BioVale’s series of unique training programmes successfully supported European entrepreneurs whose drive is to use locally produced biobased feedstocks, rather than imported fossil resources, to produce materials, chemicals, energy. Funded by Interreg NW the programme guided these entrepreneurs towards successful innovation and business growth in the bio-based economy.
“Really enjoyable event! Definitely learnt a lot. I think what was also really valuable was meeting other entrepreneurs and sharing our experiences and strategies, especially since we spent so much time together. This is a big plus of the event.”
Thomas Farrugia, Beta Bugs
- 3 workshops held
- 50 entrepreneurs from 7 countries trained
- 14 expert speakers
- 31 mentors
Specialised business training for biobased entrepreneurs
BioVale developed and delivered intensive training and mentoring ‘BioCamps’ for high-growth, knowledge-based, innovative SMEs and startups operating in the bio-based economy in North-West Europe. Over the three programmes 50 participants attended from 7 countries and included:
- Spinouts from Universities and research institutions
- New businesses using industrial biotechnology for manufacturing or exploiting biowastes as feedstock
- New companies providing services for emerging bio-based supply chains e.g. supply chain control, process engineers, metabolic engineering.
The week-long peer-to-peer learning and networking residential programme was developed specifically for bio-based entrepreneurs with innovations for the circular, biobased economy and has featured businesses developing products such as biobased packaging from seaweed, and composite binders from agricultural by-products.
The BioCamp programme
The focus of the programme was building partnerships and dialogue for specialised entrepreneurs to give them the tools and techniques to develop their ideas, grow their businesses and overcome technological and non-technological barriers.
A network of bioeconomy experts, business leaders and investors delivered masterclasses in key aspects of business growth including finance, regulation, IP, communications, risk and opportunity. Facilitated sessions followed to enable attendees to analyse their value proposition, develop a business model, identify, secure and communicate with customers and key partner agencies, manage business operations and develop their company’s pitch.
Opportunity was also provided for entrepreneurs to participate in one -to one mentoring from business leaders with the week culminating in attendees pitching to a panel of specialist investors.
Follow on activities
Post programme Coaching was provided to the entrepreneurs and SMEs to help them embed learning in their business and set new actions over the following year to drive their business forward. The aim was to increase the medium- and long-term benefits of the learning the participants gained from the Innovation Biocamps.
The continued success of the model has led to BioVale delivering further one and two day training and online events for the THYME project, N8 AgriFood and the High-Value Biorenewables network
The peer-to-peer networks that formed have proved long-lasting and highly useful with many developing working partnerships. A formal online networking catch-up, facilitated by BioVale, in early 2021 enabled participants to share successes, learning and challenges since the training.
Support from the Biocamps proved instrumental in the creation of new jobs, in securing investment, and development of new sustainable products and practices making it to market. Success highlights for UK entrepreneurs have included:
- Holiferm awarded £400K to build a pilot plant for a separation fermentation process that provides a low-cost route to creating a range of biosurfactants.
- Oceanium securing £2 Million investment to scale up its proprietary seaweed biorefinery and processing model for applications including use in plant-based foods and sustainable packaging material as an alternative to plastic.
- Bio Bean securing £5 Million investment to industrialise the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels and biochemicals.