Our industry must change, we have known that for a long time. But the necessary innovations and new technologies have to overcome many hurdles before they really make an impact on an industrial scale. One of these hurdles often already is the first step from an application-oriented research topic towards a real application, that is commercially relevant. The Global Biobased Business Plan Competition (G-BiB) has been fostering this challenge once more in its fourth edition in 2021/2022. The student competition educates and accompanies teams with innovative business ideas in the field of biobased processes and products and awards the best idea with a prize.
In 2022 the final of the G-BiB enriched the programme of the CLIB International Conference and offered all visitors an insight into the two finalist ideas:
The “magic methyl effect” is a well-known phenomenon where the addition of a methyl group to a drug can lead to an increase in potency. This effect is often probed for in the early stages of drug discovery, as the potential payoff can be high. Chemical methylation, however, is performed under harsh conditions, uses toxic methylation agents, and is not selective – which is crucial for accessing target compounds during the development stage of pharmaceuticals. To counter these problems, the Methylation (im)possible team wants to offer a methylation kit based on the use of highly selective biocatalysts to be used in screening approaches, ultimately leading to shorter development times, lower productions costs and a greener footprint in drug discovery and production.
The Oater team envisions a holistic oat milk eco-system for cafés and retailers centred around a compact IoT machine, “The Oater”. This machine which is just the size of a professional coffee machine produces freshly fermented oat milk directly at the point of sale. The local production enables customers to consume fresh and tasty oat milk with the best foam qualities. They can enjoy seeing how oats are being fermented to healthy milk in front of their nose and can get rid of long-life Tetra Packs from the shelf. Cafés and retailers who use their eco-system can reduce costs and their environmental footprint by saving up to 90 % in waste and emissions. This enables them to attract more customers, offer a unique experience in their shops and gain market shares in one of the fastest-growing food segments.
Both teams pitched their idea in front of the close to 200 participants following the conference on site and online. A jury board formed by investors and experts evaluated the business ideas and presentations. Friedrich Barth, CEO & Founder of the Global Entrepreneurship Centre, Dr. Jens Busse, Investment Director at Evonik Venture Capital, Dr. Claas Heise, Executive Director at the NRW.Bank, Dr. Nikolaus Raupp, Investment Manager at the High-Tech Gründerfonds and Rob van der Meij, Partner at Capricorn Partners really had a tough job choosing one winning team among the two very different ideas.
After a long discussion, they decided to hand the final award and 5.000 Euro prize money sponsored by the Global Entrepreneurship Centre, to the team Oater. Both teams will stay active and use the network built during the competition to develop their business idea.