Bio-Innovation Support for Entrepreneurs throughout NWE Regions

Project Summary

The BioBase4SME 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. The BioBase4SME project intends to help Start-ups and SME to overcome technological and non-technological barriers to bring their innovation to market. The project is based on three pillars:

  • Free workshops and professional training (see 'events')
  • Innovation Biocamps (see 'events')
  • Innovation vouchers worth up to €100.000.

The support offered through the voucher system can consist of:

  • Technical assistance such as scale-up to pilot scale
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Techno-economic evaluation
  • Market research
  • Feedstock analysis
  • Social acceptance
  • Business planning and business plan support
  • ...

or a combination thereof.

Partners involved are AC3A (France), Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (Belgium), CLIB2021 (Germany), Ghent Bio-Economy Valley (Belgium), Materia Nova (Belgium), NNFCC (UK), REWIN (NL), TCBB Resource (Ireland). 

In the biobased economy lays a big opportunity for Europe. Locally produced biobased feedstocks rather than imported fossil resources are used to produce materials, chemicals, energy… creating a new knowledge and technology intensive economy with high employment potential and with reduced environmental impact.

“BioBase4SME" expects to bring at least 20 promising innovations closer to the market, resulting in new investments and job creation, and provide training to about 200 entrepreneurs active in the biobased economy, thus boosting their innovation capacity. Other main outputs are a strong, interregional network to guide entrepreneurs towards successful innovation, improved regional support for the biobased economy in terms of innovation and investment climate, legal framework and public approval.”

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant vzw 1 Rodenhuizekaai
Name Contact Name Email Country
CLIB2021 Cluster Industrielle Biotechnologie e.V. Katrin Kriebs Germany
Flanders Biobased Valley Sofie Dobbelaere Belgium
REWIN Projecten BV Roel Koevoets Netherlands
Materia Nova Olivier Talon Belgium
The National Non-Food Crop Centre Lucy Montgomery United Kingdom
tcbb RESOURCE Pádraic Ó hUiginn Ireland
Association des Chambres d'Agriculture de l'Arc Atlantique Pascal Dagron France
University of York Elspeth Bartlet United Kingdom




Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant is an open innovation pilot and demonstration facility for process development, scale-up and custom manufacturing of bio-based products and processes from lab to multi ton scale. A wide and flexible spectrum of modular unit operations combined with a team of highly trained and experienced engineers and operators facilitates the translation of lab processes into viable industrial processes.

SERVICES offered within the BioBase4SME INNOVATION COUPON Scheme: 
Technological Scale-up and Industrial Proof-of-Concept

SERVICES: Technological scale-up and industrial proof-of-concept:

Development and scale up of biobased processes i.e. biomass pretreatment, fermentation, biocatalysis, product recovery and purification, if needed under ATEX conditions. The coupon corresponds to a technical feasibility study at pilot scale and can comprise a desktop study, lab work and/or pilot tests performed at Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant. 


Dr Florence Gschwend from Chrysalix Technologies:

“As an early-stage start-up we are always strapped for cash. The BioBase4SME coupon has enabled us to get more value out of the external funding we have received while connecting us to a highly skilled organisation for our scale-up work.”

Flanders Biobased Valley (Ghent, Belgium)

Flanders Biobased Valley is a non-profit organisation supporting the development of sustainable biobased activities and resulting economic growth in the region of Ghent, Belgium. Ghent Bio-Economy Valley promotes the development of the biobased economy of the future through collaborative programs, joint initiatives and synergy creation between the partners in the fields of Research & Development, structural measures and policy, industrial integration and communication towards the general public.

SERVICES: Organisation of Training and Workshops, Networking

MATERIA NOVA (Mons, Belgium)

Established by the University of Mons, Belgium, Materia Nova - Material research and development centre has operated as an autonomous non-profit organisation since 2001 and employs 80 multidisciplinary researchers. Research teams in Materia Nova are mainly involved in activities linked to biobased products: bioplastics, white biotechnology.

Since 2012, Materia Nova has created a Life Cycle Assessment team (YLCA) that has developed within the framework of its R&D projects an expertise in using LCA as a tool for evaluating the environmental performance of innovations and monitoring the innovation process, from early R&D stages up to high TRLs.

Materia Nova’s experience in LCA of biobased products has been growing since the inception of this dedicated unit, with studies about fiberboards, flax-based insulation panels, polylactide production process, polyurethanes and NIPUs from renewable resources or extraction of cellulose nanocrystals.

