Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award

The Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award is an incentive award for innovative entrepreneurs (<7 years) with a focus on scalable sustainable climate-proof food systems with a positive impact on society and the environment. Candidates for the Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award have proven science-based solutions that can make an important contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and provide an answer to the global climate and food security issues we face.

The winner has serious potential to innovate within this theme in the near future by introducing a solution that addresses the challenges of climate change and food systems. The winner will receive a prize of €25,000 to invest in the start-up.

News: ekolive wins award 2022

The Slovakian startup ekolive was announced as the winner in the first edition of the Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award on Tuesday September 6th and awarded with € 25,000. They convinced the jury with their interdisciplinary biotechnological approach to clean contaminated and regenerate depleted soil, and use the byproduct of this process as an organic biostimulant in agriculture. This opens up new sources of raw materials for industrial minerals and returns used raw materials to the value cycle, while also increasing production and nutritional value in agriculture with the byproduct. With their technology, they contribute to as many as 11 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, making them just the sort of inspiring sustainable innovators the jury was looking for.

News: Meet the finalists of 2022!

The three finalists of the first edition of the Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award are WUR-spinoffs Rival Foods and Time-Travelling Milkman, focusing respectively on plant-based alternatives to whole-cut meats and creaminess in dairy alternatives, and the Slovakian company Ekolive, which provides a bioleaching method that cleans soil and waste and produces a biofertilizer.

On the 6 September 2022, they will try to convince the jury that they are the changemakers in climate-proof food systems who deserve the honor of this award and win the prize money of 25.000 euros. Who do you think should win? Let us introduce the finalists to you.

About the Award

The Sustainable Innovation Award in honour of Feike Sijbesma recognizes innovative initiatives, younger than 7 years, which focus on addressing global food system challenges related to the environment with the potential to deliver transformation at scale for as many people as possible. The Award is organized by University Fund Wageningen (UFW) and Wageningen University & Research (WUR), specifically with the Entrepreneurship department StartHub and with Corporate Value Creation (CVC), as the key knowledge organisation in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

Teams of entrepreneurs and innovators, of spin offs, start-ups, or internal startups of established companies, however less than 7 years, in the field of sustainable climate related food systems can apply. Also spin offs or individuals that are not from- or not connected to WUR are eligible to participate in the Award. The recipient can be in the Netherlands, Europe or globally.

The award involves 25.000 euro to be used by the start-up for investing in its venture.

Trajectory and data 2022

May 18 – June 30: Open for applications
May 25 – July 4: Open for invited formal applications after receiving application
July 11: Selection of Shortlist by UFW, StartHub, CVC and 2 external committee members
July 18: Selection of three finalists by committee and members of the jury
August 22: Announcement finalists
September 6: Finals Ceremony

In case of questions please get in contact with ufw@wur.nl. Subject: Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award. Or fill in the contact form!

Procedure and enrolment documents

Applicants that are found eligible can apply formally. From these formal applications a shortlist of 10 will be selected by a committee. The shortlist of ten will be presented to the jury panel, that will also participate in the finals ceremony. Based on criteria ranking, three finalists will come out of this selection. They will be invited to actually pitch live in front of the jury.

First validation is done through:

  • Answering a few basic questions through the application form.
  • Uploading a 2-page max. company presentation
  • Providing link to a promotional video of max 1.30 minutes

The formal application consists of:

  • Filling in the formal application form
  • Submitting a business plan
  • Submitting an impact assessment
  • The pitch/presentation to the final jury, max. 5 slides. To have all in one place, add again your 2-page max. company presentation
  • Your link to your promotional video of max 1.30 minutes

Selection criteria

  1. Innovations with a focus on sustainable climate resilient food systems
  2. SDG driven, with a shown and visible focus on science based solutions and societal impact
  3. Demonstratable benefits for society in environmental and/or social impact reached or about to reach, underpinned with metrics linked to SDG indicators
  4. Actively involving key partners and interest of users (beneficiaries) is shown, with a track record of being a true impact maker that engages others in the field of sustainable climate resilient food systems
  5. Customer validation and market traction are shown with stated interest of collaboration
  6. Business model can vary for profit / not for profit or hybrid
  7. The knowledge base / IP backbone is brought forward in the application by proof of successful technological feasibility and application studies, from Proof of Principle to Proof of Concept and Proof of Scale
  8. Initiative is not older than 7 years

Jury

Louise O. Fresco (chair) Former president of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board

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Professor Louise O. Fresco is the former president of Wageningen University and Research. She is a well known specialist on food and agriculture, holds five honorary doctorates and has extensive experience in the UN, the global south as well as in OECD countries. She has served on the boards of companies like Rabobank, Unilever and currently Syngenta Group. She chairs the Dutch National Opera and Ballet. She is a syndicated national columnist and has published eight books, including her well known Hamburgers in Paradise.

“I am delighted to chair the Jury for the Award because I share Feike’s passion for technical, biological and social innovation. We will not even approach sustainability if we don’t look for the most creative minds who want to contribute to new roads for development and equity.”

