Radix Botanicals wins 1st prize of the BE-BIC Action Lab competition

september 22, 2015

Chair of Jury Van Wechem and Radix Botanicals. Complete Action Lab group. Action Lab jury members

On 18 September 2015, the Radix Botanicals team received the first prize during the awards ceremony of the Action Lab competition, organised by the BE-Basic Business and Innovation Centre (BE-BIC). Five teams of researchers participated in the Action Lab and followed an intensive program to prepare their product development plans. The winning team presented a business pitch about their new technology for the discovery of plant enzymes that can be used to produce natural flavours by fermentation, and received a prize of €20.000,- to help promote the further development of their ideas. Two other teams, MicroLife Solutions and DAB (Delft Advanced Renewables) won an Incentive Prize of €10.000,-.

Valorisation plans

Radix Botanicals is a research team of Wageningen UR with expertise in botany, biochemistry flavours and enzyme and gene discovery from plants. Dirk Bosch: “We see this prize as clear confirmation that our specific plant-related expertise can significantly provide added value to the production chain of plant-based natural products, such as flavours”. Their next steps are to continue market studies and to identify the best product opportunities.

Jury member Peter van Gelderen (General Partner & CIO, Icos Capital): “Radix Botanicals has developed a bio-based technology for producing natural flavours by fermentation instead of extraction or chemical methods. This is an interesting proposition from both a healthy food and sustainability perspective for the large players in the flavour markets. Next to Radix Botanicals, we have seen a number of other interesting teams working with promising biobased technologies that will find their ways into the market as strong business propositions.”

Action Lab

Participants of the Action Lab responded enthusiastic about the event, some commenting they had gained more concrete insights from the program than expected. One participant, Bart Pieterse (Green Waste Support) explains: “The Action Lab was very valuable for me. Without the right focus, you can easily waste a year of research.”

The Action Lab award ceremony took place at the Van der Valk hotel in Leusden and is part of the BE-BIC valorisation activities of BE-Basic Foundation, aimed at researchers and scientists who want to explore the business side of developing the biobased economy. The Action Lab program hosted two 2-day workshops with additional training from June until September 2015, by business coaches Hans Le Fever and Math Kohnen. The expert jury consisted of chairman Herman van Wechem (Chairman of the BE-Basic Supervisory Board), Peter van Gelderen, Bram Ledeboer (Investment partner SHIFT Invest), Ruud Luiten (Strain Conservator, DSM) and Jan van Breugel (formerly CTO / Technology Director Special Projects at Corbion-Purac).

The next step

Chairman of the jury Herman van Wechem is pleased about the results of the Action Lab: “During the Action Lab, the researchers learned in a very efficient way what is needed to transform a good idea into a business plan for a future company, and experienced that business development is quite different from scientific research and development. This will help them tremendously in the development of their future plans. Based on the success of this year’s Action Lab, there will be a next one organised in 2016.” The winning teams of the Action Lab intend to develop their business plans further and will present an update about their venture plans during the ECO-BIO 2016 conference in Rotterdam.