Tampons made from hemp: Start-up "hempy period" awarded start-up idea of the year

2022-11-21 Half of all Germans rely on hygiene products during menstruation and the majority use disposable products for this purpose. The students Amelie Harm, Agnes Maria Paul and Chiara Kracklauer wanted to do better and developed the idea of a hemp-based tampon that is free of harmful substances and environmentally friendly. The project of the founding team "hempy period" was awarded the Leuphana Start-up Idea of the Year at the Lünale 2022.

Stefan Kleinheider (NBank), Nicole Adank-Staedler (Rainer Adank Stiftung), Chiara Kracklauer (hempy period), Christoph Steiner (Rainer Adank Stiftung) ©Andreas Tamme - tonwert21.de
Stefan Kleinheider (NBank), Nicole Adank-Staedler (Rainer Adank Stiftung), Chiara Kracklauer (hempy period), Christoph Steiner (Rainer Adank Stiftung)

The start-up idea came about in 2021 as part of a seminar at Leuphana led by Michael Braungart, Professor of Eco-Design at the Faculty of Sustainability. The aim of the seminar was to develop a business idea for a cradle-to-cradle product. The components of such a cradle-to-cradle product are returned to a recycling cycle as nutrients or raw materials after use. The menstrual product designed by the three students can be completely biodegraded after use and at the same time is safe for the health of the consumer. The so-called "Hempon", a tampon made of a hemp fibre mixture, is the first planned product of their start-up "hempy period":. Hemp lends itself as a raw material because the plant has a much higher water efficiency and lower pollutant load than the otherwise commonly used cotton and viscose. With hemp as a raw material, a negative carbon footprint is achieved and biodiversity is supported.

In spring and summer 2022, hempy period was already part of the Holistic Impact Incubator (HOLII) for four months, which was developed and implemented as part of the Startup Port at Leuphana. Through numerous workshops and a large network, the HOLII programme supports startups in advancing their impact ideas for a socially and ecologically sustainable society. At the closing event of the first HOLII batch, hempy period presented their idea alongside all the other participating start-up teams and was able to celebrate a first success by winning the audience award.

Shortly afterwards, the students also won the audience award at the "Female StartAperitivo" start-up competition in Hamburg in September.

The award at the Lünale is another step in the young start-up's rapid climb up the ladder of success. The next step for the three founders is to have a prototype of their so far unique product produced in order to test and further optimise the usage properties.

The Lünale annually awards the most important business prizes in the Lüneburg region. This year the gala took place for the 13th time. The Lünale is organised by the Wirtschaftsförderungs-GmbH for the city and district of Lüneburg.

The idea prize "Leuphana Start-up Idea of the Year" is one of four prizes awarded on the evening of the event. It is offered by the Rainer Adank Foundation and supported by the NBank. The competition is organised every year by the Chair of Start-up Management at Leuphana under the direction of Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schulte.