EARLY-stage companies bringing new products and services into Scotland’s bioeconomy are to be offered free support through Biotech Innovators – a new accelerator programme that will provide SMEs, spinouts and start-ups with access to commercial and technical expertise.
Launched today by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) during the UK’s first-ever Bioeconomy Week, the initiative will take a group of companies through a programme of targeted support and guidance. Applications are now open to biotechnology businesses with a footprint in Scotland that are less than two years post-investment or still pre-launch.
The accelerator is the only programme of its kind dedicated to industrial biotechnology companies in Scotland and was developed in response to calls from the sector for additional support to help young businesses to grow. It will include a flexible programme of one-to-one mentoring, events and workshops, aiming to translate scientific research into viable business ideas that will support Scotland’s transition to net zero.
The first cohort will also gain access to the wider IBioIC network, with experts in areas such as intellectual property and business finance brought in to offer specialist advice as required. Additionally, companies that secure a place on the accelerator will be able to apply for different funding calls run by the innovation centre – usually restricted to members only – as well as making use of the expertise from the IBioIC Scale Up Centre.
While the accelerator is open to businesses covering any biotechnology specialism, a number of priority sectors were identified in Scotland’s National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology including biorefining, manufacturing, food and drink, waste management, agriculture and marine biotechnology.
Mark Bustard, chief executive of IBioIC, said: “All young companies face challenges getting their ideas off the ground, whether in terms of regulation, funding or personnel. For biotechnology companies, in particular, there are additional hurdles to overcome – the scale-up process can be complex and capital intensive, so it is important that small businesses can access the support they need to succeed.
“While a variety of Scottish accelerator programmes already exist, there is nothing specifically focused on industrial biotechnology and the unique challenges and opportunities facing young companies in the sector. Biotech Innovators will provide a valuable opportunity for businesses to receive guidance on commercial development, innovation support, knowledge sharing, and more.
“As Scotland strives to achieve net zero, innovative early-stage companies have the potential to play a hugely important role in shaping our economy. However, it is crucial that we create a welcoming, encouraging sector where new businesses can grow and thrive with the right support.”
The Biotech Innovators accelerator programme is due to kick off in January and anyone interested is invited to get in touch to learn more: https://www.ibioic.com/biotech-innovators-accelerator-programme