SERVICES offered within the BioBase4SME INNOVATION COUPON Scheme: 
Life-cycle assessment (LCA) of biobased processes

The Innovation Coupons offer access to à la carte LCA SERVICES by Materia Nova

The coupon will enable to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from cradle to grave (i.e. from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling). LCA can help SMEs to avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns even at R&D or scaling-up stages (e.g. selection of the best environmentally friendly pathway to produce). The LCA service is meant to be used as a tool for eco-designing the developed product/process and will provide results that may in fine be used for product environmental footprint declaration.

Materia Nova will provide a wide range of Life Cycle Thinking services for SMEs

  • From eco-design coaching with limited scope…
  • … up to a cradle-to-grave complete LCA comparing your biobased product with benchmark.


VIDEO: “What benefits can SMEs expect from a life cycle journey? CLICK here and Check the feedback of SMEs involved in the LCiP project!”



“What benefits can SMEs expect from a life cycle journey? CLICK here and Check the feedback of SMEs involved in the LCiP project!”

Dr. Frank Kensy, Smart Bioprocess, Germany:

“I believe LCA is a great tool which should be applied throughout the whole bioprocess development phases. The BioBase4SME seminar on LCA gave me a good overview on industrial practice and theoretical background.”


BioBase4SME organised several workshops and trainings on LCA topics. Please, go to our EVENT section to find out more. 

REWIN West-Brabant (Breda, The Netherlands)

The regional development company REWIN West-Brabant promotes the growth of employment and strengthens the innovative capacity of the West-Brabant region of the Netherlands. We do this on behalf of our shareholders, the West-Brabant municipalities.

REWIN has been achieving successful results for 30 years. We do this proactively, professionally and result-oriented. The region attracts entrepreneurs and businesses with innovative strength and growth potential to West Brabant by focusing on the region’s three top sectors: biobased economy, logistics and maintenance.

REWIN West-Brabant initiates business development plans and innovative projects within and between these sectors. We stimulate partnerships between businesses, research institutions and centers of expertise and generate more innovative potential.

SERVICES offered within the BioBase4SME INNOVATION COUPON Scheme:
Application testing of Biopolymers, Natural Fibres, Natural colors, Agricultural breeds/crops, Green Chemistry and Lignin

The Innovation Coupons offer access to application testing in several application testing centers, these services are facilitated by REWIN West-Brabant (Breda, The Netherlands), a regional development agency.

Below you can find a list of Application Centers and an indication of the services they can offer. The centers characterize themselves by pragmatism and there extensive network which means they can offer more than is possible to inventory.

BAC (Biopolymer Application Center) 

  • Material selection
  • Material research
  • Product design
  • Product prototyping
  • 3D design and printing
  • 3D scanning
  • Injection molding
  • Compounding
  • 3D printing of trial mold
  • Proof of concept with trial mold
  • Market research and exploration
  • Campaign development

KlAC (Colorants Application Center)

  • Development of new applications using bio colorants
  • Extracting of biobased colorants
  • Determining of properties by ISO-standards
  • Advise and support for research of new biobased colorants
  • Facility sharing

NAC (Natural Fibers Application Center)

  • Recipe and business case development for paper, cardboard and composites (thermoplast and thermoset)
  • To process fibers the facilities: grinders, refiners, milling, pilot paper machine (till 50 kg) and a 3D heat press
  • Knowledge and laboratory equipment to qualify the properties of fibers
  • 3D-printer

Rusthoeve, Biobased Innovation Garden

  • Material selection
  • Breeding crops
  • Optimization of breeds
  • Connection industry to farmers
  • Storing of biobased raw materials
  • Searching for new applications

Biorizon Lignin Application Center

  • Analytics and characterization throughout the value chain (lignin, fractions, modified lignins and polymers)
  • Purification of lignin derived streams
  • Fractionation of mixtures of bio-aromatics issued from the conversion of lignin/wood (‘lignin oils’)
  • Modification/functionalization of lignin derived streams/fractions
  • Polymerization of lignin derived streams/fractions
  • Application testing of lignin derived molecules/polymers
  • Lab and pilot infrastructure
CLIB2021 (Düsseldorf, Germany)

CLIB2021 is an international open innovation cluster of large companies from the chemical and bio-based industry, SMEs, academic institutes and universities as well as other stakeholders active in industrial biotechnology and the bioeconomy. The membership of the cluster comprises an international share of about 30%. CLIB aims to network its members across value chains within and beyond the cluster to initiate new research and business projects. Another task is to inform policy makers about chances the bioeconomy offers and to signal challenges to overcome. The cluster’s goal is to establish the bioeconomy in industrial application.

