Business Planet looks at how one award-winning Dutch incubator is helping dozens of startups to produce the next generation of sustainable plastics.
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards seek to reward organisations or projects in Europe that promote entrepreneurship at a national, regional and local level.
The winner of this year's Grand Jury Prize was GreenPAC iLab. The Dutch incubator helps entrepreneurs and startups in the sustainable polymer sector.
Business Planet spoke to the project's Business Developer Bastian Coes, to find out more about the incubator's environmental ideals and how it is helping dozens of small firms to scale up.
What is GreenPAC iLab exactly?
"GreenPAC iLab is a startup community and a startup incubator which helps companies from the very first idea to a scalable company. We help them by coaching and by adding knowledge and adding knowledge about entrepreneurship or technical knowledge so they can speed up progress, speed up their development and they will get a real company in the end. And we do this all in sustainable polymer products or industries next to it, so it’s a very interesting place for startups to start.”
What do you offer that wasn’t offered a few years ago?
"A lot of entrepreneurs started on their own and there is a big knowledge gap for example when you are making a polymer product, or your moulds or whatsoever, you need knowledge of it. We really emphasise on the technical part and the feasibility of the idea from the company, so we have coaches here with specific knowledge, for example about moulding, or design, materials, so that’s what we really add, so that’s very interesting for startups which want to make a product from plastics.”
What kind of success stories have you had?
"We have a couple. We’re now in the market for four years. And we have for example Dutchfiets, it’s a bike made of plastics and this bike can be recycled seven times without loss of quality and he has now his own scalable company somewhere else in the Netherlands and he is producing at the moment products and selling to big companies. The other one is Cloud Garden. This is a sustainable air solution for buildings, and they are flying at the moment. They have a big team, have big orders and that’s very impressive to see what started as an idea and is now a really big scalable company.”
If I’m a budding entrepreneur, do I need to be based in the Netherlands to join you?
“Of course you can be anywhere from Europe, or the world. If you want to come to Zwolle and join our community, you are free to come. You are very welcome.”