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2 November, 2023 - 19:37 By Tony Quested

Peruvian company sets up in Cambridgeshire to get close to fruit growers

Bio Natural Solutions (BNS), a Peruvian Biotech/Agtech company focused on changing the world one peel at a time, is in the throes of raising £1.5 million scale-up capital in the UK and is moving its HQ to this country after agreeing a deal on a facility in Chatteris from the start of 2024.

The Inward Investment service, part of the Growth Works programme run on behalf of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, brought this opportunity to the region – and specifically to Fenland District Council –due to the company’s desire to be near to fruit growers and agricultural land.

In addition to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, BNS was considering London and multiple locations in the South of England.

Growth Works’ Inward Investment team worked with BNS for 18 months to secure its investment into the region. BNS was provided with a  comprehensive support programme which included: identifying potential sources of external capital (including potential equity funding through the Growth Works Equity service), positioning of the regional ecosystem, market opportunities and product fit, introductions to potential partners, incubators and industry organisations to accelerate their set up and integration in the region.

The biggest form of support the Inward Investment team provided was providing a creative solution to finding R & D premises when there was no available infrastructure in that part of the region to support the investment.

Through separate conversations with a local business in the industry, the inward investment team learnt that the company concerned had some suitable space on its site that could be rented out to third parties. 

After ensuring that the space met BNS’ requirements, a site visit was arranged during the company’s next visit to the UK. This resulted in BNS signing a lease  to locate at Eco-Pack premises in Chatteris, from January 2024 where it will have office space and access to wider facilities including cold rooms and shell live working areas to continue the development and testing of its solutions.

This location also offers a unique opportunity to work with industry partners and the company’s senior management team is relocating to the region in Q4 2023 to maximise the opportunity and accelerate growth for the Uk side of the business.

The privately owned company – founded in Peru’s capital, Lima in 2017 – intends to create seven new high value R & D jobs within the next three years in a levelling up area, which will be of great impact to the Fenland community.

BNS researches, develops, produces and markets solutions for the conservation of food for the agro-industrial sector. These solutions are based on the reuse of food waste and are plant-based, chemical-free, vegan, natural and sustainable solutions for the environment and society. Its circular technology has been successfully tested in the AgriFood sector. The solutions are protected by PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) invention patents and as trade secrets registered in more than 10 countries.

BNS has 19 employees including the three co-founders and has a laboratory equipped for the development of biotech products as well as a factory in Peru.

The company works with key allies in fruit-producing countries such as Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Central America, channeled through the support of fruit importers from UK and European Union countries.

BNS raised $500k in Peru and is now working to secure a further £1.5m in the UK. Its UK launch has been supported by the Department for Business and Trade through its Global Entrepreneurship Programme.

BNS is spearheaded by three talented co-founders –  managing director Miguel Malnati, operations director Ximena Adriazola and commercial director Daniel Oviedo. Malnati is a biotechnology researcher, a Master in Food Science technology and Master in International Supply Chain.

Adriazola is an industrial engineer with a specialty in finance and global operations and Oviedo a business administrator specialising in industrial sales.

Malnati said: “The business idea began when the co-founders were university students in 2016 – thanks to the research and entrepreneurial spirit and based on a daily problem – the rotting of strawberries.

“We decided to take action to improve the situation, which we later discovered was a major problem worldwide, and within a year we founded the company. Our vision was to end food waste and positively impact the mitigation of climate change with these actions.

“We currently have an R & D laboratory and a Bio-Factory in Peru where we transform waste to create our innovative products. We sell our products under the Life Cover Plus, Vital Cover and Kuma Nat brands that are made with a circular economy technology for the conservation, today, of fresh fruits such as avocados throughout Latin America countries such as Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Central America.

“Fruit importers in the UK are also an important pillar of our markets; they support the produce they receive from various countries with our technology and that process also mitigates the CO2 impact of the sector by using agro-industrial waste.

“The UK is a springboard for our expansion plans, boosted by the facilities in Chatteris that will underpin our ongoing R & D. We aim to create solutions that improve the conservation of vegetables and fruit such as the British cucumber, tomatoes and berries – all projects we plan to develop in Fenland to ensure an even broader impact in the market.

“Our long-term ambition is to be a global biotechnology company that contributes to mitigating CO2 in the sector and reducing climate change, based on solutions that the agricultural sector uses, and generating impact in a collaborative way.”

Rebecca Bekkenutte, Growth Works’ Managing Director for Inward Investment, has been impressed by the company’s expertise, enthusiasm and ambition.

She said: “It’s been wonderful to see how my team has been able to mobilise a variety of support networks such as the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), local government, industry and the wider support services provided by Growth Works to enable such an entrepreneurial and exciting business to set up and operate in the region.

“Not only will Bio Natural Solutions be creating a minimum of seven high value, R & D jobs in a levelling up area where there was no readily available infrastructure, but also the investment will benefit existing local businesses and the supply chain.”

Growth Works brings together a consortium of partners and experts that have over 100 years experience in strategic growth consultancy and hands-on operational delivery specialising in: Growth strategy; Talent & Skills development; Investment readiness; Access to market; Inward investment; Grant funding & equity finance. 

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