An in-depth bioeconomy potential analysis is the basis for any bioeconomy strategy or roadmap. This analysis is needed to understand the current situation and define barriers and opportunities. The bioeconomy potential of the BE-Rural Open Innovation regions was analyzed with the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) launched by the European Commission. The SAT is based on eight Key Factors: Long term, stability and availability of feedstock; infrastructure to handle feedstocks and production; access to finance; skilled workforce, technical expertise and training; existence of support institutions; strength and availability of regional markets; entrepreneurship; and Public support policies. The following text provides a brief overview of the results. The complete report can be downloaded here.

  • Stara Zagora in Bulgaria there is enough feedstock from forest, agricultural residues and waste sufficient for small-scale bio-based industries and bioenergy installations, but what can hinder the development of the bioeconomy is mostly the difficult access to finance and the lack of public support. However, the strong chemical manufacturing sector can bring significant potential if new business models for the production of bio-based chemicals are adapted.
  • Szczecin and Vistula Lagoon in Poland, the analysis covered only the fishery sector. Two scenarios can be envisaged for the development of the bioeconomy in this sector. The first is based on developing a marketing strategy to allow the reuse of the by-catch fish as an edible product as part of promoting sustainable food systems and the second scenario considers the use of the by-catch together with the fish waste coming from fish processing to produce bio-based products. There is no public support available in the areas of research, finance or entrepreneurship, but the presence of Fishery Local Action Groups and fish clusters can compensate to a certain extent for the absence of public support. Stakeholders need to work together to attract investors and start-ups.
  • In Strumica, North Macedonia, there are enough resources for small-scale applications to be used for the bioeconomy, but there are many obstacles that might hinder the development of the bioeconomy, especially the lack of skilled people, education and trainings in the field of bioeconomy and the lack of public support institutions. Substantial awareness raising and direct dissemination activities about the opportunities that the bioeconomy can bring are crucial for its development.
  • As for the Covasna region in Romania, it already uses forest biomass for pellet and wood chips production, but there are still unused feedstocks that can be available for other small-scale bio-based industries. The factors that might hinder the development of the bioeconomy is the lack of skilled personnel for the implementation of bio-based industries, because of lack of vocational training and the lack of public support and entrepreneurship.
  • The situation in Vidzeme and Kurzeme in Latvia is promising for the development of the bioeconomy, as feedstocks are significantly available for small-scale bio-based industry or bioenergy installations. Financing is also available and is supported by private and public bodies. A qualified workforce to implement and manage bio-based industries is present. Furthermore, the region can profit widely from the existing supporting institutions. The barriers, which could hinder the development of the bio-based industry are the lack of a stable biomass resources market which can deliver in a constant manner and on the long-term, the possible lack of entrepreneurship.