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Whether I was crazy? That's what people asked me when I enthusiastically told them I was giving up my permanent job to start my own technology-oriented start-up in the biobased economy. Their question is understandable: after all, it is a difficult market. But I am convinced that I have to do this, that I can make a contribution and that there are huge opportunities.
Joop Groen

Luuk van der Wielen (BE-Basic) has a great way to make the seriousness of climate change more tangible: ‘If we become 2 degrees hotter (so 40 °C), we have a very serious fever and at 4 degrees hotter we end up in a coma.’ We cannot let it get that far! Besides renewable energy, the use of renewable raw materials is crucial for the patient. So that is where I am going to do my bit, with my company Viride SuStra!
Viride SuStra is working on innovative biomass treatment to provide the chemical industry with raw materials. The aim is to make the chain more cost-effective and improve the logistics and handling of biomass. The start has been good and I am very confident!

For me, everything starts with people. I have talked a great deal with top people and a number of them even want to help with (and invest in!) my start-up. They can also give an honest opinion on whether your idea has any potential. This is very important because you naturally think it is very good. And then you have the importance of innovative ecosystems, such as BE-Basic (Delft University of Technology), Biobased Delta with the Green Chemistry Campus and Bioprocess Pilot Facility (BPF). Young talent, grey hair, unique facilities: if you know what you need, there is a lot to be found. And last but not least: which problem are you going to solve and how will you earn money? The bio-based transition is a marathon, definitely not a sprint! The world we work in is one of endurance, long-term vision, setbacks and perseverance,
which brings us back to the question ‘do you have to be crazy to do business in the bio-based economy?’

My answer is ‘no’. Definitely not, but it does help … especially with the first jump. I wish everyone much perseverance and let’s bring down the fever!