What do manufacturers of meat substitutes, hemp fibers or a clothing recycling company have in common? These are some of the most innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in the European Union. And they are finalists in the Enterprise Europe Network, as has been announced by the European Commission and the Council for European Innovation and Executive Agency (EISMEA) for SMEs. Winners in three different categories will be announced at the annual Enterprise Europe Network conference, which will be held in Stuttgart on October 1.

Among the companies from all over Europe is the Dutch company BeefyGreen. It produces meat substitutes and half-meat/half-vegan products that are based on oyster mushroom stems and is on a mission to provide the very best alternatives to meat. BeefyGreen joined the Enterprise Europe Network in 2018 and has found international contacts through the Network to develop and manufacture meat substitutes, and in doing so has made good use of the expertise on offer.


“We are honored and surprised to be one of the finalists for the Enterprise Europe Network Awards 2021, says Frank Nouwens from BeefyGreen. “We are pleased with the support that we have received from Enterprise Europe Network. The international contacts with product developers and producers for vegan and hybrid meat products have definitely helped us. This gives us the opportunity to continue to grow substantially and innovate, and to be able to introduce our meat substitutes and hybrid meat products to the rest of Europe as well. We are thrilled that our collaboration is now being rewarded with a place in the finals!”

Also read the IO article: BeefyGreen makes a mushroom-based meat substitute from local by-product streams 

The award recognizes and rewards creative entrepreneurs, especially those harboring digital and sustainable ambitions, and who are making the most of opportunities in the free market of the European Union by using the services and support of the Enterprise Europe Network.

The finalists are start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in a variety of sectors, from the textile and fashion industry to robotics, pharmaceuticals, agri-food, wastewater treatment and advanced medical and laser technology.


Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for SMEs and is funded by the EU. It helps companies to innovate and grow on an international scale and bolster their resilience in Europe and beyond. Enterprise Europe Network combines international business expertise with local knowledge to help SMEs spread their innovations to new markets. It is dedicated to helping companies grow faster by providing tailored support, new commercial partnerships and access to finance.

Besides BeefyGreen, eight other companies from six EU countries are in the running:

  • Biomimetic, a Greek start-up, which offers bio-inspired laser nanotexturing of glass. These have anti-reflective, anti-mirroring, anti-fogging and superhydrophilic properties that can be applied to consumer electronics such as mobile phones, watches or laptops.
  • Comau is a cutting-edge company in the field of industrial automation. The Italy-based organization helps harness the full potential of digital manufacturing. French consulting firm COBO4YOU has partnered up with Comau in an effort to focus on integrating cobotic solutions into the automation industry.
  • Germany-based Enviplan is an SME with experience in engineering, designing and building drinking water purification, treatment, and wastewater sanitation systems. The company uses micro-flotation technology for industrial and municipal wastewater treatment.
  • Nuvisan, a French pharmaceutical company, provides research and development services for the development and production of topical medicines.
  • RBX Creations, which has its headquarters in France, specializes in the use of hemp fiber for the manufacture of a variety of materials, such as bioplastics, paper and textiles.
  • Belgium’s Resortecs is a start-up in the textile and fashion sector that offers patented solutions for the recycling of clothing worldwide thanks to the automated disassembly of garments on an industrial scale.
  • Spanish SME Sant Aniol specializes in the production of water of volcanic origin from the La Garrotxa Natural Park, a region in Girona.
  • UBT SRL ((Umbria Bioengineering Technologies) is a biomedical company that develops and markets innovative medical imaging equipment that is based on advanced microwave technology instead of harmful ionizing radiation (X-rays).

Three of these nominees will be honored with the highest awards in the following three categories:

Inspiring Client Journey: For the best example of positive results that an SME has yielded and that has successfully benefited from the Network’s services to reach the destination they wanted for their business. A good example of Enterprise Europe Network is described as a “good compass or Global Positioning System receiver (GPS) on the journey from SME to internationalization and growth.”

Stepping Ahead: The winner here is the best example which shows positive results that focus on the Network’s newest priorities: Digitalization, sustainability and innovation. For SMEs with vision who have successfully started the ‘transition’ and who capitalize on the Network’s innovation services and have developed a new product, service or technology.

Recovery: The best example of adapting exceptionally well to change and having the flexibility to recover.

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