Flourish as a start-up in the forest industry

Flourish as a start-up in the forest industry

Publicerat 27 April, 2022

A start-up company has many strategic choices to make, one of them is where to set up your business. For companies and innovators connected to the forest industry, Värmland, Sweden, is a good choice for developing products and services linked to renewable resources.

LignoCity is one of the pillars of the innovation support system in Värmland and is offered to companies and innovators. The LignoCity facility is a test environment open for anyone to explore the possibilities of the forest raw material lignin.  Biosorbe is one of many companies that have taken advantage of this opportunity.

Binds oil in water

Biosorbe has developed an absorbent, which in appearance resembles cotton but with properties far more impressive. It is based on cellulose and is used to clean up oil spills from land, water, and air, and has the unique ability to absorb oil without attracting water.

Behind the product lies many years of research, and when the startup company was ready to start a business and approach its market, the support system and its vast network of contacts made it easy for Biosorbe to accelerate.

” At first, we thought of locating the business elsewhere. But a combination of factors attracted us to Värmland. One of them is the forest industry cluster Paper Province, which works like an engine. Instead of being like a small fish in Stockholm, we can be a big fish in Värmland,” says Lars-Erik Sjögren, Biosorbe’s CEO.

Faster business development

Biosorbe’s journey began just over two years ago when they met Paper Province, a hub and world-leading business cluster within the forest bioeconomy. Since then, Biosorbe has recruited staff and built a production facility, next to Rottneros pulp mill in Värmland.

“It started with the site manager at Rottneros mill mentioning that they had excess energy that we could use to dry our pulp. This was an important factor since we had an energy need that could have cost us several million to solve. So, we investigated the situation and found a working concept, which led to us building our premises next to the mill. In addition to the industry floor, there was already an environmental production permit at the mill. Without this kind of symbiosis, it would have taken us two extra years to get started,” says Lars-Erik Sjögren.

“The most valuable factor in our journey has been the networks. The proximity to the right people has made it possible to make quick decisions. In Stockholm, everything takes more time. Another important thing was that Paper Province invited us to the right forums, such as meetings with LignoCity. It was easy to see that there are a lot of things that are valuable here.”

Good advice to other start-ups

Over the years, Biosorbe has accumulated a lot of experience about being a growing startup company, and they are happy to share it.

“I think that you often are in a hurry to hire. My advice is to let it take some time. I had dialogues with potential recruitments for several months or got to know a suitable person at an earlier stage before hiring. That way you build trust, and you know what you get. Another tip is not to be too constricted as an entrepreneur and listen to the advice you get.”