsson-Bottka, legal and policy officer at DG Grow of the European Commission, and Eleni Magklara, project advisor at EISMEA (European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). “Designers, SMEs, manufacturers and technology providers work together to develop innovative and design-driven business ideas. The project we are celebrating today is an example of this” stressed Eleni Magklara during her speech.

Juanma Revuelta, CEO of Finnova, Paloma García, founder of The Circular Project, Sharam Yalda, founder of Human Nation and David Allo, sustainability director of Texfor, presented the European project CirCoAX by CircularInnooboster, a project belonging to the COSME programme, in which they have been working for the last 8 months providing coaching and mentoring to the 30 transnational associations that make it up.

After this introduction, the representatives of the Jury, Eva Gil, Sales and Marketing Director of Fitlene, Ana Rodes, Senior Sustainability Manager of Recover, Valentina Suarez, General Manager of Universo Mola and Muhammad Fawad Nooir, International Manager of Fashion Profesional, started a round table in which they explained some of the reasons why it is essential to introduce circularity and sustainability in the textile sector. “Sustainability means investing in methods through eco-design and making them circular and investing in innovation with the aim of closing the cycle” said Eva Gil.

Innovative proposals in circular economy

After shedding light on the main problems generated by the textile sector on the environment, the candidates proceeded to present their proposals, innovative solutions that mitigate the negative impacts and eliminate bad practices in this area. Brefashion, GB/VX, DeleiteWear, Fashiongreenhub, Sepiia, Hilaturas Rubio, Infinite Athletic, From the med, Nano Textile Solutions and Newex presented their inspiring projects and demonstrated their dedication and eagerness to make this industry an example of transition towards sustainability.

“All the good and innovative ideas presented here are inspiring and applicable to the Real Estate sector, which is why I would like to encourage you to participate in the Proptech Startup Europe Awards” added Dirk Paerlink as the jury deliberated. Finally, the highlight of the gala came and Paula Cristóbal and Laura Alonso’s project, Sepiia, won the Startup Europe Awards, a tool that will accelerate and scale their textile technology with 100% recycled and circular fibres, globally.

About CircularInnoBooster

is a project funded by the European Union’s Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Programme (COSME).

The CircularInnoBooster project aims to transform companies in the textile and fashion industry into sustainable, circular and regenerative enterprises. With a duration of 2 years, it has a budget of 1,128,000 euros, 75% co-financed by the European Commission. The project is composed of an international consortium led by the European Institute of Design (IED), together with Texfor, Circulab, Finnova and The Circular Project with HumanNation.


COSME is the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises programme of the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).

Through this programme, assistance is provided to SMEs to help them develop their business models, access finance and internationalise. It also provides support to public administrations so that they can improve the business environment and facilitate economic growth in the European Union. During the 2014-2020 funding period, this programme earmarked €2.3 billion to support SMEs.

About IED

The Istituto Europeo di Design is an academic institution operating in the field of education, training and research in the disciplines of design, fashion, visual communication and management. IED has branches in Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), Italy (Milan, Rome and 5 other cities) and Brazil (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro). It operates in several EU and COSME countries through partnerships and agreements with institutions, business support organisations, teachers, experts and mentors. IED is based on a wide network of connections in the F&T (Fashion and Textile sector.).

About Finnova

Finnova is a foundation working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship at EU level. Based in Brussels, it operates through collaborations and partnerships in all EU countries. Finnova’s expertise in leading European project communication and dissemination activities is combined with a strong proven track record in start-ups and business support programmes, such as accelerators, incubators and selection and award ceremonial events.

About Texfor

Texfor is the textile association of reference in Spain with 400 members. Founded in November 2010 and based in Catalonia, it brings together companies from the entire textile value chain, from yarns to fabrics through accessories, finishing processes, printing and dyeing for the garment industry, home textiles and technical/industrial applications. Texfor has specialisation and experience, having worked in important expert committees at EU level: university and vocational training, financial capacity building, transversal collaboration, promotion of RDI, specialised services and leadership in sustainability with a focus on the circular economy.

About Circulab

Circulab is a laboratory and business design studio specialising in the development of methodologies, tools and transformation programmes to help companies develop circular and sustainable business models. Circulab has designed a set of tools to implement the circular economy model in companies. It operates in more than 23 countries, 9 of them in the European Union, supporting projects through more than 60 independent business consultants, applying the circular methodology and tools.

About The Circular Project with HumanNation

TCP (The Circular Project) favours and promotes circular and sustainable fashion in different areas, offering the fashion industry a communication strategy based on a cross-cutting and systemic approach to the circular economy. TCP combines social, ethical, environmental and economic aspects, and has a strong presence and connections in the world of sustainable fashion.  TCP has promoted the Circular Sustainable Fashion Week in Madrid, a unique event of its kind, and also acts as the headquarters of the Spanish Association for Sustainability, Innovation and Circularity in the Fashion Industry. TCP is also an ambassador for Sannas (Triple Bottom Line Business Association) and has collaborated with a wide range of Spanish, European and Latin American institutions and companies. The Circular Project is working with Human Nation to co-design and develop CirCoAX. HumanNation is a consulting firm specialising in the development of innovation ecosystems and transformative and disruptive companies for the “new economy”. It is based on the fourth economic sector, systems thinking and co-creation. It sensitises organisations and ecosystems to respect planetary boundaries and the social fabric, creating resilient local economies with a global perspective.

About Next Textile Generation Next Textile Generation aims to give visibility to and promote innovative ideas on sustainable practices in fashion and textiles. Through this platform, Finnova disseminates relevant information related to the industry with information on other European projects.