▷ Lohmann starts the first joint startup challenge with Brightland’s Chemelot Campus

02.11.2021 – 12:47

Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG

Neuwied, Germany, Jan. 23 / PRNewswire /

Sustainable innovations are most likely to come about together

Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG focuses on promoting start-ups in the field of sustainable materials management and renewable chemistry. To this end, the Neuwied company is launching a start-up challenge together with the Dutch start-up company Brightlands Chemelot Campus.

A conversation with the initiators Dr. Evert Smit (Director of Scouting at Lohmann) and Hugo Delissen (Business Development Manager at Brightlands).

Lohmann: Mr. Delissen, you are visiting Lohmann today. Please describe your impressions. How have you enjoyed your stay with us so far? And Dr. Smit, what are your impressions of today’s meeting here in the Bonding Arena® in the Lohmann TEC-Center Neuwied?

Hugo Delissen: My goal is to get to know Lohmann very well. In order to make the best use of the time, we started the day at 9:00 a.m. today. I am impressed, because with Lohmann we have exactly the partner at our side who can support start-ups in the field of materials management and chemistry. What do startups need? Well, first of all, time and money. But also the technical expertise in the subject in which you want to establish yourself on the market. Companies like Lohmann provide effective start-up support for this.

Dr. Evert Smit: Start-ups quickly get to the point where they need concrete technical support. For example, it is important to test the products in a real environment and in the presence of industry experts before they hit the market. It is also about providing the “newcomers” with expertise and familiarizing them with the market-specific processes and applications. I am pleased that we at Lohmann can support start-ups in this. And of course to be able to show Mr. Delissen our traditional company today.

Hugo Delissen: The main task of Brightlands, on the other hand, is to provide support in material development. When it comes to later use, however, we are limited; Lohmann takes over the part. Only here can the industrial environment be shown realistically. We in Geleen in the Netherlands are more like the laboratory, Lohmann the factory.

Dr. Evert Smit: It’s the perfect combination of both elements. Lohmann’s job, for example, is to ensure that the start-ups offer something that is really in demand on the market. Ideally, the young companies then produce something that is also useful for our company.

Lohmann: The Startup Challenge is a joint project between Brightlands and Lohmann. As an observer, how do you imagine the practical implementation at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus when the interested parties arrive?

Hugo Delissen: That is based on the needs of the start-ups. As a rule, we work together to develop a technical innovation or product at the beginning. Then an existing business model or business plan has to be deepened. In a sense, a story has to be written about how the company should ultimately be set up. We also support this story and the financing. Because only with a resilient concept is it possible for us to mobilize money. In addition, we offer rooms in Geleen where the preparatory work is carried out. We are currently looking for start-ups who would like to work in Lohmann’s business area and who can become interesting partners for the newcomers.

Dr. Evert Smit: As mentioned, we then take on the technical part and provide support on the subject of applications. It is also important to build up a network of suppliers for the newly founded companies. This is a real difficulty for start-ups, especially at the beginning. For us as a large and established company, this is much easier. Finally, we will see how the common path continues. Will the start-up be completely independent or will it function as a Lohmann joint venture? That will be seen then.

Lohmann: How did the idea for the joint start-up challenge come about? What’s the story behind this project?

Dr. Evert Smit: The current CTO of Brightlands, Eric Appelman, is a former colleague of mine. We have a personal friendship in which we have had many conversations. Last summer we talked about my new position as Director Scouting at Lohmann. Eric wanted to know everything about it and so the idea arose to get involved in start-ups together. It is now important that this project is well communicated. We have also put a website online for this purpose. Ultimately, however, we can only effectively support two or three start-ups. 20, for example, would absolutely not be feasible for us. The few have to fit us thematically, however.

Lohmann: The project is only just beginning, but the question is: Could you imagine today that Lohmann will continue to be active in the field of start-up funding in the future?

Dr. Evert Smit: As you rightly say: We are only at the beginning. Working with start-ups is a first for Lohmann. Of course, we may do this more often.

Hugo Delissen: I am also optimistic, because especially in times of growing sustainability it is important to create a culture of innovation in as many companies as possible. It is not enough to just establish this in your own organization. Sustainable innovations are most likely to come about together. Our campus has exactly this task. We want to unite people who want to create innovations in the field of materials science and renewable chemistry. That is why we also hold joint events and group sports. People meet and get ideas.

Dr. Evert Smit: If the challenge is a success, we will definitely repeat it. Even if we “only” gain knowledge and do not produce a new start-up, a new edition is worthwhile. We will only forego it in the future if it really doesn’t bring any benefit at all.

Hugo Delissen: But even in this “worst case” we achieved a minimum goal: We did active marketing. And about Lohmann one will say: They did something there that nobody has done before.

Lohmann: Mr. Delissen, is there a specific success story about a company that was “born” as a start-up on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus?

Hugo Delissen: Yes, even some. In the past five years we have produced more than 100 start-ups. The most successful example is certainly Avantium – a company that specializes in renewable chemicals. The best-known product is PEF, a further development of PET, which we know from drinking bottles. And that is exactly the aim of my scouting: to recruit start-up candidates who make materials and manufacturing processes more sustainable.

Lohmann: Our in-house product TwinMelt® is a good example of this, the solvent-free solutions. Have you already got to know that?

Hugo Delissen: Not yet, but that will be presented to me tonight in Koblenz. I’m very excited. And it really is a good example! In general, the following applies: Those who do not rely on sustainability today will soon no longer be earning any money.

Dr. Evert Smit: Back to the topic of sustainability. The cooperation with Brightlands is also extremely valuable for our own sustainability strategy. During my visits to Geleen, I kept discovering things and concepts that also make Lohmann a more sustainable company of the future. So we learn from each other!

Lohmann: And what else is on the agenda for you two today? You mentioned that you will also be visiting Koblenz.

Hugo Delissen: After we have already looked at the Lohmann laboratories together and had lunch with employees, this appointment is followed by a tour of the polymerisation and glaze departments. And then it goes to Koblenz. I’m very excited!

Sonja Schöbitz 
Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG 
Irlicher Straße 55 
56567 Neuwied / Germany 
+49 02631 34 6040 
[email protected]

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Original content from: Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG, transmitted by news aktuell


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