New €5.83 million project launched to boost growth for bio-based SMEs in North-West Europe

The European Commission has launched a new three-year project called BioBase4SME to support the development of a bio-based economy in North West Europe (NWE).

The €5.83 million project, launched through the EC’s INTERREG NWE Programme, will help start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to overcome technological and non-technological barriers on their path to turn bio-based 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 bio-based economy creates a big opportunity for Europe. Locally produced bio-based 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 bio-based 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.

Lieve Hoflack, manager of the BioBase4SME project, said: “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 bio-based 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 bio-based economy in terms of innovation and investment climate, regulatory framework and public approval.”

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