SERVICES: Organisation of Workshops, Trainings and Networking 

Association des Chambres d’Agriculture de l’Arc Atlantique, AC3A (Atlantic Area, France)

AC3A is a network of the French Chambers of agriculture from the Atlantic Area. The Chambers of Agriculture have a public responsibility to prepare farmers and rural businesses to face today’s most important issues (environment, productivity, policy…). To support the Chambers in this process, AC3A was set up to develop new, innovative solutions for farming, via European cooperation. Involving stakeholders in a series of activities to establish relationships is essential, and will lead to an SME being able to form a strong and well-communicated company mission statement and clear long-term vision. “Social acceptance” is the result of this involvement process.


AC3A is an expert in Social Acceptance studies and training. Many companies implementing emerging technologies encounter at some stage barriers or objections from consumers or local stakeholders.

It is important to be aware that the stakeholders affected by a new product or process go way beyond the SME’s customer base.  Involving stakeholders in a series of activities to establish relationships is essential, and will lead to an SME being able to form a strong and well-communicated company mission statement and clear long-term vision. “Social acceptance” is the result of this involvement process.

SERVICES: AC3A offers 'social acceptance' training to SMEs and provides them with a complete panel of technologies and marketing tools to obtain social acceptance and thus to inform and consult local stakeholders. Social acceptance is to avoid investments that will be protested against by the neighbourhood thus decreases SME development risks. Moreover it interests the neighbourhood (local customers) in the new products.


You can DOWNLOAD HERE a Training Guide to Social Acceptance


Amber van Dillen, Founder SEADISH, The Netherlands:

"The next day I already got the chance to add my experience from the Social Acceptance Training into a business meeting. So I was STOKED! I am looking forward to the next follow-up."

NNFCC, The Bioeconomy Consultants (York, UK)

NNFCC is a specialist business consultancy focussed on the bioeconomy. NNFCC consults on a range of topics, particularly markets and regulations for bio-based feedstocks, technologies, and products. NNFCC aims to analyse, explain and de-risk the bioeconomy for their clients, who include technology developers, investors, energy companies, manufacturers, brand owners, governments and universities.

SERVICES offered within the BioBase4SME INNOVATION COUPON Scheme:
Market landscape reviews, stakeholder mapping, strategic market reviews...

The Innovation Coupons offer access to the services of NNFCC, the bioeconomy consultants (York, UK) 

NNFCC is a specialist business consultancy focussed on the bioeconomy. NNFCC undertakes market landscape reviews providing information on market size, geographical breakdown, product value, key stakeholders and industry trends. Stakeholder mapping exercises are performed to provide insight into key actors with value chains, supply chains or innovation chains. Stakeholder mapping includes competitor and potential collaborator analysis. NNFCC also offer strategic market reviews covering political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE) considerations, as a basis for trend impact analysis. Strategic reviews are completed with strengths, opportunities, threats and weaknesses (SWOT) analysis and recommendations for next steps. For longer term market research NNFCC are also able to offer horizon scanning and scenario planning.


Dr Ed Marshall, CTO Plaxica states:

Plaxica is delighted with the quality of work produced by the NNFCC on this BioBase4SME-funded project. The objective of the study appeared to be well-understood from an early stage – but the rather open-ended nature of some of Plaxica’s questions meant that some ambiguity and uncertainty was to be expected. Regular review meetings throughout the study allowed both parties to refine the overall approach and resulted in a report that is comprehensive, relevant and very useful in helping Plaxica identify the products and companies to target in short and medium terms.

The quality of the written report is exceptional and warrants particular praise. Literature searches have been recorded in full, meaning that the output of the study will remain relevant to Plaxica for a significant period of time. Arguments for and against each candidate molecule are explained lucidly, and the report strikes an excellent balance between reviewing production technologies and commercial aspects (e.g. applications, likely growth factors, global geographical issues).

We would not hesitate to strongly recommend similar projects to other SMEs in the bio-based products field.

