BlueInvest fund gives €45 million to food security projects

blueinvest fund, funding
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The BlueInvest fund today allocated the first of an available €75 million to two projects working against food insecurity – announcing the names at a BlueInvest Day event

Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, announced the two recipients of the €45 million funding at at BlueInvest Day, 2021.

The two companies are Astanor Ventures and Blue Horizon Ventures I, which both specialise in food security. These are the first ever investments of the BlueInvest pilot scheme, which was created by the European Commission and European Investment Fund.

As early as March 2020, EU officials noted how the fishing and aquaculture sectors: “have been particularly hard hit by market disruption.”

In 2021, it appears that intensive financial interventions are necessary to repair the damage done to the blue economy.

Firstly, what is the BlueInvest Fund?

The short answer is that BlueInvest is the EU’s financial solution for uncertain food chains, marine life, oceans impacted by the climate and the people stuck in between those things.

Essentially, BlueInvest is a targeted investment pipeline.

The Commission defines the blue economy as: “All economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts. It covers a wide range of interlinked established and emerging sectors.”

The long answer is that The Commission partnered with the European Investment Fund to create a direct way to get money to investors who can make significant changes in their local blue economy. It is supported by the BlueInvest platform, which encourages investment readiness and access to finance for early-stage businesses, SMEs and scale-ups.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans & Fisheries, said: “With BlueInvest, the Commission and the EIF have a powerful instrument in place to promote the blue economy as a cornerstone of the European Green Deal. We encourage innovative small and medium companies and start-ups to take advantage of the funds and help us realise a sustainable, carbon-neutral future for Europe.”

Secondly, Commissioner Sinkevičius announces the funding projects

The first project: Astanor Ventures

Eric Archambeau, Co-Founder and Partner at Astanor Ventures, said: “The oceans are responsible for half of the world’s oxygen production and absorb 50x more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. Yet overfishing, plastic pollution and degraded sea beds continue to choke this key resource for life. What motivates us are the tech-led solutions that the most ambitious entrepreneurs are developing.

“They go beyond sustainability and are regenerating the ocean ecosystem through innovation. Ynsect and Notpla are just two of our early investments in this space. It’s thanks to EIF’s forward thinking and capital that we can finance them and many more to deliver positive impact.”

The second project: Blue Horizon Ventures I

Michael Kleindl, Founder and Managing Partner at Blue Horizon Ventures I, said: “We are very happy to see that the EIB / EIF and the European Commission is tackling this so pressing issue of “Sustainability in the Food System including Blue Oceans” and is supporting Venture Funds like us with additional capital /firepower.

“It is a good starting point and hopefully we will see much more capital from the public and private sector moving into this direction. It is urgently needed.”

Could this be a priority for the EU in 2021?

Three additional fund investments are in the works for fans of the blue economy. They are supported by BlueInvest and InnovFin Equity under Horizon 2020 finance.

We expect more information about these funds as 2021 progresses. The remaining BlueInvest funds are expected to be handed out to further investment projects around the same time.

Around €300 million in equity funding will be further mobilised for investment in innovative ventures active in the blue economy.

EIF Chief Executive, Alain Godard, said: “I am delighted that less than a year after launching this new initiative we have already deployed EUR 45m of finance to support the Blue economy via Astanor Ventures and Blue Horizon Ventures.

“Our ambition is to contribute towards the construction of a well-functioning, deep and comprehensive European equity ecosystem for the blue economy.”


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