BlueChem is the first incubator in Belgium that specifically focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship insustainable chemistry. It is a unique collaboration between government, industry and knowledge institutions with the joint ambition of offering young companies the best chance of success in developing sustainable and pioneering innovations for the chemical industry of the future.
BlueChem, located in the climate-neutral business park Blue Gate Antwerp, offers customised lab infrastructure, tailored services and direct access to knowledge and expertise within anextensive networkof international chemical companies, renowned research centres and all five Flemish universities.
The chemical industry, an important and strategic sector for the Belgian economy, has made considerable efforts in the area of sustainability in recent years. Nevertheless, just like society as a whole, the chemical sector faces major challenges in the transition to a circular economy and in developing solutions to the challenge of climate change.
In BlueChem, twelve promising start-ups and university spin-offs are now working on new recycling techniques, crucial climate technologies for the capture and reuse of CO2, circular production processes and more sustainable food production. In the chemical sector, it takes a lot of time, courage and money to successfully scale up such innovations from a lab setting to industrial application.
BNP Paribas Fortis: a leader in sustainable entrepreneurship
From the start in May 2020, BNP Paribas Fortis joined BlueChem as a strategic partner, helping start-ups and scale-ups find investors and set up their business structures. But the bank itself can also act as an investor in sustainable developments. This is fully in line with the bank’s efforts to promote sustainable entrepreneurship.
BNP Paribas Fortis has a centre of expertise, the Sustainable Business Competence Centre, that closely follows innovative, sustainable developments and uses this knowledge to support companies in their sustainability transition. As an exclusive participating bank, BNP Paribas Fortis offers start-ups access to a wide network, helps structure the financing of their projects and fine-tunes a future-proof business plan.
The innovative growth company Triple Helix is one of the first companies to move into BlueChem and has been supported by the bank from the start. They are preparing the construction of 'SurePure', a unique, next-generation recycling plant to process polyurethane waste streams for reuse in new applications.
Steven Peleman, Managing Partner Triple Helix Group: "By regularly talking to us from the start and listening to our needs, the bank itself identifies the areas in which it can best support our company. And I’m not just talking about the financial situation. For example, BNP Paribas Fortis is also on the lookout for new strategic partners, helping us to strengthen our credibility and bringing in potential investors. After all, for our circular business model, a highly developed ecosystem is crucial and a bank that looks beyond the purely financial is a real added value."
Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking & Member of the Executive Board : "We are very proud to be a partner of BlueChem, which, like our bank, feels strongly about sustainable development and open innovation. We are pleased to make our network and expertise available to this very important industry for our country. If the chemical sector reduces its ecological footprint, it will have an immediate and important impact on the climate. It is therefore a deliberate choice to immediately extend our partnership with BlueChem by three years. Through these initiatives, we aim to help companies and sectors meet the conditions set out in the European Green Deal, the European Commission’s plan to make the European Union climate neutral by 2050.”
Barbara Veranneman, Chairperson BlueChem NV and Director International Affairs essenscia: “BlueChem is running at full speed and this success is partly due to its strong strategic partnerships like that with BNP Paribas Fortis. As a result, with our incubator for sustainable chemistry, we offer not only the right accommodation in the right place – extensive lab infrastructure close to one of the largest chemical clusters in the world – but also a specialised, tailor-made service. This access to top expertise is a special asset allowing start-ups and scale-ups to be optimally guided and to focus on their core task: bringing sustainable innovations to the market. We would like to thank BNP Paribas Fortis for this long-term relationship of trust and look forward to working together to build the sustainable chemistry for the future.”
Press Contacts :
Gert Verreth | Director Communication & Spokesperson essenscia
+32 (0)477 46 42 27
BlueChem (www.bluechem.be/en/) is the first incubator in Flanders and Belgium, and one of the few in Europe that focuses specifically on sustainable chemistry. It is a unique collaboration between industry, government and knowledge institutions with the joint ambition of helping promising innovations from start-up and young companies active in sustainable chemistry and circular economy to grow to an industrial scale in order to further strengthen the economically-important chemical sector in Flanders.
Project partners in BlueChem NV are the main shareholder essenscia - the Belgian federation of the chemical industry and life sciences sector - POM (Provincial Development Company) of Antwerp, the city of Antwerp and VITO. Together, they form the Board of Directors, supplemented by Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for innovation in chemicals and plastics that coordinates the Flemish government’s Moonshot programme for climate innovation from BlueChem.
The incubator BlueChem opened in May 2020 and offers specialized lab infrastructure, office space and extensive services. Strategic partners, BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Deloitte Legal, Port of Antwerp, SAS Institute and SGS Belgium offer a tailor-made service. Partner companies Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS and Vopak provide a strong connection with the chemical industry.
BlueChem can count on financial support from the Flemish government through the Hermes Fund (EUR 868,397) and European support through ERDF, the European Regional Development Fund (EUR 3.47 million). The City of Antwerp supports young entrepreneurs with the BlueChem Kickstart Fund (EUR 3.4 million), which offers tenants in BlueChem financial support in setting up their laboratories. These start-ups have already chosen BlueChem: Allegro, A-Maze, Arpadis, Calidris Bio, Creaflow, D-CRBN, IBEVE, Inopsys, MeaTech, Peace of Meat, PUXANO and Triple Helix Group.
BNP Paribas Fortis (www.bnpparibasfortis.com) offers the Belgian market a comprehensive range of financial services for private individuals, the self-employed, professionals, companies and public organisations. In the insurance sector, BNP Paribas Fortis works closely, as a tied agent, with Belgian market leader AG Insurance. At international level, the Bank also provides high-net-worth individuals, large corporations and public and financial institutions with customised solutions, for which it is able to draw on the know-how and international network of the BNP Paribas Group.
BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is the European Union’s leading bank and key player in international banking. It operates in 68 countries and has more than 193,000 employees, including nearly 148,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main fields of activity: Retail Banking for the Group’s retail-banking networks and several specialised businesses including BNP Paribas Personal Finance and Arval ; Investment & Protection Services for savings, investment and protection solutions ; and Corporate & Institutional Banking, focused on corporate and institutional clients. Based on its strong diversified and integrated model, the Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, BNP Paribas has four domestic markets: Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg. The Group is rolling out its integrated retail-banking model across several Mediterranean countries, Turkey, Eastern Europe as well as via a large network in the western part of the United States. As a key player in international banking, the Group has leading platforms and business lines in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific.
BNP Paribas has implemented a Corporate Social Responsibility approach in all its activities, enabling it to contribute to the construction of a sustainable future, while ensuring the Group's performance and stability.