Sustainable Growth Program for the Innovators Taking Climate Action

February 18, 2022

It’s been three years since we started Sustainable Growth Programme. Since 2020, we’ve delivered two successful batches of the Sustainable Growth Programme with the partnership of HSBC and WWF. We started the process with Climate Action Meetup on 15th February, Tuesday. The meetup started with Hackquarters Founder Kaan Akın’s speech on the details of the program and the outcomes so far.

So far in the program, 222 startups applied, and 11 were selected to the former two batches. Our events had more than 1400 registrations so far (meetups and demo days). Participants also benefited from 164 hours of mentorship and 130 hours of training in various topics ranging from branding to investor relations.

In the last year’s batch, startups could create significant value thanks to the Sustainable Growth Programme. They increased their sales and some of them raised money from investors. Also, they got into valuable partnerships with large companies where they accelerated their impact.

Following the HSBC innovation strategy and WWF significant priorities, the Sustainable Growth Programme focuses on solutions and technologies related to the UN’s 13th Goal: Climate Action.

At Sustainable Growth Programme, we are dedicated to raising awareness for the climate initiative and startups in Turkey and the region, strengthening startup and technology impact in ClimateTech, and increasing commercial impact enforcing a global network of investors, climate organizations, and corporate partners.


The event continued with HSBC Turkey CEO Selim Kervancı’s talk on HSBC SGP and Strategy for Climate Action Innovation. He shared HSBC’s aspect of creating impact and saving our planet. “We see a notable outcome from last two years’ batches. Participant startups showed considerable improvements. They raised money from investors and partnered up with large corporates. This year, we have decided to impact the program more, so we will accept 20 startups to the program.”

After Selim Kervancı’s, WWF Turkey CEO Aslı Pasinli shared insights on “Startup Impact in the Climate Change.” She gave examples of last year’s natural disasters in Turkey. For example, last year, the area of forests burnt down in 10 days was equal to those burnt down in 20 years. “As WWF, just in 4 days, we led fire-extinguisher helicopters to be taken the field. We are not a corporate but sometimes NGOs should act like companies and vice versa. This is how to take action against the climate crisis. Startups have a lot of opportunities, and we need disruptive business models to take climate action. Startups don’t have to reinvent the wheel; they can even improve already-existing processes and spread those.”

When it comes to İklimBaba’s Founder Arif Ergin’s Keynote Speech of “Reshaping Solutions for Climate Change,” he told us about his journey on climate action. “When I first started, it was called “global warming.” Using “climate change” as a keyword, you couldn’t find considerable content even by utilizing search engines. As new generations are coming, the awareness of climate is increasing sharply. We can stay optimistic because companies, governments, and individuals have started to take action against the climate crisis. There are $130 trillion amount of funds around the world for sustainable ventures.”

Following Arif Ergin’s Keynote, Sustainable Growth Programme 2020 alumni Ecording’s CEO Mert Karslıoğlu took the stage. In his keynote speech of “Developing Innovative Solutions to Climate Change,” he touched on the journey of Ecording and the impact of their business. “At the beginning of the pandemics, we worried about climate action and our business because the lockdown has just started, and naturally, people were feeling uneasy about their future in that uncertainty. However, we saw the increasing awareness of climate action, and we decided to launch the #StayAtHome Forest project then. Thanks to the support from Hackquarters, our mentors, and partner companies, we successfully executed the process. Now, we are going to launch our new app to touch on the daily lives of the people and direct them to sustainable routines.”

Startups will make use of tailor-made training bootcamps & mentorships, commercialization support by Hackquarters, and networking opportunities with climate and startups organizations & partners. Applications have just started, and you can apply until March 7th.To learn more and apply, please visit the program website.

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