The Blue Bio Value Acceleration Programme, one of the only in the world focused on blue biotechnology, accelerated 18 startups from 12 countries (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, Canada, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, and Chile).
In its 5th edition the programme, promoted by Oceano Azul Foundation and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in partnership with BLUEBIO Alliance and implemented by MAZE, received 84 applications from 39 countries and 5 continents, which demonstrates the growth of this sector, both in Portugal and internationally.
New biomaterials, food and fisheries sustainability, restoration of marine habitats, and coastal water monitoring are some of the areas developed by the startups. In common, all projects offer solutions in areas that contribute to the sustainable use of the ocean and to the development of new technologies.
“Blue Bio Value seeks to attract ideas as powerful as the ocean. Highly innovative, sustainable, and carbon neutral solutions are needed to transform our model of economic development” says Ana Brazão, manager of the project at Oceano Azul Foundation. Ana adds that “The increase in applications to the programme in the last 5 years, especially from new geographies, shows the growing dynamism of the blue biotechnology sector, strengthening the attractiveness of Portugal internationally”.
Blue Bio Value Acceleration is a 7-week programme structured in 5-week remote and 2-week in-person. In October, the 18 startups were in Lisbon networking, meeting investors and possible business partners, visiting R&D centers and companies related to blue biotechnology, and convincing the jury in the Final Pitch which took place on November 2.
The most outstanding startups were awarded a value of 45,000 € that will be used in the development of their technological processes through BLUEBIO Alliance’s Blue Demo Network*.
This year’s winners were Exogenus Therapeutics from Portugal aiming at transforming by-products from the microalgae industry into nanovesicle-based health care solutions, Proteon Pharmaceuticals based in Poland that develop bacteriophage-based feed additives for aquaculture, and Sophie’s BioNutrients from the Netherlands which produce plant-based proteins made of microalgae.
Other startups include businesses linked to the restoration of marine ecosystems, the sustainable production of algae for purposes such as food and cosmetics, linked to technologies for coastal monitoring and prevention of risks associated with climate change or the sustainability of fishing activities.
With annual editions since 2018, the Blue Bio Value Programme has already contributed to accelerate 77 companies from 24 nationalities which, through this initiative, acquired business management skills and received guidance from a wide range of mentors.
*The Blue Demo Network is a growing Hub for blue-based entrepreneurs that brings together a series of infrastructures and services in Portugal, accessible for blue tech-based startups and SME’s.