The chemistry of circularity - Imke Welzen

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11 March 2024

In January, Imke Welzen joined Looop as a Business Developer Innovations. In her role, she works closely with Paul Slits and Kelly Vermeer to research and collaborate with potential partners who can integrate our co-products and residual streams into their (future) products. This means she regularly contacts new customers, knowledge institutions, and startups to explore how we can support each other in efficiently utilizing co-products.

In this regard, Imke is truly in her element in this role, and it aligns seamlessly with her ambition. "I get energy from working with people with a passion for their company with a sustainable initiative. These people are the pioneers of the future, and what could be more beautiful than helping them make this a reality."

Now that the first few months have passed, we are convinced that Imke is a delightful colleague and someone with expertise who has joined our team. Imke graduated with a bachelor's degree in Life Sciences specializing in organic chemistry and then obtained a master's degree in Chemistry from Radboud University. During this master's program, she became involved in research in the field of chemistry with applications in the medical sector. She subsequently earned her Ph.D. in this discipline at Eindhoven University of Technology.

After her academic career, she worked at CHILL on the Brightlands Campus in Geleen. Here, she was a business developer for the chemistry domain, using CHILL's facilities to train students in the industry and provide startups and SMEs the opportunity to execute their sustainable initiatives in collaboration with students. "Working with startups on a vibrant development campus has significantly expanded my network in the circularity field. Going through development processes with these young companies has given me a lot of insight into the developments in the circular world, especially in revaluing or processing residual and waste streams."

Collaboration as the equivalent of progress

In practice, Imke encountered the substantial value of circularity and the essential role that collaboration plays in it.

It is not without reason one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, to which Looop is also actively committed. As an organization, we closely collaborate with (food) producers, knowledge institutions, and startups. "Every entrepreneur has a responsibility to operate responsibly. But there must be an ecosystem available to make it possible and attractive. Collaboration in this is of the utmost importance, where we can leverage each other's strengths." That sounds easy, but it is certainly not. The challenge is often that circular entrepreneurship is not immediately profitable. The shift towards sustainability and circularity is often costly, discouraging many entrepreneurs from taking the step. Therefore, it is important to collaborate with government institutions, such as the province, to give these innovations a financial push. "This, in turn, stimulates further innovations in the sectors, and thus, we work together for a sustainable future. Looop serves as a hub that connects entrepreneurs and uses its knowledge to stimulate innovations."

"I want to focus mainly on work that contributes to a sustainable future, using my network to connect people. In short, that's what drives me and what I love to do."

From a sustainability perspective, Imke also admires organizations that make a difference, such as The Flower Farm and The Plastic Soup Foundation. Two examples of pioneers helping society rethink how things can and should be done. She also admires innovative startups that work to recycle diapers (Alkyl Recycling) or desalinate water to make more drinking water available in countries where it is critical (Aestuarium). "These are all significant societal issues that need to change, and these parties are committed to making that happen."

We are extremely pleased with Imke's arrival in our organization. Her expertise and intrinsic motivation are valuable additions to our team. She also has the ambition to make a meaningful contribution within her role. "I hope that with my strong research experience, network, and knowledge of chemistry, I can support Looop's innovation branch well. Together with current and new partners, we can further drive the transition to a circular world."


Together we are #MovingCircularityForward


Curious about what Imke can do for your organization?

Contact her at:

Imke Welzen
Business Developer Innovations
+31 (0)6 47 52 39 53

Imke Welzen