York, UK — The European Commission has launched through its Interreg NWE Programme a three-year project “BioBase4SME” to further support the development of the biobased economy in North West Europe (NWE). The €5.83 million project will help start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to overcome technological and non-technological barriers on their path to turn biobased research into commercial innovation. BioBase4SME offers training, innovation biocamps, workshops and innovation coupons worth up to €100,000. The BioBase4SME partnership includes eight organisations from six different countries.
The biobased economy creates a big opportunity for Europe. Locally produced biobased feedstocks rather than imported fossil resources are used to produce materials, chemicals and energy, creating a new knowledge and technology intensive economy with high employment potential and with reduced environmental impact. The European bioeconomy showed a turnover of €2.1 trillion and employed 18.3 million employees in 2013 and has a huge growth potential.
The BioBase4SME network, representing leading biobased economy experts, will advise SMEs from across North-West Europe on how to develop new ideas into marketable products. The project will offer training, innovation biocamps, workshops and innovation coupons worth up to €100,000. These coupons can be used for technological assistance such as scale-up to pilot scale, Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA), techno-economic evaluation, market research, feedstock analysis, social acceptance, and business planning support or a combination thereof.
Dr. Lieve Hoflack, Manager of the BioBase4SME project, says: “We expect to bring at least 20 promising innovations closer to the market, resulting in new investments and job creation, and provide training to about 200 entrepreneurs active in the biobased economy, thus boosting their innovation capacity. Other main outputs are a strong, interregional network to guide entrepreneurs towards successful innovation and improved regional support for the biobased economy in terms of innovation and investment climate, regulatory framework and public approval.”
BioBase4SME is a follow-up of the highly successful Bio Base NWE project. This three-year (2013-2015) project mentored 755 companies in total and granted 30 innovation coupons worth €10-30,000 for technological assistance to SMEs and start-ups. The work done within the innovation coupon scheme created a substantial leverage effect: up to €71 million of investments and the creation of 320 new jobs in the biobased economy in the coming years.
Source: The National Non-Food Crops Centre