Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) has announced the six winners from the first phase of BioAccelerate 2020, its flagship business accelerator programme for biotechnology, agri-tech and food and drink innovations.
Presenting virtually to an expert panel, eleven teams pitched for £10,000 investment and an invitation onto BioAccelerate’s second phase to further hone their ground-breaking business ideas.
Winning propositions now advancing to the next stage include:
• a novel prebiotic derived from Mischanthus (Elephant Grass)
• a seaweed-based bioplastic to replace agricultural mulch plastic films
• an online platform connecting biobanks with biotech companies for the ethical sourcing of tissue
• a novel filtration system cleaning contaminated water from mine sites
• an award-winning kombucha focused on health and the human biome
• a cutting-edge cultured protein system for cellular agriculture
At the pitch event, each team was judged on criteria including value proposition, growth strategy, credibility of entrepreneurial team, and investment potential. The six judged to have the most promise will now move onto Phase 2 to develop their innovations and fast-track their businesses. Phase 2 will include hands-on business incubation and access to AberInnovation’s leading expertise and cutting-edge R&D facilities.
Represented on the judging panel were the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), AberInnovation, Aberystwyth University, Development Bank of Wales, Angels Invest Wales, Welsh Government, and Yma, a social enterprise based at AberInnovation.
Now in its third year, BioAccelerate 2020 attracted a record number of applications. Those shortlisted completed a rigorous 13-week accelerator programme combining workshops and mentoring and covering topics such as minimum viable product, routes to market, intellectual property and financial forecasting.
Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, CEO at AberInnovation and a member of the judging panel said: “We have heard about some truly innovative products and services coming from Wales. My congratulations to all the participants and to the outstanding Phase 1 winners. We look forward to supporting these early-stage businesses on their commercialisation journey.”
Also on the panel was Nick Bassett, Associate Director (Innovation) at BBSRC, who said: “BioAccelerate is a fantastic program to support early-stage entrepreneurs develop their ideas. At the end of Phase 1, all participants pitched with clarity and passion, creating an extremely competitive process. Congratulations to the six winners and I look forward to seeing their concepts develop further throughout Phase 2.”
AberInnovation, completed in August 2020, provides a focal point for a community of ambitious, collaborative companies of all sizes to advance the development of new products and processes in agri-tech, food and drink and the bio-economy. Its development facilities for industry collaboration include a pilot-scale Biorefining Centre, Future Food Centre, Advanced Analysis Centre, Seed Biobank and Innovation Hub.
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