The Campus Connect event on 17 November was dedicated to the exchange of knowledge on funding opportunities and cooperation within the ecosystem of Wageningen Campus. The aim is to accelerate innovations towards the market. Entrepreneurs and subsidy providers shared their mutual experiences of their collaboration. The networking drinks afterwards generated many new contacts and connections.
At the Impulse meeting centre, a large number of visitors were welcomed on the 17th of November in the afternoon. Gerlinde van Vilsteren, Value Creation project manager and team leader of the 'Knowledge for Society' group at WUR, remarked in her introduction that she was pleased with the large interest for the event. 'We share the same starting point,' she states. 'Our shared mission is to bring knowledge to society and accelerate innovation in the market. The central question of the day was: who can we collaborate with and how can we organise funding around innovative ideas and products to bring them to market faster? Let us be inspired.
Various grant opportunities - Wageningen Grant Office
Peter Jongebloed Senior Advisor Wageningen Grant Office (WGO) Peter emphasized that there are many and various grant opportunities, each with a different focus. 'Some grants are more focused on scientific research, others are more focused on adding economic value, or making societal impact. ' There are regional, national,transnational, European and international grants. Specific grants for start-ups and SME are available and grants for different types of consortia, public-private, public-public.' It is very important to know which grant best suits your projectidea of innovation proposal, says Jongebloed. 'Wageningen Grant Office has a complete map of all possible grants regarding WUR domains. However, it is not easy to write a winning proposal. The success rate is relatively low, especially for European grants. But WUR offers plenty of support in this. Also, staff of Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), Oost NL and the Operational Programme East (OP Oost) can be of great support. ' There is a great potential for collaborations, there are many grants that call for different types of stakeholders.'
Jongebloed draws attention to the Wageningen Grant Office's Research and Innovation Funding Newsletter, which is currently sent to 100 partners of WUR. He advises everyone to subscribe to this newsletter. If a grant seems interesting, please contact the experts for advice.
Opportunities for EFRO - strengthening regional economy
Edgar Schwandt from start-up Salut, and Marcel de Haan, Senior Advisor Project Management at OP Oost, highlighted the opportunities related to EFRO grants. De Haan is jointly responsible for the European Regional Development Fund (EFRO) in Eastern Netherlands: 'The first objective of EFRO is to strengthen the regional economy in the Netherlands. One of the themes a subsidy can be applied for is food and technology.' Salut is developing a platform that encourages Dutch people to live healthily. 'Since it is a broad topic, we are now focusing on helping the elderly with healthier eating habits,' Schwandt says. 'We work together with three partners, including WUR and OnePlanet. OnePlanet knows the funding landscape well. We inspired each other and collectively, were doing better and faster together. ' According to De Haan, the EFRO subsidy was very suitable to Salut, as EFRO focusses on innovation and cooperation.
'Currently it is possible to submit proposals,' Marcel de Haan tips off. 'We focus more on energy. We have developed building blocks for a successful application, for example, products must be smart, innovative and sustainable and the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) has to be between 5 and 8’.
Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) - information, advice and funding
Corjan van den Berg, founder of start-up Revyve and Elke Evers from the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) inspired the audience with their experiences. Revyve focuses on developing plant-based products based on residual streams from breweries. 'It wasn't easy to find funding,' says Corjan van den Berg, 'but it worked out in the end'. FUMI Ingredients, Revyve’s predecessor, Corjan had already been able to use several grants, such as Horizon Europe and the MIT grant. 'We tried the EIC Accelerator. Unfortunately that failed. Eventually we succeeded with an EFRO grant.' RVO collaborated with Corjan on the further expansion of Revyve. 'We are able to investigate the possibilities, map the competition, see where the funding opportunities are and contact the Fastlane scheme, says Evers. 'High investments are likely better off forfunding by InvestNL.'
Horizon Europe - research and innovation programme
Marc Arts, founder of GreenFood50, and Saske Hoving from RVO and Horizon Europe, both emphasized that it is important to really know what you’re aiming for when applying for a subsidy. GreenFood50 develops ingredients for the food industry. Arts: ‘Gradually we learned that it is important to describe what you want to achieve and not to focus primarily on getting money. In addition, working in consortia is very valuable. But my tip is again not to lean too heavily on each other, but to stay active and alert yourself. Think about the customers too, not only on the form of cooperation.'
Oost NL's Growth Accelerator - initiative for SMEs
Innogusto B.V. is a company that develops plant-based concepts for Italian cuisine, for example meat substitutes for inside wraps and sandwiches. The company took advantage of Oost NL's De Groeiversneller (The Growth Accelerator). 'The Growth Accelerator gave us a good network,' says Mattéo Piano, founding partner of Innogusto B.V. 'The interesting thing was that we first wanted to focus on retail. But when this new network put us in touch with a sales agent in the UK, it turned out that we were better off focusing on food service. That turned out to be a success. We could not have thought of that ourselves beforehand. As a result, we managed to dive into the market the right way during corona time.' The Growth Accelerator can be used once a year. It is not a complex process, but it is certainly important to proceed carefully. Bart Heuts of Oost NL invites interested parties to get in touch.
WBSO, MIT and TKI - PNO consultants
TOP b.v. is a service provider specialising in practical innovation for the food industry. 'We are there to create new initiatives and support technological market introductions, says Wouter de Heij, CEO of TOP b.v. And that cannot be done without subsidies, such as ERDF, WBSO, MIT and TKI and the help of subsidy consultants. Most successes are due to collaborative projects and partnerships.' Wouter had two tips for subsidised projects: focus on the timekeeping system (not standard in companies) and on reporting.
Call for collaboration
Tjerna Ellenbroek, Relations Liason at FoodValley NL gave a presentation on Global Foodture, an initiative to accelerate the sustainable food transition worldwide through cooperation and innovation. Her presentation is a call for collaboration. 'We want to boost sustainable transition in four markets: in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand,' she said. 'To this end, we are constantly looking for partners and collaborators. Participation is open. Think about themes such as sustainable packaging and digitalisation. We give thematic workshops and it is possible to join a working trip to the four countries. On this trip, we will visit companies and go to a congress on innovation. There are pitch opportunities there for your own product or idea.' Global Foodture was developed in collaboration with RVO.
It can be concluded that this Campus Connect provided plenty of inspiration to boost new initiatives, ideas and projects. Much is possible by making the right contacts and harnessing the collaboration and financing potential that exists within Wageningen's innovation ecosystem.
For more information and on various possibilities, contact Peter Jongebloed of the Wageningen Grant Office.