Blockstart: Blockchain-based applications for SME competitiveness

Project Summary

Blockchain innovation is a big yet unseized opportunity for SMEs in NWE. It has the potential to transform 3 of NWE’s top 5 sectors with €600bn turnover (agrofoods, logistics, health) that have shared transnational data challenges.

SMEs in agrofoods, health and logistics rely heavily on data transactions across countries, eg; tracking shipments real-time across 20-30 organisations, sharing sensitive medical records between practitioners or for research, or assuring the safety, quality, and origin of food produce. SMEs are particularly vulnerable to risks in delayed invoices & cash flow, data security, and errors in data.

Blockchain transforms data transactions by allowing for automated, efficient and secure transactions between parties that do not need to trust each other. SMEs are unable to develop & implement blockchain solutions alone, with most R&D projects and investments targeting large corporates/the finance sector, and SME-specific solutions are stuck at Technology Readiness Level TRL 4. Blockstart develops and demonstrates 4 blockchain solutions to TRL 6 in 12 SMEs enabling 10% operational efficiency, reducing costs of data errors by 20% and data security by 30%.

Blockstart selects 60 SMEs from UK/FR/DE/NL/BE to target 4 shared challenges (eg data security, tracking & invoicing). A transnational team of experts (on business models, security and incubation) and SMEs co-develop solutions such as digital smart contracts, medical e-records or combined food databases. Cross-sectoral transnational challenges allow solutions with 70% common architecture & only 30% customisation. Transnational collaboration enables connecting multiple organisations and SMEs to enter their records or blocks to the chain, thus creating value from critical mass. 1710 SMEs in partner networks will have access to the solutions and results of the testing, with 300 SMEs adopting, adding €100m turnover and 500 jobs in 5y. This brings NWE to the helm of EU blockchain innovation.

Project Partners

Name Contact Name Email Country
Windesheim University of Applied Sciences Michiel Steeman Netherlands
Medicen Paris Region Daniela Onofri France
East Netherlands Development Agency Ingmar Janssen Netherlands
Multitel asbl Nicolas Point Belgium
BioRegio STERN Management GmbH Margot Jehle Germany
The University of Surrey Caroline Fleming United Kingdom
Option Public Renaud Kusberg France
ChainPoint B.V. Geoff Taylor Netherlands


Blockchain and IoT: Beyond the hype

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Combining IoT and blockchain is one way the project can help develop new digital solutions. Blockchain technology could enhance IoT, allowing devices to send data to private blockchain ledgers with tamper-resistant records for further analysis. Several Blockstart partners have performed state-of-the-art analyses, “proof of concept” implementation and further research on this topic in order to find the best technology and structure for SME use cases. As the number of IoT devices increases, so does the rate at which data needs to be processed. It is important that potential solutions take into account the time needed for secure data storage and treatment (as with smart contracts for example). Read More

Developing effective support for SMEs

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From the 28th to the 30th of January, the Blockstart project partners came together in Zwolle, hosted by Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, for the third partner meeting. The agenda included associated partners as well as expert speakers, who shared invaluable insights that informed the development of the SME training programme. Read More

Production chains safer by blockchain

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Blockchain technology can be a solution for secure, automated and efficient data transactions. Among other things, this provides a solution for tracing the origin of food products. After all, consumers and producers want to be able to rely on the origin of products. The European INTERREG project Blockstart aims to open up innovative applications for small businesses. Read More


Webinar: Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare

, online

This webinar provides an overview of current trends in blockchain technology in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. It also explores how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting, perhaps driving, the uptake of blockchain technology - as with the development of the digital Corona vaccination card.
Read More

The Opportunity of Blockchain

, Brightlands Smart Services Campus, Heerlen

Bringing together four major pan-European projects that support the development of blockchain technology and its multi-sector adoption. Each of these projects offers business and technical support, as well as direct financial seed funding for start-ups and SMEs in Agriculture; Fintech; Logistics and Health. Participants will discover the project objectives and the available support. Start-ups and SMEs will benefit from the advice and information provided by key players in these EU-funded projects, including Pieter Custers (Brightlands Techruption Manager), Professor Christopher Brewster (TNO and Maastricht University). Dr Tjerk Timan (TNO).
Read More

The following associated partners have pledged their support for the project:

  • Regio Foodvalley (Netherlands)
  • Stichting ICT Valley (Netherlands)
  • Letztblock A.S.B.L. (Luxembourg)
  • Setsquared Partnership (United Kingdom)
  • Teagasc Food Research Centre (Ireland)
  • Institute of Supply Chain Management - University of St. Gallen (Czech Republic)
  • Eurometropolis Lille - Kortrijk - Tournai (France and Belgium)
  • Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (Luxembourg)
  • FOM University of Applied Sciences (Germany)
  • Dutch Blockchain Coalition (Netherlands)
  • Intersystems SAS (France)
  • European Logistics Centre Limburg (Netherlands)
  • Food Processing Initiative (Germany)
  • BOM Business Development & Foreign Investments BV (Netherlands)
  • Say Partners (France)
  • Fapics the French association for supply chain management (France)
  • MecaTech Cluster (Belgium)

European SMEs are all facing similar hurdles when it comes to digital skills and the adoption of new technologies. Many do not have the resources to invest in research and development. So how can they make the most of blockchain technology? That's where the Blockstart SME Training Programme comes in.

It's a free training programme to increase awareness and understanding of how blockchain technologies will impact your sector and business. The programme is tailored to each participant's needs. You can select from a wide range of options - including training sessions, workshops, and webinars - and discover the potential impact of blockchain with the support of the Blockstart partners and our network of transnational experts!



Don't hesitate to get in touch! You can also reach out on Twitter and LinkedIn

Please find some of the material produced by the partners to illustrate Blockstart's ambitions and the opportunities it offers SMEs.