CINDE, through the Biomaterials Hub, PROCOMER and the CRUSA Foundation, convene the “Biomaterials Innovation Challenge”, a contest where small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and “Start-Ups” with a sustainable approach, will compete in the development of linked solutions with the circular bioeconomy and bio-packaging, to satisfy the needs of four exporting and multinational companies operating in the country.
The objective of this innovation challenge is to get more companies of this type to enter the global value chains of exporting companies in the industrial sector, to promote productive chains and talent in Costa Rica, through solutions that seek both the use of biological waste from agricultural activities, such as the use of biomaterials.
For nine months, each participating SME will develop a solution, counting on constant monitoring from the approach and development, until the successful resolution of the challenge posed for one of these four challenges posed by the “driving companies”:
The four proposed challenges
Grupo Vargas: It has the challenge of finding a new material based on waste generated by agricultural activities that take place in Costa Rica (pineapple, banana, coffee, citrus, among others), which must be used in multi-packaging solutions for different SKUs involving glass bottles ranging from 285ml – 355ml and aluminum cans ranging from 250ml-350ml.
Coloplast: Looking for a solution that allows you to separate an adhesive from plastic waste obtained from the production process of colostomy bags and thus obtain an environmentally responsible value proposition that allows the separated material to be used.
CoopeTarrazú: In the search to revalue the coffee waste generated during its production process, you need to create environmentally sustainable packaging for the presentation, both in beans and ground, of your products.
Videndum: You need to replace the packaging you currently use for your filming equipment with a biodegradable one. The multinational hopes to find a new material based on paper pulp or waste generated from agricultural biomass from activities carried out in Costa Rica.
Contest is important to promote productive chain
Vanessa Gibson, Director of Investment Climate at CINDE, highlighted the importance of this contest to promote the productive chain, and connect Costa Rican innovations with market requirements.
“With this initiative we seek to provide SMEs with technical advice and support from large companies in the industrial sector. In this way, we hope to strengthen the position of Costa Rica as the bio-business hub in Latin America. In addition, the challenge has the support of IDB Lab who will contribute, through the Biomaterials Hub, a non-reimbursable US$15,000 for the winning organizations to develop the solution”, he stated.
For her part, Flora Montealegre, executive director of the CRUSA Foundation, highlighted the sustainability focus of this challenge, which responds to the objectives of the organization’s new strategy. “From Fundación CRUSA we promote innovation opportunities through the generation and application of new ideas, technologies, processes, products, services and/or forms of participation, in order to promote the development of companies and organizations in Costa Rica,” he said.
The companies interested in participating must submit the application of their solution following the guidelines and criteria previously defined by the organizing committee in charge of the challenge, before next May 17th. They must also meet a series of requirements, including:
- Being a micro, small or medium-sized company with up to 100 workers
- Be duly registered in the National Registry as a natural or legal person and be registered and up to date with their tax obligations before the Ministry of Finance
- Be registered, active and up to date with the worker-employer obligations of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS)
- Have at least 1 year of experience in carrying out innovation projects related/relevant to the selected innovation challenge
- Have a work team made up of at least 1 person specialized in the topic of the selected challenge and at least one person to assist the project
The selected projects will be announced on June 6th.