Vielfalter (Kalkalpen National Park Start-Up Challenge)

Organising a competition to support and encourage businesses and their sustainable projects in tourism, health, agriculture and forestry in the Kalkalpen National Park, Austria
 

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Project summary: 

The Kalkalpen National Park’s Start-Up Challenge sought to promote sustainable entrepreneurship in the park through a competition for business ideas in tourism, health, agriculture and forestry. The competition involved publishing a call for innovative business ideas across different categories (idea, start-up or consolidation), awarding winners in each category, and implementing an accelerator programme to help bring the ideas to business maturity. Regional networking and public engagement were key components throughout. 
The project sought to identify innovative ideas consistent with the National Park’s philosophy of a having a positive impact on both biodiversity and the bioeconomy. These innovative ideas could then lead to establishing new sustainable businesses with the support of the accelerator programme. The project also aimed to increase the public’s appreciation of renewable natural resources and to create and demonstrate a replicable model that can be applied to other national parks in Austria in the longer term.  This would create stronger links between environmental protection and the regional economy.
 

Project results: 

In total, 55 projects were submitted across the categories of idea, start-up and consolidation/company. Eight winners were awarded, and several businesses are now running very successfully. Public events raised the profile of the winning submissions. The format will be applied and further developed in the Kalkalpen National Park in the next programming period, with a focus on agriculture and regional food.