Covestro Start-up Challenge, Covestro LLC

Covestro Start-up Challenge enters a new round in its second year

Copied to clipboard
  • Six business ideas to drive the circular economy
  • Top six includes representation from U.S.
  • Year 1 winners advance project at their own start-up venture

Pittsburgh, June 26, 2019 — Today, Covestro announced the top six finalists of its Start-up Challenge, an internal competition designed to encourage entrepreneurial thinking among the company’s nearly 17,000 employees worldwide. Now in its second year, the 2019 Start-up Challenge combines the company’s passion for innovation with its strong focus on sustainability, tapping employees for their creative ideas to promote a more circular economy.

Among the top six was an international team that included four employees from the United States, who joined forces with a colleague in Germany to develop their award-worthy proposal: a start-of-the-art purification system that uses polyurethane technology to provide underdeveloped regions with clean, affordable drinking water and safe sanitary facilities.

Their project, like the others, supports the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, while also helping to drive a circular economy. The finalists projects reflected a diverse range of solutions to tackle complex global challenges, such as: generating power from plastic waste to counter plastic pollution in the oceans, while providing greater access to electricity for people in developing countries; curbing water pollution with an innovative polyurethane technology; and promoting resource efficiency through recyclable shipment packaging and a CO2-based cleaning agent that degrades more easily.

“The ideas of the six finalists all have great potential to drive expansion of the circular economy,” says Dr. Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro. “Our contest helps encourage everyone in the company to make good ideas ready for the market as quickly as possible and turn them into genuine innovations.”

From the top six finalists, one team will be selected as the grand prize winner during the K 2019 trade fair for plastics and rubber in Dusseldorf, Germany, this October. The winning team members will be given the chance to put their idea into practice and test whether it is ready for the market. To enable that, team members are given leave from work for up to one year to operate as a start-up within the company and receive seed funding of up to one million euros.

Year 1 winners have own start-up

Last year’s top prize-winning “go clear” team will now become a separate venture at the research division of Covestro’s Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment. The objective is to further develop a new technology for clean, safe and efficient lacquering of cars that speeds up the related processes, saving paint shops time and money.

Marc Schreiber, one of the founders of “go clear,” is the venture’s head.

“It’s a huge opportunity to work independently,” says Schreiber. “With ‘go clear,’ I can accompany a project from the first idea to the finished product and hopefully to the first revenue it generates. I think that’s great.”

“go clear” is still in the technical development stage. Various materials and production processes are being tested to achieve ideal objectives. The technology will be tested by pilot customers at the end of this year.

About Covestro LLC:

Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, electrical and electronics, and healthcare industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 16,800 people at the end of 2018.

Find more information at

Media Contacts:

Alice Sox, Phone: 412 413 5430

# # #

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Editor’s Note: Follow news from Covestro on Twitter: