Cancellation of the festival summer makes life hard for sustainable start-ups. Last week Tuesday the cabinet crossed out the summer for festival country the Netherlands. Yes, we did see it coming… It has certainly made a large impact on people and companies from the festival and food sector. However, it also makes life harder for sustainable start-ups in our country. And it’s this power of innovation that we so desperately need… Especially now!

Testing ground for innovative start-ups and sustainable initiatives

Festivals are miniature societies. For that reason, they are perfect as testing ground for all kinds of sustainable and innovative solutions. Entrepreneurs that want to make the world a little bit are happy to use festivals as their testing location.

Test locations are essential. Without a good testing location, it becomes very difficult for a sustainable starting company to enter the market with a proven and solid product. A realistic environment shows other teething problems than a made-up one. This can involve a large sum of money, because the burden of proof for the functioning of your product is crucial when trying to find solid investors.

This is how it works, using a festival as a testing ground

Festival sites are the dream for every entrepreneur that wants to test their sustainable initiatives in the ‘real world’ (and at a later time refine where necessary). Festival sites are surrounded by large fences. And it’s this seclusion that makes the data that is being collected more valuable than that of a made-up situation, says Linda Vermeer (director of foundation Innofest) in the NRC of Saturday 25 April.

Vermeer explains: ”Dozens of innovations make their last step to the open market thanks to a test on a festival. Just like Semilla Sanitation Hub. They used festivals to test how to convert urine and feces from visitors to clean drinking water and fertilizer. Nowadays this circular toilet unit contributes to clean drinking water and food supplies in Africa.” There are also mobile mega batteries by Greener. After a first test on the Welcome to The Village festival, this company managed to reduce the diesel consumption by 30 percent for another festival a few months later.

What can we do in this society?

Replacing festival sites as a coveted testing location is not easily done. It requires a dose of creativity. I trust that this is present for such a large group of innovative entrepreneurs. While they can probably not do this alone… large food producers could help out with the tests that are needed for this sector. Or perhaps we could start testing on industrial lots in our ‘new society’ (if that will ever happening, I have my own opinion about this). Who knows… We will have to be creative. And hope that municipalities and large companies are willing to cooperate in creating opportunities for sustainable initiatives by our green start-ups.