Connecting winners of the 2023 H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award to Asia – a strategic hub of the global fashion industryHONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 26 October 2023 – The Mills Fabrica, core partner of the H&M Foundation Global Change Award (GCA), hosted the 2023 award winners during “Hong Kong Week”. As part of the GCA Impact Accelerator program, winners embark on week-long activities in Hong Kong, Stockholm, and New York to provide them with the tools, connections, and resources necessary for early-stage innovations to move ideas to scale as quickly as possible.
Launched for close to a decade, the H&M Foundation Global Change Award aims to find, support and scale disruptive ideas that can protect the planet and transform the textile industry into a planet-positive one. It identifies ideas that apply disruptive technology and new business models to change the way garments are designed, produced, shipped, bought, used and recycled.
Since 2019, The Mills Fabrica has been partnering with the H&M Foundation Global Change Award (GCA) to provide support to the winners.
Offering startups the unique opportunities to learn, connect, and tap into Asian markets
Each year, the 10 GCA winners are entitled to a year-long Impact Accelerator Program, which is tailored to support the winners in developing and scaling their innovation for impact. The program includes coaching and support from the H&M Foundation, and Accelerator Partners The Mills Fabrica, Accenture, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
As a core partner, The Mills Fabrica brought the H&M Foundation GCA Impact Accelerator Program to Hong Kong from October 16-20, and specially designed to offer the award winners the opportunities to learn, connect, and tap into the Asian markets through specially curated tours of manufacturers and research facilities, workshops and fireside chats by industry experts around investment readiness.
Showcasing Hong Kong as a strategic hub of the global fashion industry
The Hong Kong Week was co-designed with H&M Foundation and the other Accelerator Partners, to showcase the city and the region’s strength in the fashion industry from research and development, production and manufacturing, to its thriving business ecosystem.
To enhance the winners’ understanding of Asia’s unique business landscape for planning and development in the region, The Mills Fabrica hosted bespoke investment workshops, branding and media workshops, as well as networking sessions with various brands and startup ecosystem players.
The winners were also invited to a series of tours at the prototyping labs at The Mills Fabrica, research and development facilities at The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), and manufacturers based in the Greater Bay Area (GBA).
“Going into the fourth year partnering up with the H&M Foundation, it is encouraging to see more and more innovative solutions in the techstyle industry across the world. This year, we are especially honored to host H&M Foundation’s Impact Accelerator Program in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has much to offer to the fashion industry, and The Mills Fabrica, with its own rich textile heritage, is keen to support a new generation of entrepreneurs bringing new innovation to textiles and fashion. Along with our ecosystem partners, we are able to support the winners from the lab, to store, to closet,” said Cintia Nunes, General Manager and Head of Asia, The Mills Fabrica.
“The H&M Foundation and The Mills Fabrica will continue to work closely with the winners throughout the year to give them the tools and network they need to accelerate their development, to scale and ultimately transform the industry,” she continues.
“We’re happy that The Mills Fabrica, one of our core partners, invited our ten GCA winners to Hong Kong – a great fashion hub for research, innovation, production and manufacturing. The accelerator week provided the teams with insights into manufacturing and production, and enabled them to tap into the investor network and learn more about the Asian market,” said Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead Planet Positive at the H&M Foundation.
“The Global Change Award accelerator program creates opportunities for the winning innovations to grow and create lasting impact on the fashion industry. Network and industry access is extremely important, and we’re glad that The Mills Fabrica is here to open the door to the Asian market,” said Anna Dadfar, Business Development Coach at KTH Innovation.
“This program presents an exceptional opportunity to help the fashion industry reinvent itself through sustainable innovations. The accelerator week is another step in embracing collaboration and sharing ideas, connections and knowledge, to help this next generation of innovators bring positive change for the planet and for business,” said Jill Standish, Global Retail lead, Accenture.
In addition to Hong Kong, the winners also spent week-long visits to the major hub of the global fashion industry — Stockholm, and will be taking their next journey to New York in 2024.
The Mills Fabrica was grown out of Nan Fung Group’s textile legacy in Hong Kong, with a mission to catalyze innovations for sustainability, environmental and social impact. Today, The Mills Fabrica is made up of a venture capital fund, startup incubator, Impact Retail Store Fabrica X, labs, co-working and event spaces across Hong Kong and London.
The Mills Fabrica focuses on supporting and investing in innovations within the textile and apparel, and agrifood industries as both are significant contributors to climate change, emitting up to 44% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Mills Fabrica invests up to USD 3M per startup over the past five years, and is on the lookout for more innovations to support. It is also calling out for partners from all sectors and around the world who are keen on joining in on its mission to accelerate planet-positive impact.
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