During its first year of operation, BIOCHEM – a SusChem inspired project that supports SMEs wishing to innovate in the field of products made from biomass, such as bioplastics - has laid the groundwork for acceleration of industrial biotechnology innovation in Europe during 2011.
So far, BIOCHEM has completed a comprehensive assessment of the needs, the barriers and the opportunities specific to the European bio-based products market. A partnering platform has also been developed in order to help SMEs share their ideas and identify business and research partners ready to follow them in their new activities.
“We have achieved an enormous amount in the first year of the BIOCHEM project,” commented Dr. Steve Fletcher, BIOCHEM project coordinator at Chemistry Innovation Ltd in the UK. “Our BIOCHEM business toolbox should be fully operational by April, we have assembled pieces of high quality information to support the project, and we have identified SMEs across Europe that can take advantage of all this.”
A toolbox to accelerate bio-based innovation
Once ready, the toolbox, which includes business planning tools, lifecycle analysis and access to facilities, partners and funding, will be accessible through the European Commission’s INNOVA Portal. It will be used to help selected European SMEs conceive and deploy their innovative business ideas, and to accelerate their growth within the bio-based market.
“In March we will train about forty individuals – National Innovation Managers - in the use and application of the toolbox,” continues Steve Fletcher. “Then the work can begin to assess the potential of each company and provide it with information tailored to its specific profile and needs.”
A large database of relevant EU-based start-ups and SMEs who might benefit from BIOCHEM assistance has been compiled, and 100 SMEs will be audited by BIOCHEM experts throughout 2011. By the end of the project, at least 250 SMEs will have received support from BIOCHEM.
Launched in February 2010 BIOCHEM is a pan-European project co-funded by the European Commission’s INNOVA programme to support companies entering the rapidly emerging market of bio-based products. For more information on BIOCHEM visit the website or why not register on the Partnering Platform - it is free to join!