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SUpport and PartnERship for the development of multiple sustainable and market ready value chains in the BIObased economy

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SUPERBIO (SUpport and PartnERship for the development of multiple sustainable and market ready value chains in the BIObased economy)

Berichtszeitraum: 2017-09-01 bis 2019-03-31

The SuperBIO project focuses on the bio-based economy. This emerging economy relies on the use of biomass as renewable raw material for the production of new or existing products, and is widely recognized as a key element for smart and green growth in Europe in order to cope with an increasing global population, depletion of resources, increasing environmental pressure and climate change. It is very cross-sectoral as links are made between at least 19 industrial sectors that could barely be linked with each other before. Currently, the bio-based economy is mostly known due to its contributions in the energy and bulk chemicals market, such as biofuels, bioenergy or bioplastics. However, other lower volume markets connected with the bio-based economy include detergents, fragrances, enzymes, cosmetics, food/feed ingredients, non-bulk chemicals and pharma, and are generally less developed. The SuperBIO project has been boosting the development of these sectors with dedicated and tailor-made innovation support.
Therefore SuperBIO aimed at (i) creating open collaboration spaces for SMEs (ii) identifying new industrial value chain concepts (iii) constructing highly promising, disruptive and sustainable new industrial value chains and (iv) providing a diverse, stepwise and comprehensive innovation support program that enables to efficiently and optimally validate the new value chains and to bring them closer to the market (Figure 1). A list of the innovation services provided through SuperBIO can be found in Figure 2.
The output of this project lead to the implementation of 42 value chains, including at least two stakeholders next to the applicant, originating from 19 different EU and associated countries. This demonstrates the efficiency and sustainability of the VC building process in SuperBIO. 37 companies, out of 60 applications, received innovation services from the SuperBIO service providers, leading to 37 new technologies, processes or products (Figure 3).
SuperBIO started with the implementation of the communication plan which included a website, house style and logo, communication material (flyer, brochure) and a project video. In addition, SuperBIO organized 8 thematic workshops, team members of SuperBIO have attended more than 81 conferences and 58 workshops to disseminate the project. All this resulted in 60 applications from SMEs of which 49 have been positively evaluated to be supported by SuperBIO. A total of 49 support plans have been drafted, one for each value chain, to bring the value chain closer to the market. Based on this, 72 detailed service offers have been made by the service providers, of which 54 have been selected by the SME’s. In total 137 stakeholders, including 41 extra SME’s and 48 large enterprises have been involved in this value chain building.
Overall, the project has led to 21 new processes being developed, optimised or scaled up, of which 4 new processes to convert food waste, and led to the development of 8 new biobased chemicals, 7 new agrochemicals, 5 new biobased materials, 7 new food ingredients and 2 new feed ingredients (Figure 4).
To gauge for the impact of the SuperBIO project on the SMEs that received support from SuperBIO, a questionnaire has been prepared by the project. In addition, the consortium has contracted a third party organization (IDEA Consult) to perform an external audit of the project and to review the monitoring methods and results to evaluate the efficiency and the effectiveness of the SuperBIO project. All the information obtained in this way has been gathered in the Innovation Script, containing a step-wise approach and recommendations on how to organize business and innovation support for emerging industries based on the findings and learnings of this project.
To further disseminate the results of the project and the information gathered in the Innovation script, some extra actions have been taken. First of all, SuperBIO organized 4 closing seminars in each of the 4 cluster regions (Poland, Flanders, Andalusia and France) to get feedback on the approach used within the SuperBio project and discuss on experiences in providing support for innovation among the participants.
Secondly, SuperBIO organized a networking and pitching event for SMEs in Brussels, with the aim to bring together different kind of stakeholders of the bioeconomy, to offer them intense cross-border matchmaking and networking, with the aim to create new partnerships for the future and the further development of innovative, cross-border and cross-sectoral industrial value chains in the biobased economy. 140 participants finally attended the event, coming from 16 different countries and including 44 ME’s.
Finally, also a dinner debate was organized at the European Parliament for MEP’s and policy makers to discuss the recommendations and findings of the project. 24 participants were present at this dinner debate representing different EU organisations or companies and was hosted by two members of the European parliament.
All these activities and the results of the project have been intensively disseminated through the website, mailing campaigns, newsletters, attending events and social media coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Apart from the outcome mentioned above (Figure 4), SuperBIO was also able to further leverage and complement the support for innovation in SMEs by other funding and/or by private investors. An in depth analysis of 13 companies learned that 3 of them had access to investors already during the project, and 3 more are expecting this to happen in the next 2 years (= 46%). Similarly, two SME’s were able to attract private investors for their project, and 5 more are expecting this to happen in the next 2 years (= 54%). Finally, two were able to attract other public funding, and another 6 are expecting to realise this in the next 2 years (= 62%). One SME invested in a pilot scale facility and 2 other SME’s opened a subsidiary in Belgium after successful results through the SuperBIO services.
In addition, SuperBIO provided a clear and measurable contribution to the innovation performance of the supported SMEs in the short-term and in the medium turn and to its impact on resource efficiency and/or turnover. Based upon an in depth analysis of 13 SME’s, 11 of them (= 85%) indicated to have increased their knowledge base, while 7 (= 54%) indicated that they had acquired new skills during the project or expanded their insight in new domains. Two SME’s (= 15%) were able to increase their turnover already during the project, while 7 other SME’s (= 54%) expect this to happen in the next 2 years. In general, the majority of the SME’s involved in the project have positive expectations for the next two years: 50% expect an increase in turnover and 42% expect an increase in profit. Also, the SuperBIO support had a strong impact on employment: based on the questionnaires 53% of the SME’s indicated that the support has already led to hiring 1 to 3 FTE’s. The impact is even higher in the medium term (2 years after the project), where 30 % of the SME’s indicate that the support will lead to hiring 2 FTE’s, and (at least) 93% of the SME’s claim that the impact will be between 2 and 20 FTE’s!
In addition, while Biobased companies make already a substantial contribution to sustainable development, the LCA support offered as innovation service in SuperBIO helped the companies to further optimize their process.