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Get to know the 4 start-ups of the New European Bauhaus Booster Program

Aesthetics, sustainability, circularity, and inclusiveness are the building blocks to deliver the European Green Deal and make our cities more sustainable with higher social values. The EIT Community, led by EIT Food, uses these values within the New European Bauhaus (NEB) mission, to address urban food systems challenges. Through its booster program, it supports selected startups that match the NEB Values to bring their ideas to new markets and scale them up.

16 Nov 2022
5 min reading time

Aesthetics, sustainability, circularity, and inclusiveness are the building blocks to deliver the European Green Deal and make our cities more sustainable with higher social values. The EIT Community, led by EIT Food, uses these values within the New European Bauhaus (NEB) mission, to address urban food systems challenges. Through its booster program, it supports selected startups that match the NEB Values to bring their ideas to new markets and scale them up. Nabo Farm (DK), Inoqo (AU), Crafting Future (GE) and Norbite (SW) are the four startups from all over the European Union that make up the first cohort of the booster program. Let’s get to know them.

In 2021, the European Commission launched the New European Bauhaus (NEB), an initiative designed to transform our cities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EIT Cross-KIC (x-KIC) New European Bauhaus (NEB) contributes to this initiative by addressing urban food systems challenges through open calls for projects directed at implementing innovative activities, educational programmes and citizen engagement.

In short, it aims to combine the NEB values of aesthetics, sustainability, circularity, and inclusiveness with offering a variety of activities: Business acceleration, Education, and Citizen Engagement.

Currently, the x-KIC NEB is clustering its efforts around 3 major objectives:

  • Supporting selected startups through its booster program so they can guage interest, scale their buisnesses, and bring their ideas to new markets.
  • Supporting selected entrepreneurs and innovators with education resources on entrepreneurship.
  • Mobilising and supporting selected citizen driven initiatives all across-Europe, building on EIT’s ecosystem as Europe’s largest innovation community.

In this summary article, we will get to know the four selected startups that are part of the first cohort of the booster program.

Nabo Farm (DE): “Waste and over production are built into our food system”

“Nabo farm is a smart sustainable franchise as we are both an urban farm and a service and technology provider. By using hydroponics and growing lights, we reduce the amount of water, land and energy usually needed to grow greens by 90%,” explains Jens Krogshede, co-founder of this Danish startup. “We also have reduced waste because we predict the yield by controlling the climate. There is no need to overcompensate or overproduce on purpose.”

“Over the years, we have developed both hardware and software solutions, as well as a huge knowledge base about hydroponic growing and other forms of urban farming,” he continues. “As we want to be inclusive, we make our software intuitive and easy to use. We want the entry level to become an urban farmer and adopt our software to be as low as possible.”

“Our complexity is that we are both a food producing farm and a software company. So, it’s hard for everyone to identify clearly in which box we belong,” Krogshede states. “For example, which department in the ministry do we fall under? For which call can we apply? We need policies to change faster, so new technologies and startups can survive”, he concludes. “And we hope that with the support of the EIT Community we can get the ball rolling faster.”

Inoqo (AU): “Each receipt tells a story”

“Inoqo is a lifestyle app that helps supermarkets calculate the CO2 footprint of their products (their environmental impact, biodiversity loss, etc.) and display this information for their entire food and beverage installment,” explain Laura Marx, Luise Lehfeldt & Janis Schumacher.

“As a next step, Inoqo helps consumers to make environmentally and socially conscious choices while grocery shopping through a user-friendly app,” they continue. “We engage users by providing sustainable alternatives to choose from and take them on a nudging journey through providing recipes for their shopping and help them to transition step by step to a more sustainable lifestyle.”

“Our biggest challenge is for retailers to implement our climate labels. When they realize that 70% of their assortment is on the unsustainable side, it’s both a big step and a big barrier for them to display that 70% of their products as not that good,” they explain. “It’s not just about the reaction of consumers but mostly the challenge they might face with suppliers.”

Crafting Future (DE): “There is no future without plastic”

Crafting Future makes sustainable, reusable and beautiful containers from recycled plastic for the food industry. We want to end the use of single use containers by not only providing a reusable one instead, but also setting up a clever system that allows the containers to be exchanged and turned in elsewhere,” explains Lennart Heyner, co-founder of the German startup. “We approach our business and products from a circular point of view: from the start we keep the end in mind.”

“Conventional plastic has a lifespan of up to 500 cycles, and after that we take it back to recycle it in our closed recycling system to produce the same type of bowls again,” he states. “We believe that these types of loops are the future. Additionally, recycling as a service or recycled materials as a service has big potential too.”

“As of the 1st of January 2023, every restaurant in Germany has to offer a reusable food container for take away food or doggy bags at the same price point”, Heyner says. “This makes it impossible to hand out re-useable containers for free. Instead, it triggers reuse systems. This is a huge business opportunity that starts in Germany and will spread through Europe in the coming years.”

Norbite (Sweden): “What is more beautiful than implementing the treasures of nature in new solutions?

“Norbite provides solutions for two different problems: the accumulation of plastic waste and the need for more healthy food solutions. We do this by transforming plastic waste into animal feed and environmentally friendly pesticides through an insect-based biorefinery,” explains Nathalie Berezina, co-founder of this Swedisch startup.

“People often forget that plastic is not only packaging. It's also different types of materials, like textiles, furniture, mattresses, cushions... things like that. This means that we have very diverse customers using our service,” Berezina continues. “On the other side, we are working with insects which we bio refine at the end of the process. This means that we process them to obtain proteins and lipids. The products made from this process are very suitable for animal feed and even for food applications.”

“It's one of the reasons why we are talking to the space industry to accompany astronauts on trips to other planets. For this use case, we imagine a long stay without any possible supply of food from earth and neither any waste treatment. So, our circular approach of transforming waste streams into the food value chain, is something that’s of extreme interest to them.”

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