Winners Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Business Award 2023

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.


From 2023 onwards, the Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award has become a part of the F&A Next Heroes programme. To apply to the Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award, please apply for F&A Next Heroes. If you are selected as one of the 10 ‘Next Heroes in Food & Agtech 2024’, you automatically enter the competition for the Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award 2024.

About F&A Next Heroes

F&A Next is all about innovation and connecting game changing Food & Agri tech startups and scale-ups to dedicated investors and innovative corporates. Aside from the many network opportunities that are offered throughout the event, F&A Next offers the 10 most promising agrifoodtech startups a special opportunity to take the stage at the event and present themselves to the entire audience as ‘Next Heroes in Food & Agtech’. A great opportunity since our audience consist of an international and influential group of key stakeholders in the industry, including many investors, corporates and media. 

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

Winner 2023: Orbisk

Orbisk’s automatic food waste monitor has won the Feike Sijbesma Sustainable Innovation Award. The award-winning business developed technology that monitors the waste in professional kitchens. An AI camera identifies the weight and type of food that is discarded.

Read the news article

Winner 2022: ekolive

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.

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.

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.