About the challenges

The 2019 edition of the Paint the Future startup challenge officially launched on January 8th, 2019. You can learn about the 2019 themes here.

How does it work?

We invite you to submit ideas related to the specific challenge areas via our collaborative platform! On the platform, our experts will work with you to improve your solution and explore potential opportunities with AkzoNobel. The 20 teams with the most promising submissions will be invited to a three-day finals event to collaborate with AkzoNobel experts and business leaders. AkzoNobel will then work together with winners on sustainable business opportunities.

What are the benefits for you?

Are you a startup or scale-up with a solution that answers one of our challenge areas? And do you already have a clear proof of concept which is ready to be further developed? It sounds like Paint the Future is probably for you! Join our challenge now!

On the other hand, if you don’t have a solution to share, but you would like to contribute your industry expertise, we also welcome you to the community. Let’s connect on the platform and accelerate innovation in paints and coatings together.

What are the judges looking for?

  • Solutions offering significant impact on performance
  • Technology readiness level
  • Market size and potential returns
  • Value proposition and unique selling points
  • Business readiness level
  • Fit with AkzoNobel in strategy and ways of working
  • Contribution to sustainability
  • The “wow factor” – having brand impact and disruption potential


This is a perfect opportunity for you to use the vast knowledge and experience of AkzoNobel’s experts and our global footprint to grow and accelerate your startup solution! In our colorful ecosystem, we will explore joint development opportunities that benefit us both. The prize for the final winners is working with AkzoNobel on sustainable business opportunities.

Join us


Here’s a quick look at the adventure ahead.

Submission phase
Solutions submitted and enriched online
January 8 to March 1
  • Join our online platform to start submitting, discussing and enriching ideas
  • Experts work with you to enrich your ideas
Enrichment phase
Solutions enriched online
March 1 to March 13
  • We close to new submissions, but community enrichment of solutions continues
Feedback & Finalist Selection
Solutions enriched online
April to May
  • Solutions are evaluated and receive online feedback
  • Selected participants will be invited to join the finals event
Finals Event
Collaborative event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
May 14 to 16
  • Selected participants work with domain experts to bring solutions to the next level
  • The most promising solutions are offered joint development agreements
Acceleration Phase
Accelerating your solution with experts
From June onward
  • AkzoNobel and partners provide guidance in this process
  • Scaling of the solution and possible implementation
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