Netherlands Enterprise Agency helps startups: "I know the way to international circularity"

Last checked on:
5 August 2022
Published on:
10 October 2023

Sandra Kolodzinskyi is an international advisor on circular economy, energy and climate at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). She supports entrepreneurs in switching to circular business operations. "It is clear that we cannot continue down the current path. We have no choice but to switch to a different type of operations." The Leiden-based startup Doser has international ambitions and used RVO's services. They are very optimistic about RVO's advice.

"Share your circular business model or product with Holland Circular Hotspot so we can promote it on our social platforms!"

Sandra Kolodzinskyi
Advisor Sustainable International Circular Economy & Climate

Showing the way to sustainable and circular business

The economy is transitioning to circular business processes. RVO wants to accelerate that transition. It is Sandra's focus, and she is keen to share her insights. "We are still in a linear economy: we make a product, use it, and throw it away. But we must turn that straight line into a circle so that waste no longer exists and all products and raw materials stay within the production chain."

Sandra understands this approach challenges many entrepreneurs: "Entrepreneurs have to deal with all kinds of input regarding sustainable and circular business practices. I do my best to show them the way. My approach is to provide them with information about circularity and share our knowledge. In addition, RVO helps entrepreneurs with grant applications and taking part in trade missions. We also connect entrepreneurs with our extensive national and international network."

International collaboration

The Netherlands wants to be fully circular by 2050. However, Sandra believes we will only reach that target by focusing on countries other than the Netherlands. "We get most of our raw materials from abroad. So we must collaborate with businesses to ensure sustainable production chains."

RVO is involved in many international networks and works closely with Dutch embassies. "These parties know the local situation, what is going on and what is needed," Sandra explains. "We share that knowledge with the Dutch market. So if you want to operate abroad, we have the contacts. We can direct you to the right partners for collaboration, funding, and expertise."

Doser: startup in customised medicine

One example of a startup that benefitted from RVO's support is Doser. The Leiden-based company's 3D printing technology enables pharmacists to print customised medicines. It makes treatments more effective and drug production far more sustainable.

Doser's CEO, Arjan van Unen, points out that many medicines never get used under the current system. "The medicines are returned to the pharmacist or disappear in the sewage system. It leads to high costs to filter drug residues from the drinking water. Our tailor-made approach to dosages means that the patient not only has fewer side effects but that it also creates less waste."

Sustainable benefits of 3D printing technology

Arjan explains that the 3D printer has other sustainable benefits: "The medical industry widely uses disposable products for sanitary reasons. We have designed our printer to be very easy to clean. You only have to replace the print pad occasionally, for instance."

The company also has a strong focus on circularity. Arjan says, "We place the shell that contains the medication in our 3D printer. It is fully recyclable and refilled at the factory. Furthermore, our printer has a modular design, which gives it an extended life cycle."

International ambitions

Arjan's ambitions for Doser extend beyond the Dutch market. With this in mind, he approached RVO. Our experts carried out country-specific research on his behalf. "They studied several countries to determine which medicines are commonly used and which local regulations local authorities enforce. I was impressed by the quality of RVO's work."

He also found it very helpful that RVO has an extensive network of locals who have connections with organisations and institutions and speak the local language. Because of this, Arjan recommends entrepreneurs with international ambitions to contact RVO with their sustainability questions: "The Netherlands Enterprise Agency has considerable knowledge and an extensive network. These things are of great value to any entrepreneur."

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