The EU4Algae working groups are in full swing, with a total of 400 algae stakeholders across Europe discussing, debating, connecting and working together on various topics. In the upcoming weeks, we will introduce the key aspects of each working group, explain their goals and why the algae sector is essential for Europe.
If you’re interested in joining EU4Algae and contributing to the Working Groups, click here for more information.
Let’s dive into the Youth & Entrepreneurship Working Group - which challenges and opportunities does it address? Frederick Bruce from s.Pro, facilitator of the Working Group, tells us more.
What’s the goal of this working group?
This working group answers the need of the algae community for a clear overview of tools and resources available for all entrepreneurs active in the algae sector, young or not. Simultaneously, this working group aims to attract new talents to the European algae industry.
Why is it essential for the algae sector in Europe to attract new talent and offer new tools and resources?
The green transition is here and now, and we need highly qualified and skilled professionals to meet the transition’s goals. To respond to the new job market demand, early professionals and entrepreneurs need easily accessible pathways to sustainable careers in biobased industries. To this end, access to the correct information about job opportunities in the sector is essential.
Algae have huge potential but are relatively under-exploited in the current economy. They are often still seen at face value: as a slimy green substance responsible for algal blooms, and this needs to change. Their potential goes far beyond food. The Working Group aims to raise awareness of algae’s possible applications - from an attractive source of pharmaceuticals and biomaterials to raw material for biofuel and ecosystem services - and their business opportunities.
What are you hoping to achieve with this Working Group?
The Working Group aims to create a permanent forum for algae newcomers and entrepreneurs, to realize their full potential and increase the capacities of the European algae industry as a whole.
As a Working Group focused on attracting new talent, what advice would you give to someone entering the algae sector?
Here are my suggestions: use all the available resources, talk to experts, or have a go! You can grow algae anywhere. For a business, make a list of problems that algae could solve or existing processes that could be improved, then identify your market. Find your niche and get expert advice from as many people as possible.
Algae have been produced and consumed throughout the world for centuries. Especially appreciated in Asian cuisine, they are recently becoming a common ingredient in Western vegan dishes. Outside the culinary realm, algae have become a go-to feedstock for sustainable industrial applications such as biodegradable plastics. Moreover, their production helps improve ocean health by reducing carbon dioxide, phosphorus and nitrogen in marine ecosystems. They are also a nursery and hide-out for many marine animals, stimulating underwater biodiversity.
Despite all the above, the uptake of algae production and consumption in Europe is slow. In comes the EU4Algae Forum! Together with all relevant stakeholders within the European algae sector, we aim to scale up a regenerative, resilient, fair and climate-friendly algae industry and bring more novel algae species to the market.
The platform is a unique space for collaboration among European algae stakeholders, including algae farmers, producers, sellers, consumers, technology developers, business-support organizations, investors, public authorities, academia, researchers and NGOs. It also acts as a single information hub on algae funding calls, projects, business-related information, intelligence and best practices.