This year’s edition also saw the launch of a new award for the “Most Disruptive Innovation” (MDI), which enables us to single out one business that might not have made the ranking, but is pioneering new ideas or technologies. The Polish company, HiProMine, which is using insect-based technologies in areas including waste management and the production of food, feed and fertiliser won our first ever MDI.
CEO’s insight: Excitement and inspiration.
For 17 editions now, the Deloitte Central Europe Technology Fast 50 ranking has identified and promoted many of the most exciting companies in our region. As always, this year’s publication showcases an impressive line-up of innovative and mostly young businesses, many of which have the potential to make a significant impact on our markets. With an average annual growth rate of 1,057%, their performance is once again remarkable – although no one else comes close to the 13,052% recorded by Polish tech marketing hub, Codewise, which leads not only the Fast 50 ranking itself but also the “Big Five” listing of larger companies. Special mention also goes to the Lithuanian smart device company, Deeper, which won our “Rising Stars” award reserved for companies founded in the last five years.
This year’s edition also saw the launch of a new award for the “Most Disruptive Innovation” (MDI), which enables us to single out one business that might not have made the ranking, but is pioneering new ideas or technologies. The Polish company, HiProMine, which is using insect-based technologies in areas including waste management and the production of food, feed and fertiliser won our first ever MDI. Congratulations to all the winners and to every company in this year’s ranking. Your innovation and ambition continue to inspire us all across Central Europe.
Alastair Teare, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Central Europe
HiProMine – winner of the “Most Disruptive Innovation” award
Insight, innovation – and insects Meet Prof. Damian Józefiak, CEO of HiProMine, which has claimed a place in history as the first recipient of the Deloitte “Most Disruptive Innovation” award. It’s a story of bugs and brilliance…
When the history of business innovation in Central Europe comes to be written, Prof. Damian Józefiak is a name that might well feature strongly. As the CEO of HiProMine, he is at the head of a company that’s combining the power of cutting-edge industrial technologies with over 250 million years of evolution to revolutionise the future of waste management and food production. Even the location of the company’s R&D centre in the Robakowo near Poznań in Poland is fortuitous. The village’s name literally means “place of the bugs” – and bugs certainly feature highly in any list of the company’s assets. Prof. Józefiak explains: “Our technology uses various species of insect, including hermetia ilucens, mealworms, superworms and roaches, and leverages their natural capability to process biomass and residual organic matter. Our main products are insect meals (a source of protein and fat for feed, food, pharmaceuticals as well as fuels) and organic fertilisers. That means we have two main income streams – commercial bio-waste services and the sale of the biomass and fertiliser products that result from them.”
Addressing global deficiencies. He is confident that his company has an important role to play in addressing some of the societal challenges we face today and into the future. As he says, “Our concept provides answers to many issues, far beyond the pressing need for environmentally friendly waste management. We also can help address global deficiencies in protein, food and resources, not to mention the requirement for eco-friendly fertilisers. Our approach is based on merit and scientific evidence, enabling us to provide sustainable, lowemission technologies to help solve such problems on both a local and a global scale.” So, is he surprised that his company has won the first Deloitte Most Disruptive Innovation award? “Our approach is certainly disruptive, because it enables us to harness the power of nature in a fully controlled manner, using modern industrial technologies, the Internet of Things and big-data processing,” he says. “Importantly, when you compare our approach with established state-of-the-art technologies for feed, fertiliser and food production, our approach stands out for its high efficiency, matched with low costs and minimal environmental impacts.” He is also quick to explain that such advantages do not come at a cost to the insects themselves. “Unlike other areas of livestock production, rearing insects on an industrial scale does not require large areas of pasture or extensive and expensive farm buildings,” he continues. “Rather, it is carried out in 3D systems that have no risk of overcrowding and no adverse effects on animal welfare.” When he makes such statements, you had better pay attention to what he says. For, as well as being CEO of HiProMine, Prof. Józefiak is also one of Europe’s leading animal nutrition experts and R&D Director at a major Polish feed mill: Piast Group. Naturally, this gives him a rich source of contacts and collaborative opportunities with feed mills and scientific establishments across the world.
Credibility and authority. It also lends him considerable credibility and authority when he makes predictions for his company and its future impact on its markets. “As our technology overcomes the huge challenges involved with biowaste management – with low emissions and minimal usage of energy, water and space – it will have a very positive impact on the environment and society as a whole. In addition, using composting to process bio-waste takes at least 20 times longer than using insects. Composting also produces low-quality fertilisers, unlike the highly nutritious, NPK-rich organic fertiliser produced by insects. So I firmly believe the wide application of our technology will both reduce global pollution and solve the problems associated with the local production of feed and food.” Naturally, such predictions have powerful implications for the company’s growth potential. As Prof. Józefiak says, “With our unique technology and high market demand, we are planning within 10 years to be world-leader in insect-based technologies and insect products, including food supplements, other dietary products and raw oils for cosmetics. In fact, we believe we can be one of the most recognisable Polish brands in the global market place.” So Damian Józefiak is as ambitious as he is visionary. Something enormously powerful is developing in the Place of the Bugs – and we at Deloitte Central Europe and our partners at Orange, Intel, Salesforce, Adamed and KIC Innoenergy had little hesitation in making HiProMine the first recipient of our Most Disruptive Innovation award.
Our approach is certainly disruptive, because it enables us to harness the power of nature in a fully controlled manner, using modern industrial technologies, the Internet of Things and big-data processing.
Prof. Damian Józefiak, CEO, HiProMine