The ten startups of the StartBEC technological support program present their bioeconomy solutions

July 10, 2024

StartBEC

The 10 emerging bioeconomy companies that are part of the StartBEC technological support program, promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) together with the AINIA technology center, have presented the progress in their agri-food innovation projects.

In its first edition, AINIA is technologically accompanying 10 selected startups among 52 projects, to promote their technological innovation projects. To this end, they have a free individualized technological mentoring service that includes: trials and pilot studies, innovation dynamics, technological stays, technological missions, dissemination and visibility, technological surveillance, and advice on R&D&I financing, among others. .

The 10 selected emerging companies presented their technological solutions to promote sustainability and innovation in the agri-food sector, at the Demo Day StartBEC conference held recently at AINIA, and which included the participation of the Secretary of State for Agriculture and Food, Begoña García.

The Secretary of State highlighted research and innovation as “the best tools to respond to the needs of the agricultural sector in Spain. “A strategic, modern and competitive sector, which has demonstrated its resilience and ability to adapt.”

Begoña Ruiz recalled that “the food industry represents 24.900 billion euros, is the destination of 70% of agricultural production and contributes approximately 10% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, it creates more than 2,6 million jobs throughout the value chain.”

For its part, the general director of AINIA, Cristina Del Campo, highlighted the importance of “expanding AINIA's technology transfer work to the entrepreneurial and open innovation ecosystem of the agri-food sector in Spain.” Likewise, he thanked MAPA for the trust placed in the center for the development of this program that was born “with the purpose of energizing the innovation ecosystem in the field of bioeconomy by supporting the development of technology-based startups in different areas and promoting new chains. of innovative value.”

At the opening of the event, the Secretary of State for Agriculture and Food announced the extension until December 1, 2026, of the StartBEC agreement between MAPA and AINIA with an increase of 75.000 euros. Thus, the Ministry will participate with 150.000 annually in the years 2025 and 2026.

Ten technological solutions to advance in bioeconomy applied to agri-food

The draft Bio2Coat aims to fight losses, food waste and waste through its 100% natural and edible film and coating technology. Circular BioProcessia Solutions is developing more sustainable feed with microbial fermentation technology to revalue the sector's by-products and transform them into a natural ingredient with high protein value.

The startup Chlydro aims to offer an innovative solution for the fight against climate change, using aquatic plants and microalgae to absorb atmospheric CO2.Feltwood Ecomaterials investigates to respond to the environmental and social need to replace plastic with sustainable alternative materials with a material of 100% plant origin. Galinsect advances in the revaluation of waste and by-products using insects. MolDrug AI Systems studies the development of tools with advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques that facilitate the identification of compounds of interest by reducing animal testing.

Naturbec Biotechnology is developing formulations from three principles of natural origin to optimize agricultural efficiency and minimize environmental impact. Oscillum Biotechnology is developing smart labeling systems. Remolonas Foods It focuses on connecting surpluses from the beginning of the food chain with final consumers in multi-product baskets. Finally, Väcka Cheese Factory develops vegetable alternatives to cheese, tasty, healthy and of high nutritional quality with revalued raw materials or current waste from the food industry.

Community, dissemination and networking to promote the bioeconomy

Within the framework of the program, the StartBEC Community, which already brings together more than 80 emerging companies in the bioeconomy, and which has launched a platform that provides competitive intelligence services, information on financing and direct contact with AINIA technologists.

In addition, webinars have been organized in areas of interest for startups in the sector and a bootcamp and a hackathon have been organized in which five teams from universities and research centers with notable activity in bioeconomy participated, and in which the UdGreen team from the University of Girona was the winner. Finally, the StartBEC Expert Advisory Committee has been expanded, and an AI-powered application has been launched to encourage interaction between the different agents in the value chain.

Debate and bilateral meetings

During the day, the round table “Bioeconomy, entrepreneurship and startups” also took place. Moderated by deputy director of Innovation and Digitalization of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Maite Ambrós, and in which the Director of Innovation of AINIA, Andrés Pascual; the disseminator specialized in FoodTech, Beatriz Romanos; the director of the Grupo Cajamar Foundation, Manuel Laínez; and the CEO of Perseo Biotechnology, Caterina Coll.

In addition, a networking session was held, in which bilateral meetings were held between startups and corporate companies, investors, companies associated with AINIA and other agents of the innovation ecosystem.

Bioeconomy: a sector with 1,4 million jobs in Spain

According to the latest data from the European Commission, the bioeconomy is a macro sector that in 2020 provided employment to 17M people in the EU, and contributed close to €665 billion to the European economy. In Spain, the bioeconomy sector includes 1,4 million jobs, an added value of 68.500 billion euros and a business volume of 22.900 billion euros, of which approximately 80% correspond to the agri-food sector.

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