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Imagine Chemistry 2018

The AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals Startup Challenge 2018
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Our world is made of chemicals and we believe that chemistry is essential to making the world a better place.

The Imagine Chemistry 2018 challenge is now closed for submissions. We are evaluating all 150 submissions and mid-April will announce our finalists for our 3-day event in Gothenburg. If you like to be updated on any future challenges, you can register on the platform by clicking “Login”.


If you have an IP protected idea that matches our needs, offers solutions to problems generally encountered during the development and manufacturing of products found in the AkzoNobel portfolio or if you have identified an unmet need that will add significant value to our consumers, please log in and submit your idea in our open idea box.

Watch our 2017 finals

Challenge Areas

We are looking for ways to create a more sustainable and liveable world through chemistry. In our 2018 Challenge we focused on the following areas:

        1. Waste water free chemical sites
        2. Zero footprint surfactant platforms
        3. Sustainable liquid to powder technologies
        4. Intelligent Chemical Plants
        5. Sustainable small particles technologies
        6. Revolutionizing chlorate production


How does the challenge work?

The Challenge was open for submissions between January 10th and March 17th. After this, a jury of AkzoNobel business, R&D leaders and prominent international experts selects the 20 most promising solutions and startups to participate in a collaborative final event (all expenses covered) from May 29 to June 1 at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. During this event the finalists get personal feedback from AkzoNobel and partners’ experts in R&D, finance, startups, open innovation and marketing, as well as senior management and potential investors to further develop your solutions. 

Who can participate?

We are focused on startups with a proof of concept who can actively work on making their idea or solution a success. If you are not a startup, but for example a researcher who has already developed and tested a concept, we invite you to join as well. 


What's in it for startups?

Our ultimate goal is to innovate together. 

This collaboration could take on many forms: a joint development agreement; having AkzoNobel as a launching customer; organizing partnerships across the value chain; or investment in the startup. The winning team(s) will be awarded with support and cooperation in order to grow and scale up their solution together with AkzoNobel.

Why is AkzoNobel organizing this challenge?

This initiative is beyond acceleration: it is a co-development partnership. This program will give you the right access, acceleration and means to develop your concepts and spread them across the world. In turn, it will give AkzoNobel access to the newest innovations to achieve our sustainability goals, create new business and valuable partnerships and improve our own processes.

Everybody wins.

Intellectual Property

We respect ownership of intellectual property rights (IP): your IP remains yours; ours remains ours. What we create together during the event will be our joint IP (yours and ours). In such case we commit together to a 3 months exclusivity period to negotiate a potential agreement, such as a JDA. This period can be extended if partners enter into a JDA development trajectory. If one of the partners indicates within the 3 months period that it has no interest to negotiate further, the shared IP will be allocated to the other party. If neither party indicates that it has an interest to negotiate further, the shared IP will become available for both parties to use freely.

Learn more about our Terms & Conditions 

AkzoNobel and Innovation

At AkzoNobel, innovation starts with understanding what our customers need. That means understanding societal, market and business needs and coming up with timely solutions to meet those needs. Many of our innovations are focused on sustainability and we are committed to creating more value from fewer resources. To devise sustainable, innovative solutions for the world's problems, we want to work with the very best people and partners - like you.


Get in touch

We would love to hear from you.

If you have any questions, let us know by sending a note to or check out our FAQ's