07/01/2022 | Spotlight
Europe is fast becoming something of a hub for start-ups; surprising perhaps when you think that only a few years ago, many of its leading lights were considered overly traditional and even, when seen in a global context, somewhat risk-averse compared to the sort of corporate landscapes that were producing corporate game-changers such as Amazon and Facebook.
But recent years have seen something of a sea-change with hotspots emerging in the likes of Berlin, London and Oslo turning the heads of investors – and with countries such as Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands heralding new levels of digital excellence within arguably the world’s largest, and geographically advantaged economy.
This, in part, thanks to a new breed of entrepreneurs emerging from a culture that embraces confidence over caution within the knowledge that, if they can make a case to back a good idea, there are those who will be more than willing to listen, from home-grown angels to those in Silicon Valley who may be prepared to travel.
And while this embraces all sectors, the process industries have traditionally been comparatively slow in getting on board, thanks to a number of factors such as a lack of inspiring role models, a shortage of economic education and the abundance of safe, well-paid corporate jobs that are hard to break free from. High levels of investment and time to market, particularly in the case of chemical processes, were another block to what could be a thriving start-up landscape.
All of which is why, for the third time, entrepreneurial scientists, future founders and owners of start-ups were invited to apply for the ACHEMA Start-Up Award. Its significance is clear: innovations within chemistry, process engineering and biotechnology can fundamentally improve technologies and products on a broad scale. Organisers pointed out at the launch of the initiative: “People with good ideas as well as young companies, need support in order to bring innovations to the market and open up new business fields. This requires access to experienced mentors, a strong network and financial resources.”
The difference this time is that the call-out was on an international scale, one that resulted in more than 30 applications being put before an expert jury who selected the best ten on the basis of their business plans and sheer innovation. All ten of them will be at ACHEMA 22 in August where they will be able to demonstrate their ideas, take part in networking discussions and three of the best will win prizes, or in more practical terms – cash-injections - of €10,000 each.
Meanwhile, here are the ten finalists and a brief description of their offerings:
As for support, the initiative has had strong backing from the outset: The ACHEMA Start-up Award is presented by DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V., DECHEMA Ausstellungs-GmbH and the Business Angels FrankfurtRheinMain e.V. and High-Tech Gründerfonds.
The ACHEMA Start-up Prize is also supported by the German Chemical Society (GDCh), the Association of German Engineers (VDI), the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) as well as the Business Angels Network Germany and the Forum Startup Chemie.
Editor's note: Semodia, Pipe Predict and Lumatix Biotech emerged as winners from the competition. They received the ACHEMA Start-up Award 2022 with their solutions for "Plug and Produce" in modular plants, Predictive Maintenance in pipelines and for the insulation of antibodies - congratulations!
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