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EU fund to drive SME growth in bio-based economy

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EU fund to drive SME growth in bio-based economy

April 10
08:53 2013

The European Commission has launched a three-year, €6.2 million project, Bio Base NWE, to support the development of the bio-based economy in North West Europe.

An announcement from York, UK-based bioeconomy consultants NNFCC (National Non-Food Crops Centre) has confirmed that the Bio Base NWE project will work mainly with small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to “help facilitate innovation and business development in bio-based technologies”.

SME focus
Including organisations from five different countries, the Bio Base NWE partnership will also provide training and education to help tackle a reported shortage of skilled professionals in North West Europe’s bio-based industries, according to NNFCC.

Dr. Lieve Hoflack, manager of the Bio Base NWE project, says: “SMEs have a vital role to play in Europe’s journey towards the bio-based economy, which could be worth more than €2 trillion to the European economy by 2020.

“Bio-based products are a growing area of interest for SMEs working in chemical industry, agro-industry, plastics, fuels, food, textile and pharma industries.”

However, she adds, many SMEs find it difficult to “bridge the gap” between newly developed research and the commercial market.

Cross-continental reach
The Bio Base NWE network, representing many leading bio-based economy experts, will advise SMEs from across North West Europe on how to develop new ideas into marketable products.

SMEs can obtain financial support to demonstrate innovative bio-based technologies at an independent, state-of-the-art demonstration facility in Ghent, Belgium, where selective investments will be made in equipment for promising technologies to promote further growth.

The partnership will also develop and deliver programmes and tools for training skilled professionals for bio-based industries.

“North West Europe is in an excellent position to take a leading role in the emerging bio-based economy,” says NNFCC.

“The region is home to a number of prominent research institutes in this field and has a leading chemical industry, including a strong representation of SMEs, which can provide a springboard for future development.”

European partnership
The partners in the Bio Base NWE group are:

  • Bio Base Europe international non-profit organization, Belgium
  • Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Belgium
  • Ghent Bio-Energy Valley, Belgium
  • Bio Base Europe Training Center, Netherlands
  • REWIN/Biobased Innovations, Netherlands
  • Cluster Industrielle Biotechnologie, Denmark
  • National University of Ireland, Galway, Competence Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy, Ireland
  • NNFCC, UK

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