Today, five circular economy entrepreneurs and innovators entered the final round of the Zero Waste Cities Challenge in Vietnam. Tasked with proposing a new idea to help Ho Chi Minh City become more resourceful and sustainable, the participants have been through an eight-week business mentoring process to become pitch-ready.

In an exciting final round, the five finalists presented their ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. After lengthy deliberation, the judges selected the two winners that will be awarded €10,000 seed funding and free business support to bring their ideas alive.

The winners of WasteAid’s Zero Waste Cities Challenge in Ho Chi Minh are…


Veca is a mobile app that connects scrap sellers and dealers on Android and iOS platforms, supporting the scale of waste proactively and with complete transparency on prices. Through the innovation, the team are revolutionising the way informal waste pickers work and helping to divert huge amounts of waste from landfills.


University of Economics

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, the University of Economics has a goal to build the first zero waste university. How? Through the adoption of The Three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) and by running campaigns to raise awareness as well as to encourage behavioural change across the community on campus.

University of Economics HCMC

Announcing the winners, WasteAid CEO Ceris Turner-Bailes said: “Building a more circular and inclusive economy is vital, especially in cities where waste generation is growing faster than waste management capacity. The Zero Waste Cities Challenge was designed to identify and accelerate grassroots innovations and it’s such a pleasure to be awarding these prizes today, to Veca and the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City.

“All of the participants in the programme have shown their passion for a more resourceful future, and have participated in the business mentoring process with real enthusiasm. I’d like to congratulate all of the teams that reached both the semi-finals and finals, and of course the overall winners. Their innovative approaches show an excellent understanding of the need to engage with all parts of the value chain, to get waste materials collected and back into the loop.

“I would also like to express our gratitude to Huhtamaki for funding WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network and supporting the event today. Thanks also to the judges who have taken time out of their busy schedules to hear all the pitches and provide their expert opinion on which show the most promise to drive a circular economy in Ho Chi Minh City.”

The judges for the Ho Chi Minh round of the Zero Waste Cities Challenge were:

Sam Wood, Deputy Head, British Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City

Uyen Mai, South East Asia Sustainability Leader, Dow Chemical

Matteo Chiampo, Director of Operations, SecondMuse Singapore

Klaus Oberbauer, Programme Manager, SecondMuse Singapore

What’s next

The Zero Waste Cities Challenge is also taking place in Johannesburg and Guwahati, with the finals over the next two days – watch this space for exciting updates!

The winners in Ho Chi Minh, Veca and the University of Economics, will soon be receiving their seed funding and business support, and we will be sharing updates over the coming months.

Be sure to visit our dedicated website and follow the social accounts on Twitter: @circeconnetwork and LinkedIn: WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network for the latest updates.

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