At BlueChem, the city of Antwerp helps start-ups to grow

In times of energy transition, sustainable chemistry is an important factor for the future. BlueChem in Antwerp is one of the few incubators in Europe to focus on sustainable chemistry. Now, the City of Antwerp also invests in laboratory space, facilities and equipment. These measures are intended to accelerate the growth of start-ups in BlueChem. The support provides a boost for their innovation capacity.

The City of Antwerp invests in shared lab equipment for start-ups

Start-ups at BlueChem develop solutions to reduce CO2 emissions, save energy, ensure sustainable food supply and close the material cycle. The startup costs for these start-ups are often very high. Nevertheless, they are crucial. Examples? The purchase of storage cabinets for chemicals, freezers up to minus 80 degrees, a nitrogen tank, an installation to purify water sufficiently, a microscope...

The City of Antwerp provides this type of lab material in BlueChem. Start-ups can share it with other start-ups. This reduces startup costs and allows start-ups to use their  - often limited  - resources more efficiently.

Three lab types tailored for each company

At present, BlueChem rents out labs to individual companies for a relatively long period. This is often not an option for real start-ups. The City of Antwerp invests in the establishment of a start-up lab. This will allow BlueChem to offer three lab types in the course of next year:

  • equipped, ready-to-use labs; 
  • non-equipped labs that can be customized;
  • a start-up lab: an equipped lab that can be rented for a short period.

With this expansion in lab facilities, BlueChem will soon be able to provide all start-ups in sustainable chemistry with the support they need. The incubator can help them, even more, to achieve their full commercial potential as soon as possible.

“The support of the City of Antwerp boosts the innovation capacity of our incubator," says Leentje Croes, manager BlueChem.

"With the start-up lab and the shared lab equipment, we can support start-ups even better at every stage of their innovation process and industrial development. This is an important asset for the further development of BlueChem as the main hotspot for sustainable chemistry in Europe."

First start-ups benefit from BlueChem Kickstart Fund

In 2019, the city of Antwerp launched the BlueChem Kickstart Fund. A fund worth 3.4 million euros, with which start-ups in BlueChem equip their lab, at a value of 900 euros per m² lab. The Antwerp city council recently selected the first start-ups to benefit from the BlueChem Kickstart Fund: Inopsys and Peace of Meat. Together they receive 215,000 euros in support.

  • Inopsys develops, builds and manages modular and mobile units to treat industrial wastewater in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. The company rents 80 m² of lab space in the incubator.. 
  • Peace of Meat, a meat-producing company that creates fat and liver cells through biological processes, leases 140 square feet of lab space.  

Incubator for sustainable chemistry in Antwerp takes a flying start

Since it opened in May 2020, BlueChem is off to a flying start: it is 63% filled, with 12 start-ups and 6 large companies. For 2022, BlueChem has bright prospects; two more filings for candidate companies are underway. The occupancy rate would rise to 87% in the first months of 2022. 

On top of being a strong attraction for start-ups in sustainable chemistry, BlueChem is also putting up good numbers financially. A year and a half after opening, the break-even point will be reached in 2023. 

Also interested in an office and/or lab in BlueChem? More info on