AkzoNobel Opens Innovation Hub For Chemical Startups

Dec. 22, 2017
AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals signs an agreement that will see its Deventer site in the Netherlands transformed into a chemistry and technology innovation hub.

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals signs an agreement that will see its Deventer site in the Netherlands transformed into a chemistry and technology innovation hub, according to the company. Set to be positioned as a key European center for the most demanding chemistry and technology (chemtech), the Deventer Open Innovation Center is reportedly backed by a seven-year agreement with the municipality of Deventer and is being supported by the Restructuring Company Overijssel and the Province of Overijssel, who together are investing more than €25 million. Companies, knowledge institutes, entrepreneurs, investors and students can gain access to a working environment that includes special research facilities, such as a safety laboratory, analytical lab, pilot facilities for scaling up production and education and training facilities. 

The 2018 opening may also bring new companies to Deventer and will contribute to diversity in employment, from plant operators and laboratory analysts to technologists and chemists, according to AKzoNobel. By the end of 2025, the center should accommodate around 300 knowledge-intensive employees and 50 users in the field of training and education, in addition to the existing 315 AkzoNobel employees. Together with indirect employment, the total could reportedly amount to more than 1,000 jobs in 2025.

The center is supported by the local and regional business community, educational and knowledge institutions, the Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI) and the Top Sector Chemistry public-private alliance, according to the company. Currently known as the Deventer Open Innovation Centre (DOIC), the final name is expected to be announced in early 2018.

Meanwhile, the first start-ups are already settling in at the center, says AkzoNobel. Exxfire focuses on fire prevention and control in ICT servers and the aviation sector. The company started in 2011 and won the Nyenrode Innovation Contest that year followed in 2012 by an innovation credit from the government. Its first products have already been successfully launched on the market. Ahrma Holding BV develops and produces sustainable pallets with a lifespan of between five and ten years. These are equipped with smart sensors (transponders) that register location, temperature and shocks, after which the data is visible in real-time via the internet, on a smartphone or computer. 

For more information, visit: www.akzonobel.com

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