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Emerging Bioeconomy Entrepreneurs

Discover some up-and-coming bioeconomy innovators and learn about their ideas.
An entrepreneur holds up a piece of paper with 'innovation' written on it and a series of diagrams and graphs
© University of York/BioYorkshire

As a high-growth sector, the bioeconomy is perfect for innovators – people with ideas who want to develop new products, technologies and processes.

The good news is that there is lots of support out there for would-be bioeconomy entrepreneurs with ambitions to expand upon this as part of the BioYorkshire initiative. which includes a BioYorkshire Accelerator. This will offer strategic advice, mentoring and training for entrepreneurs to accelerate return on investment and market impact, as well as provide competitive match funding to reduce the financial risks associated with investments in start-ups.

Here are some examples of bioeconomy entrepreneurs to inspire you:

Holiferm is a Manchester-based company that has developed technology that can be used to produce biosurfactants. Surfactants are used in personal care products and industrial and institutional cleaners and synthetic surfactants are produced by processing petrochemicals. Holiferm uses yeast naturally found in honey to make their 100% biodegradable bio-based surfactants. Started in 2018 by CEO Ben Dolman, Holiferm recently partnered with BASF with the aim of breaking the dependency of the surfactant market on the unsustainable petrochemical industry.

Lixea are an Imperial College spin-out company that has developed novel chemical processes that convert any type of woody material into bio-derived materials, chemicals, and fuels. Lixea’s CEO and Co-founder Florence Gschwend won the Young Researcher Award at the IChemE Global Awards and has secured 4.3m Euros of funding and investment to scale up their technology.

Starbons started life as a spin-out from the University of York’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and offers a biodegradable sustainable solution for separating one entity from another like a ‘solid sponge’ with a range of applications from gas trapping and purification to biomedical devices. Their products are made from renewable materials, avoid the use of harmful chemicals, and are non-toxic.

Green Rose began at the University of York, where researchers at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence developed a framework to enable science-based solvent substitution. Their mission is to empower the industry to assess, select and develop safer greener solvents.

InsBio has developed technology that can be used to produce raw materials for breeding black soldier fly larvae as a sustainable source of protein. The process will use agricultural residues to produce black soldier fly larvae on a larger scale than was previously possible. InsBio recently won the 2021 final of the Global Biobased Businessplan Competition and Alex Setchfield, a PhD student and Daniel Leadbeater, a Postdoctoral Researcher, both from the University of York hope to form a university spin-out company.

If you were an investor, which idea would you invest in and why? 

© University of York/BioYorkshire
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