Biotech Foods, a company dedicated to the research of synthetic meat -technically known as cultured meat-, has received €19 million in public subsidies from the Government of the Basque Country, the Ministry of Industry, and the Ministry of Science since 2021.
In the same period, the entity has had only 10 employees on average and has not received any income from its commercial activity. This may be due to the fact that the European Union legislation does not yet contemplate the commercialization of this type of product.
The Basque company has a result for the year 2022 of -2,945,489 euros and income equal to zero, something that is also repeated in 2021 but with a loss of €578,000. Although the product they seek to produce cannot yet be marketed, the company has only ten employees, five women, and five men, as this digital has learned. However, neither zero income nor such a small workforce has prevented the company from receiving millions of euros in public subsidies from the regional and national governments.
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The subsidies received by Biotech Foods
The central government has financed the company through two subsidies. Specifically, Biotech Foods benefited from a grant from the Ministry of Science and Innovation of €71,700 on December 9th, 2021, and another from the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism of €753,282, according to Order ICT/1292/2021, of November 15, issued by ICEX Spain Export and Investment.
The first of the above comes from the 2021 call for the Torre de Quevedo grants. These, according to the Government’s web portal, “are intended to promote the implementation of industrial research projects, experimental development or preliminary feasibility studies in companies, technology centers, technological innovation support centers, business associations, and science and technology parks, for which it is necessary to hire people with the degree of doctor, in order to promote the professional career of research personnel, as well as to stimulate the demand in the private sector for personnel sufficiently prepared to undertake R&D plans and projects, and to help the consolidation of newly created technology companies”. The second one belongs to the Innova Invest Program.
On the other hand, there are three grants from the Basque Government. The first one was on February 1st, 2023, from the ‘Bikaintek 2022 Program’ of 60,000 euros. The second one dated May 11th, 2023, belongs to a package whose concept is “aid for the realization of expenses and investments in research, development and innovation projects in the agricultural, forestry and fishing and aquaculture products sectors of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country” of 225,002 euros.
The last one is the largest: 17,950,039 euros from the Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment of the Basque Country. This makes a total of 19,060,023 euros from the public coffers that have gone to Biotech Foods.
The million-dollar grant
The last subsidy, of almost €18 million, was established in a resolution of December 27th, 2022. The concept was “aid for large investments related to the processing and marketing of agricultural, livestock and forestry products” and belongs to the Handitu 2022 Program. This program had a budget allocation of €25 million, 72% of which went to Biotech Foods.
That is to say, the subsidy that the Basque Government was going to allocate to the “commercialization” of rural products has gone, for the most part, to this biotechnological company that is looking for a substitute for conventional meat.
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First published in okdiario, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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