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GFA and PDS Venture launch new fashion funding programme

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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GFA and PDS Venture ‘Trailblazer Programme’ Credits: GFA and PDS Venture

Non-profit organisation Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and PDS Venture, the innovation and investment arm of PDS Group, have launched a new funding programme aimed at scaling fashion innovation.

The new ‘Trailblazer Programme’ is looking to identify and support fashion’s “most promising” early-stage innovators working to accelerate the transformation of the fashion and textile industry with planet-positive solutions.

As part of the initiative, PDS Ventures will award one innovator a “significant investment” between 50,000 and 200,000 US dollars to accelerate the company’s growth and positive impact in the fashion industry. The specific amount will depend upon the winning company’s stage and status.

The winner will also receive commercial and operational support from PDS Group’s Positive Materials, a textile company and strategic research partner supporting the development and acceleration of low-impact textile innovation through collaboration between early-stage start-ups, supply chain partners and brands.

In addition, further scaling opportunities will be available through access to PDS Limited’s extensive global supply chain.

Pallak Seth, founder and executive vice chairman at PDS Limited, said in a statement: “We are incredibly proud to partner with the Global Fashion Agenda to establish the Trailblazer programme. There has never been a more urgent time than now for true industry support for climate-first innovators with, not only financial investment but most crucially, mentoring and support to unlock the scaling potential of early-stage innovators.

“At PDS Ventures we are committed to supporting young pioneering businesses and have had the privilege of working with some of the most exciting start-ups from their earliest days accelerating their mission to make a positive impact in the fashion industry.”

GFA and PDS Venture launch ‘Trailblazer Programme’ to scale fashion innovation

The ‘Trailblazer Programme’ is looking for early-stage innovators and solution providers addressing different challenges across the fashion value chain to apply for the programme before March 31. Applicants will be reviewed and shortlisted by a jury, featuring representatives from GFA, PDS Ventures, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Ralph Lauren Corporation, Fashion For Good and H&M Group.

Eight shortlisted innovations will be enrolled in a group of Trailblazers, receiving feedback and investment pitch training from industry experts and PDS representatives.

Each shortlisted innovator will then pitch for a potential investment, with the winning Trailblazer being revealed at GFA’s Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition 2024, taking place from May 22 to 23 at the Copenhagen Concert Hall. All shortlisted Trailblazers will also showcase their businesses within an exhibit at the Summit to connect with other key industry stakeholders and potential investors.

Federica Marchionni, chief executive at Global Fashion Agenda, added: “Innovation is a fundamental component to transforming the current fashion system to one that benefits people and the planet. Yet, to truly achieve impact at scale, innovation and investment go hand-in-hand.

“In a time of significant economic challenges, it is more important than ever that the fashion ecosystem prioritises investment in early-stage solutions so that we can bring them to fruition and make them last. Through this programme and the support from PDS Ventures, GFA is striving to help innovation thrive.”

Global Fashion Agenda
PDS Group
PDS Venture