The opportunity created for Sunbird to fill a gaping gap in the hospitality industry underscores the value of prize -driven (challenges) to identify innovators that can support the transition to a more sustainable future.
The ZeS UP challenge (Zero Single-Use Plastic challenge), launched by VC Fund Climate Angels, has been supporting various innovative start-ups working towards reducing single-use plastic straws. Bangalore based Sunbird Straws is one of the start-ups backed by The ZeSUP challenge to promote the alternatives to plastic straws at the onset of Single Use Plastic Ban.
Starting 1st July 2022, the government of India has implemented a nationwide ban on single-use plastic straws. Manufacturers in India have been prohibited to produce single-use plastic straws in India. This ban has created many opportunities for companies to produce alternatives to plastic and paper straws.
ZeSUP challenge, launched by VC Fund Climate Angels bridges the gap between innovation and established F&B partners intending to eliminate single-use plastics. It provides support to innovative start-ups that are leading the fight against single-use plastic in the F&B industry, by providing them with an opportunity to connect with restaurants, cloud kitchens and other food outlets like Rebel Foods, The Beer Café, and Burger Singh. The selected startups get project and startup funding from a pool of US$ 500,000, dedicated mentorship and technical assistance for the project.
Founded by Saji Varghese in 2020, Sunbird Straws is the producer of environmentally friendly and long-lasting straws from naturally dried and fallen coconut leaves, reducing the consumption of paper and plastic straws. Their in-house technology has managed to produce close to two hundred straws from a single coconut leaf. The company is creating value by reducing the burning of leaves along with solving the issue of single-use plastic straws. The company has been actively employing women in their production process creating women empowerment in villages.
“ZeSUP will greatly help start-ups overcome key challenges such as lack of collaborative industry partners, underdeveloped value chains, and complex policy and regulatory framework. Through ZeSUP, we will try to be a key factor in connecting innovative start-ups with F&B partners. This will further strengthen the single-use plastic ban as we eventually adopt alternatives to it”, said Shailesh Vikram Singh, founder of Climate Angels.