The startups Algreen and Sesolo Mello, partly founded by Wageningen University students, received a StartLife microcredit this week. They will use the loan to further explore the algae market and the opportunities to replace paraffin oil with a biofuel based on local waste in South Africa.
Spirulina production - Algreen
Hendrik Staarink, graduate of Wageningen University and master student Stefano Canziani both share a passion for algae and founded Algreen in April 2015. This summer they set up a production facility for the eatable microalgae Spirulina on Wageningen campus and got an office at student incubator StartHub. Hendrik: “This year we improved the microalgae production, worked on the needed certifications for human consumption, and found several small customers. We can now produce a significant amount of Spirulina. Our next goal is scaling up our sales network. We see the micro credit as a spinning wheel to get publicity and to invest in our international sales activities.”
Cooking on biofuels – Sesolo Mello
Sesolo Mello is founded by four ‘guys’, and has a clear mission: making social and environmental impact by replacing paraffin oil used in low income communities for cooking, with biofuels from local waste. Co-founder Jacob Bussmann: “By cooking on paraffin oil many toxic compounds are released, with a negative impact on human health and the environment. In the coming year we will start a pilot project in South Africa to develop a production unit for biofuel in a township close to Cape Town. Prior to this pilot project we will use our time to get to know our customers and to adopt our product to their needs. The plan is to start with upscaling the amount of production units to let other township benefit from our idea as well by the end of 2016.”
Every year several students and recent graduates receive the microcredits of StartLife to further explore their idea for a startup. “It is great to see that there are more and more students, like the founders of Algreen and Sesolo Mello, who work out their business ideas into a concrete business plan. With our loan they can start the first business activities”, Jan Meiling, director StartLife says. StartLife is the first point of contact for new entrepreneurs in agro, food and the biobased economy. StartLife is based at Wageningen Campus and supported and financed over 120 start-ups with an idea or contribution to innovative technologies.