BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Laga and the Port of Antwerp: BlueChem’s strategic partners

17 May 2019 – In announcing four strategic partnerships with BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Laga and the Port of Antwerp and appointing Leentje Croes as Manager, BlueChem is taking important steps forward. The incubator for sustainable chemistry will open its doors next spring. It is the first project at the new Blue Gate Antwerp eco-business park. The construction works are on schedule, and this week the usufruct agreement was signed between BlueChem NV and BlueChem Building NV.

Providing start-ups and growth companies that will be accommodated at BlueChem with specialised advice and supporting them with specific, customised services: this is the ambition with which four renowned organisations are working on the development of BlueChem, the first incubator in Flanders that specifically concentrates on innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable chemistry. The focus is on the effective use of waste and side flows, process optimisation and the development of renewable chemicals and sustainable products.

BNP Paribas Fortis, the only participating bank, will assist innovative start-ups and scale-ups in their financing and will share its financial expertise in sustainable entrepreneurship with them. Deloitte will offer strategic advice in business development, law firm Laga will provide legal support and the Port of Antwerp will help entrepreneurs at BlueChem develop by making the right contacts for pilot projects and industrial upscaling. All these partnership agreements have been concluded in recent weeks.

BlueChem NV’s Board of Directors chose Leentje Croes (31), who holds a Master’s degree in Bio-engineering Chemistry and Bioprocess Technology from UGhent, as its Manager. She started her career at Atos Consulting, supported an automation project at Sanofi and joined Catalisti, formerly FISCH, the spearhead cluster for chemistry and plastics, in 2012. While there, she brought companies and knowledge institutions together to set up innovation projects. “The fact that an ambitious initiative like BlueChem gains the support of four renowned partners right away gives me a lot of confidence to put this incubator on the map successfully in Antwerp and Flanders, but also beyond,” says Leentje Croes.

“With BlueChem, we are literally building a prime location with state-of-the-art infrastructure to shape the chemistry of the future.”

Frank Beckx, Chairman of BlueChem NV and Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen

Frank Beckx, Chairman of BlueChem NV and Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen: “BlueChem is now fully on track. The building is a new landmark in the city already, even during the shell construction stage, the contracts with the first tenants are being negotiated and even international companies are showing interest. We are quite literally building a prime location with BlueChem, with state-of-the-art infrastructure to shape the chemistry of the future.”

“With BlueChem Antwerp is building an incubator for top innovations in sustainable chemistry with which we can make a difference globally.”

Claude Marinower, Antwerp’s Alderman for Economy, Innovation and Digitisation

Claude Marinower, Antwerp’s Alderman for Economy, Innovation and Digitisation: “With BlueChem Antwerp is building an incubator for top innovations in sustainable chemistry with which we can make a difference globally. So I am delighted with the new steps we are taking today with BlueChem. We are expanding BlueChem’s ecosystem with four strategic partners, to which residents can turn for customised growth advice. In addition, as of today, BlueChem will also have a face with Leentje Croes as Manager. I wish her every success and look forward to the opening next year.”

During a site visit this week, the usufruct agreement was also signed between BlueChem Building NV and BlueChem NV for the use of the building for a period of 30 years. The incubator is being built according to the principles of BREEAM-Excellent, a sustainability label for buildings with minimal environmental impact. In this way, not only are BlueChem’s activities sustainable, but so is its housing.

“We are pleased to make our network and expertise available to this industry, one that is very important to our country.”

Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking, BNP Paribas Fortis

Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking, BNP Paribas Fortis: “We are very proud to be BlueChem’s partner, which, like our bank, is committed to sustainable development and open innovation. We are pleased to make our network and expertise available to this industry, one that is very important to our country.”

Guido Vandervorst and Frederik Debrabander, Partners, Deloitte: “Setting up the BlueChem incubator in the heart of the chemical cluster can make an important contribution to maintaining the leading position of the chemical industry in the port of Antwerp area. Deloitte is very happy to be able to contribute to this innovative project to support the chemical companies of the future.”

Kathleen De Hornois, Partner, Laga: “The local anchoring, in combination with the focus on growth companies, innovation and sustainability, are the key elements as to why Laga has chosen to become a partner in this project. We are delighted to be involved in this project this early on and look forward to the further development of BlueChem with great enthusiasm.”

“BlueChem will contribute to an innovative ecosystem that will enable us to ensure a sustainable future for the chemical cluster in the port of Antwerp.”

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp: “BlueChem will contribute to an innovative ecosystem that will enable us to ensure a sustainable future for the chemical cluster in the port of Antwerp. We are thrilled to be part of this unique partnership, as innovation is crucial to meeting the challenges of the future successfully.”

BlueChem is a unique public-private partnership. BlueChem NV is responsible for the operation and day-to-day activities of the incubator. The partners are essenscia, the City of Antwerp, POM Antwerp and VITO. BlueChem Building NV is in charge of the construction of the incubator. The partners are DEME Environmental Contractors (DEC), Bopro Sustainable Investments, AG VESPA and PMV. BlueChem also has the support of the European and Flemish governments. Through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Europe is investing over €3.4 million. Flanders is contributing €868,397 via the Hermes Fund and the City of Antwerp is investing €4 million.