University of York (York, UK)

The University of York is a world leader in research on novel agricultural products and green chemistry with a particular focus on second generation fuels & chemicals, high value chemicals from from plants and microbes and adding value to biowaste. Its subsiduary, the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) bridges the gap between the science base at the University of York and the needs of industry to develop and scale-up new greener processes and products. The University and the BDC are both founding members of the the innovation cluster, BioVale, which helps regional enterprise profit from the valuable business opportunities in the knowledge-based bioeconomy. 


The University of York is responsible for design and delivery of Innovation Biocamps. These are aimed at young, innovative companies with high growth potential which are operating in the knowledge based bioeconomy. The Biocamps comprise a week of intensive training, mentoring and peer to peer learning, culminating in a pitch to a panel of specialist investors.

For more information, go to our events and news pages.  

tcbb RESOURCE (Ireland)

tcbb RESOURCE collaborates with higher-education research groups, enterprises and state agencies in publicly-funded programmes to support industry in the transition towards a low-carbon economy. It is a test-bed for bio-based innovation, scale-up, demonstration and pilot technology for resource recovery and renewable gas. 

It's keywords: Bioeconomy, circular economy, clean-tech resource efficiency & resource recovery, advanced anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis.  

tcbb RESOURCE is a participant in the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine-funded BioÉire project. 

tcbb RESOURCE is Ireland's representative on the International Energy Agency (IEA) Task 42 Biorefining, sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). 

tcbb RESOURCE is a partner in the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded OF-PYR project - Valorisation of composted organic fines and sewage sludge using pyrolysis. tcbb RESOURCE was lead partner and co-ordinator for the Irish Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) RDD Programme 2017 funded ReBIOGEN report, which developed a model for recovery of energy from residual biomass.

SERVICES offered within the BioBase4SME INNOVATION COUPON Scheme:
Pilot line for anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis

tcbb RESOURCE will operate two central pre-pilot test lines at an integrated pre-pilot facility to provide advanced anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis tests. These test lines will be available in a co-located facility allowing for integrated pre-pilot testing, using both advanced anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis to assist innovators with preliminary process development, scale-up and validation (TRL4) prior to engaging sophisticated pilot plant resources for final process optimisation. tcbb RESOURCE will provide industrial proof of concept tests bringing biobased developments from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 (validated in lab) up to TRL 6 (demonstrated in a relevant environment). Basic research and commercialisation are thus excluded. In 2018 tcbb RESOURCE has added biomass testing and compositional analysis to its suite of services available through BioBase4SME.

The SERVICES at the integrated pre-pilot will be of benefit to the following SME sectors across all of the North-West Europe region: e.g. dairy processing facilities for low-temperature, high-rate AD wastewater treatment; cheese producers for whey by-products for functional foods and nutraceuticals; apple and other fruit processors (fruit pulp); brewers; marine and sea fisheries sector; forestry wastes and by-products.

DOWNLOAD here the folder on the Irish Pre-Pilot Facility.  

The BioBase4SME is kindly co-financed by:

Within BioBase4SME, innovation coupons are offered to SME’s and start-ups. These coupons provide access to innovation services for obtaining proof-of-concept of a promising biobased technology, and for developing a strong business strategy. The offered services can be summarized as follows:

Service provider   Short service description

Service value (€)

% of support 

Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BE) Technological scale-up and industrial proof-of-concept in a multipurpose pilot plant. For lab to kilo or ton scale.

Max of 100.000€

50% supported by the project

Materia Nova (BE)  Life Cycle Analysis + ECO-design

Max of 25.000€

50% supported by the project

NNFCC, the bioeconomy consultants (UK) Market research, Value chain assessment, Business plan coaching

Max. of 10.000€

50% supported by the project

Association des Chambres d'Agriculture de l'Arc Atlantique (FR) Developing Dialogue with your stakeholder and creating social acceptance

Max of 25.000€

50% supported by the project

REWIN projecten BV (NL) Testing of new biomass as feedstock + Application Test Centers for fibers, colourants, coatings and lignin

Max. 4000€

100% supported by the project

tcbb RESOURCE (IE) Anaerobic digestion tests and pyrolysis tests in dedicated pilot lines; biomass testing and analysis 50% supported by the project

1. Who can apply for an Innovation Coupon?

All small and medium enterprises (SME’s), and potential start-ups from North West Europe can apply. An SME is an enterprise with less than 250 employees and a revenue of at most €50 million. Potential start-ups are defined as 'almost SMEs with a promising technology and a concrete spin-out plan.

Please, carefully read the 'Terms of reference' for all information on criteria, conditions, application and selection procedure.


