BioBoost partners visit Vlaanderen Circulair

On Wednesday 6 September, Willem Kemmers (BioBase Greenport Westland Oostland, Netherlands), Veronique de Mey (Inagro) and Jeroen Straver (Westland municipality) visited Vlaanderen Circulair in Brussels. The Flemish government has created Vlaanderen Circulair to push forward with the circular economy as a transition priority. Vlaanderen Circulair is a cooperation between government, knowledge institutions and businesses.

Vlaanderen Circulair is a broad movement of citizens, entrepreneurs, civil society organisations and local governments wishing to develop initiatives related to a circular economy. Vlaanderen Circulair has six core activities:

  • Networking; bringing various partners together to meet the challenges of a circular economy;
  • Coaching pioneers and pragmatic doers;
  • Sharing knowledge and managing targeted policy-relevant research assignments;
  • Promoting guiding and supporting policies, and ensuring proper coordination between administrations.
  • Stimulating innovation with targeted tools and accelerating the entrepreneurs’ transition to a circular economy. 
    Ensuring that the principles and best practices related to a circular economy are scaled up and embedded in Flemish companies, civil society organisations, education, local administrations and citizens.

Veronique is in the process of setting up a regional entrepreneurs’ platform for horticulturists farmers (and arable farmers) in Flanders. Reinventing the wheel in a region where a lot is already happening regarding to a bio-based economy, is the last thing you want to do. Since Vlaanderen Circulair has an extensive network, creating such a platform is a little easier.

Creating an entrepreneurs’ platform (cooperation) is certainly no luxury. The market for (new) bio-based products seems so accessible and obvious. From the point of view of sustainability, it is a matter of course. In practice, however, that is easier said than done. Technical, financial, legal and organisational challenges come in all shapes and sizes. The platforms are meant to enable the triple-helix parties to pool their knowledge and skills, making it possible for them to cooperate effectively and take real steps. An extensive network increases the chances of success. Not reinventing the wheel yourself, but benefitting from existing knowledge and networks.

This is also interesting for the existing entrepreneurs’ platform set up by Greenport Westland Oostland, since the BioBoost partners in the United Kingdom and Belgium have substantially different experiences and other knowledge than the Dutch partners. In short, there is sufficient reason to have a look in each other's kitchens. In any case, Veronique, Willem and Jeroen are planning to organise a platform meeting for Belgian, Dutch and English entrepreneurs. Themes such as food processing (a strong point in Belgium), insect breeding (the United Kingdom and Belgium) and content matter, will provide sufficient interesting food for thought.