Economic Board Groningen welcomes 40 top companies to an exciting Sustainable Industry Challenge final

Following an intensive selection procedure, a couple of industrial companies, the challenge setters, together with the initiator Economic Board Groningen selected 40 innovative companies (scale-ups) from 13 different countries and invited them to the two-day final event of the Sustainable Industry Challenge, Chemport Europe edition in the north of the Netherlands. Most of the selected companies come from the Netherlands, the United States and Germany. After the introduction and content discussions with the challenge setters, these scale-ups are also introduced to other relevant regional players to ensure maximum impact on regional business.   More than 200 innovative, fast-growing companies from 33 countries entered for one of the challenges and following a number of intensive selection rounds, 40 companies from 13 different countries have been selected and invited to the two-day final event in the north of the Netherlands on 7 and 8 January 2020. The top three countries of origin are the Netherlands, the United States and Germany. With companies from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Spain, Latvia, Hong Kong, Belgium and Canada, it will be a truly international two-day event.

Impact on regional business

In the end, two finalists will battle for first place and the first prize of €100,000 over five rounds. This sum of money is intended to develop the winning innovation for a sustainability issue; the innovation with most impact on the region. However, the most important underlying purpose of the Sustainable Industry Challenge goes much further. The organisation hopes that these innovative companies from all over the world will link up with companies in the region. Akke Groenewoud, Director of EBG said “Our aim is to interest companies specifically in our region, in the short term, and to create a dynamic that has a positive impact on business in the Chemport Europe region. We are unbelievably proud of the fact that we can welcome around 40 companies with fantastic innovative ideas and we look forward to meeting them personally. We are convinced that our region has much to offer and we assume that we can connect and do business.”

The region meets the world and vice versa

During the two-day event, the world will meet the strength and pride of the northern Netherlands region and the entire northern region will meet the world. The central theme of the event is creating strong connections. These connections are made during the meetings between the industrial companies and fast-growing start-ups in relation to the innovations on offer, but also between the start-ups and the other regional players during a matchmaking event. The matchmaking event, organised by Campus Groningen, offers around thirty regional companies and organisations the opportunity to meet the international teams. There is also plenty of opportunity for networking with the 500+ professionals that have been invited to the New Year’s Reception of Groningen Seaports, where the final takes place in the form of a battle in a real boxing ring.

High-quality entries

The challenge setters, including Teijin Aramid, Suiker Unie, ESD-SIC and ENGIE, are pleased with the high quality of the entries. For example, the founder of the one of the participating scale-ups is listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 for the energy industry and another scale-up is mentioned in The Digest magazine. A third company received two Seals of Excellence from the European Commission as part of Horizon 2020. Edward Groen, Energy Transition & Sustainable Development Director of Teijin Aramid commented “Although we formulated a fairly specific challenge, some 21 companies entered with an innovation for our challenge. We selected seven those as being of interest. They include four technologies that are new to us and that we would like to consider and study in more detail. We are looking forward to talking to the scale-ups on 7 and 8 January.”

About the Sustainable Industry Challenge

Economic Board Groningen is the initiator of the Sustainable Industry Challenge, Chemport Europe edition, from 2019-2020. Partners are the Campus Groningen, NOM, Groningen Seaports, and the provincial authorities of Groningen and Drenthe. All the organisations are part of Chemport Europe, the ecosystem for a green chemical sector in the northern Netherlands. This major competition uses challenges formulated by the industrial companies to call on innovative companies to come up with specific innovations in the area of making recycling, hydrogen or green chemistry more sustainable.