2. How to apply for an Innovation Coupon?

The call is continuously open from 1/9/2016 until 24/05/2019 (while coupons for the specific service lasts; first come first served)

Contact the BIO-INNOVATION AGENT in your region. He/she will guide you through the process and can assist you in completing the short application form. 


3. Important documents:

You can download all important documents by clicking on the links below:


By August 2019 the BioBase4SME Project...

  • Reached out to over 650 SMEs with bio innovation support for entrepreneurs throughout the NWE regions.
  • Granted Innovation Coupons to 63 SMEs with a total amount of over 1,5 Mio € spend on SMEs.
  • Enhanced innovation performance in 17 Workshops through interaction between different stakeholders.
  • In 11 Trainings outfit entrepreneurs with practical knowledge regarding important aspects of innovation in the biobased economy.
  • Organisation of 3 Innovation Biocamps with in total 56 young entrepreneurs


BioBase4SME on Social Media

Active Twitter account: @BioBase4SME (status by 25.08.2019: 1157 tweets, >1400 followers)

Global Biobased Businessplan Competition (G-BiB) for youngest entrepreneurs. A competition for students in Germany and Belgium to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation producing a bio-renewable chemical, material and/or fuel products.

BioVoice an ongoing initiative by REWIN. BioBase4SME network could scout companies from NWE for challenges with biobased solutions. A first run took place in the Netherlands and should be broadened up, so the reach towards SMEs in the NWE area will be bigger.

Innovation BioCamp

Biocamps are intensive, fully funded entrepreneurship training for biobased SMEs

BioBase4SME Investments

  • Pilot facility for anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis in Ireland, Irish Pre-Pilot flyer
  • New Equipment installed: New hopper, syngas kit, AD pump, milling & pelletisation unit, GC

BioBase4SME Partnership for us means

  • Two project meetings per year
  • Monthly teleconference
  • Daily contact with partners 
  • 50 % of the project partners are represented by females; 3 of 4 main leadership roles in the project are held by females
  • Memorandum of Understanding to continue the BioBase4SME Network

Bio-Innovation Agents and other relevant contacts:

Our network of Bio-Innovations Agents acts as your access point to the BioBase4SME project. You can contact them regarding anything related to the BioBase4SME project: training, bio-camps, workshops, innovation vouchers...



Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

  • BioBase4SME Project Coordinator: Tanja Meyer – +32 (0)492 25 55 37
  • BioBase4SME Project Assistance: Charlotte Gijselinck – +32 (0)9 335 70 01
  • Services: Process development and scale-up incl. techno-economic evaluation, networking

Flanders Biobased Valley

  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for Flanders: Sofie Dobbelaere
  • Services: Networking, Training, Workshops

Materia Nova

  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for Wallonia: Olivier Talon
  • Services: Life-Cycle Assessment, Training, Workshops




  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for France: Pascal Dagron
  • Services: Social acceptance, Training, Workshops




  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for Germany: Katrin Kriebs
  • Services: Networking, Training, Workshops



TCBB Resource 

  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for Ireland: Bart Bonsall
  • Services: pilot equipment for anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis, biomass testing and compositional analysis, including life-cycle analysis of materials, training, workshops




  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for The NetherlandsDennis van der Pas
  • Services: Application testing, training, workshops, networking




  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for UK: Lucy Montgomery
  • Services: Market research, feedstock analysis, business plan support, training, workshops, innovation bootcamps, networking


  • BIO-INNOVATION AGENT for UK: Elspeth Bartlet

  • Services: networking, dialogue and partnerships, specialised training, facilities, funding and other support, innovation bootcamps

Webinars are interactive sessions to introduce non-technical and technical innovation services to SME to build up their innovation capacity. 

Non-technical services offered for bio-based innovation

LCA, Market Research, Social Acceptance

Non-technical service webinar

Technical services offered for bio-based innovation

Scale up, AD/Pyrolysis, Application testing

Technical service webinar

New crops for the local bioeconomy

Webinar from May 2019

New crops for the local bioeconomy

Life Cycle Assessment and eco-design

Why should I prove it's green? It's BIO!

LCA and eco-design I

Life Cycle Assessment and eco-design

What is LCA?

LCA and eco-design II

Life Cycle Assessment and eco-design

LCA & ecodesign services

LCA and eco-design III

BioBase4SME Project Video

Bio-Innovation Support for SMEs

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