Joost Oorthuizen Impact investor, Invest International

Joost Oorthuizen

Joost Oorthuizen built his career in the fields of international trade, finance and sustainable development. He holds a Ph.D. in natural resource management from Wageningen University, a post-master in change management and was schooled at Insead in financial management. He is the founding CEO of IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative, which under his leadership became a 350 people, global organization, working with corporates and governments in mainstreaming sustainability in global value chains in agriculture, textiles and energy. Joost set up different impact investment funds for Nature Based Solutions and inclusive value chains. He sits on the board of the &GreenFund, the AECF and GASP. He is a regular speaker at international conferences.

“I am delighted to be part of the jury. Our food system is broken in many respects, so we badly need innovation to get agriculture in line with the Paris goals. So, it is great to see all these new innovations coming online! Start- and scale up work is both exciting and challenging at times. I wish the candidates the very best in their efforts to change the world for the better!”

Adam Anders, Managing Partner, Anterra Capital

Adam Anders

Adam Anders is the Managing Partner and co-founder of Anterra Capital, a venture capital fund focused on investing in innovative companies that are transforming the safety, security and sustainability of global food.

Adam grew up on a farm and is passionate about improving our food and agriculture system. He believes that the best way to do this is to bring strong entrepreneurs to the food and agriculture sector and work in co-operation with other stakeholders across the value chain.

Adam has over 20 years of private equity and venture capital experience. Prior to working for Anterra he co-founded a fintech startup and worked for Rabo Private Equity and Bain & Co.

Adam holds an MBA degree from Cambridge University, England and a Bachelors Degree in Law and a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

"Our food system is broken and I am a strong believer that young, impact driven, technology minded entrepreneurs will be a critical part of finding a solution. This award is another great example of how Feike and Wageningen University are helping us find these entrepreneurs and develop these solutions. I look forward to participating on the jury."

Ivo Demmers Programme Director Research Programme Food Security and Valuing Water

Ivo Demmers

Ivo Demmers Msc. is Programme Director for the Research Programme on Food Security and Valuing Water within Wageningen University & Research. The programme uses a food system approach to identify most pressing food system challenges and find the most suitable solutions for tackling food, water and climate challenges.

Ivo Demmers has 20+ years of experience in water, environment and food. Before joining Wageningen University and Research in 2014, he held management and consultancy positions in private as well as not-for-profit organisations. Ivo has experience in Europe, Africa, Asia and Northern America. Amongst others he initiated the Water Technology Innovation Programme (80 M EUR) (2007-2011), focussing on speeding up innovations and bringing together research, companies, launching customers and expert markets. As a director of a Small and Medium enterprise he was closely involved in bringing innovation to market. He initiated the Food Systems in 10yrs time challenge (2020) and was jury member of the Qing Innovation Track – Competition for Climate Adaptation in Food Systems (2021). Since 2021 he is Board Member of PYMWYMIC, an impact investor for scale ups in Healthy Food Systems.

“We need the innovation and drive of enterpreneurs and youth to accellerate the transition towards sustainable Food Systems. As a jury member I want to contribute to keeping Food Systems a rewarding place for enterpreneurs and youth to work in.“

Maurien Olsthoorn Senior Science Fellow Analytical Sciences at DSM

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Maurien Olsthoorn is Senior Science Fellow Analytical Sciences at DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and biosciences. She drives the strategic, analytical developments across DSM to provide key insights for all innovations. In addition, she leads a program about disruptive food solutions supporting the protein transition by developing ingredients and solutions to close the gap between animal original and plant-based analogues. Before joining DSM in 2000, she obtained her PhD in biomolecular mass spectrometry of glycoconjugates (Utrecht University). Maurien is board member of the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences.

“It is a true honour that in the spirit of the legacy of my company’s former CEO Feike, this award stimulates innovators to scale their science-based solutions with a specific focus on sustainable climate resilient food systems. I look forward being inspired by the innovations contributing to solve the world’s biggest problems!”

About Feike Sijbesma

Feike Sijbesma

Feike Sijbesma has been CEO of Royal DSM for nearly 13 years and transformed Royal DSM from a bulk-chemical company into a global leading Life Sciences & Materials Sciences company, focusing on nutrition (food), health and sustainable living (a.o. green energy). At DSM sustainability and innovation is not only a key responsibility but also a core value and a main business driver. DSM became a clear purpose driven company, being financially successful and doing well (450% Total Shareholder Return) by addressing the UN SDG’s and doing good for the world. Feike is a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity as well.

Since early 2020, Feike Sijbesma transitioned to the role of Honorary Chairman of Royal DSM of which he has been CEO between 2007 and 2020. Feike sits on a variety of Boards, as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Royal Philips, as non-executive board member of Unilever and as member of the Supervisory Board of the Dutch Central Bank. Feike is co-chair, together with Ban Ki-Moon, of the Global Center on Adaptation. He is Climate Leader of the World Bank, focusing on carbon pricing (CPLC). He is member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum and is heading the CEO Climate Leaders group. He is also member of the Advisory Board of the IMF and Co-chair of the UN Scaling Up Nutrition initiative.

Mr. Sijbesma is a recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award & Leaders of Change Award presented by the United Nations; received an honorary doctorate from Maastricht as well as Groningen University, Netherlands; he was listed by Fortune on the World's 50 Greatest Leaders, by Harvard Business Review as one of world’s 100 most successful CEO’s. He also received the Courage to Lead Award from the World Resources Institute. He is married and has 2 boys.