Starting Ventures

Through Starting Ventures, BASF develops business solutions that empower people with low incomes to achieve a better quality of life. The projects thereby contribute to our long-term business success. Starting Ventures demonstrates how we live our corporate purpose: we create chemistry for a sustainable future.

BASF focuses on “Water Education” amongst student community in India / BASF richtet Augenmerk auf “Wasser-Erziehung” in Schülergemeinschaft in Indien

More than one billion people have escaped from extreme poverty since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, four billion people – the majority of the world’s population – still live on low incomes. Furthermore, they will account for the largest share of the global population growth by 2050. Worldwide, they strive to improve their quality of life. They aim to obtain better employment and to afford better food, housing, and hygiene – for themselves as well as for future generations.

The projects


Innovation Food Cluster

Country: East Africa - Years: Since 2013 - Division: Nutrition & Health

The fast-growing population in Africa has a high demand of energy, protein and nutrient rich staple foods. Productivity, nutritional quality and the prevention from food losses are the keys to meet this need.

Together with the United Nations (UN), governments and other stakeholders BASF is creating a shared value partnership to support local food producers and their infrastructure (in particular food warehouses) in the nutrition, agriculture and construction sector.

Products such as crop protection and pest control products, IR-reflecting wall paintings, flooring and insulation materials as well as technical services will be provided to support the prevention from food loss and foster the efficient production of safe food.

On-site expert advice will complement this approach to establish expert knowledge locally.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Zero hunger (SDG 2)
  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)

Achievement: Supply of high quality staple food to millions of people, talent development in the rural areas, local employer branding (currently in start-up phase).


Novasil Flour Fortification

Country: Kenya, Tanzania - Years: Since 2016 - Division: Nutrition & Health

Aflatoxin is a natural poison caused by certain molds. It is carcinogenic, leads to increased mortality and occurs in many agricultural products (like e.g. grains, seeds, rice). Poorer population groups are hereby most at risk, e.g. >80% of children in Tanzania are exposed to aflatoxins.

BASF’s Novasil is an aflatoxin-binding natural clay developed by BASF to prevent aflatoxin absorption in the body.

Our product can be incorporated into fortified flour in developing countries and protect people from getting sick. With the help of partners this innovative business approach has various positive effects e.g. on health status, mortality rate and public health. Productivity and collective economic performance can be achieved.

Novasil is sold via premixes through an ecosystem of partnerships and a network of stakeholders to producers of fortified flour in developing countries.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Zero hunger (SDG 2)
  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)

Achievement: Training of an increasing number of mills each year. Design of a clinical study to proof evidence of the positive impacts.



Projekt #Hapi

Country: Egypt - Years: Since 2018 - Division: Crop Protection

To help tomato smallholder farmers increase yield, BASF is developing an integrated digital market approach that includes an Early Alert Disease Warning System.  Many smallholder farmers treat their tomatoes curatively after the onset of disease which can lead to reduction in yield.  Through SMS and IVR, they will receive an early alert about the risk of infection in their village in order to treat their crops preventatively with innovative BASF solutions.  In addition to product recommendations, farmers will also receive stewardship and safety messages. To close the loop of product availability, retailers will also receive messages from BASF via WhatsApp.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • No poverty (SDG 1)
  • Zero hunger (SDG 2)
  • Partnership for the goals (SDG 17)

Achievement: Smallholder trainings result in more professional crop management and higher yields (currently in start-up phase).

Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Country: Ghana & Nigeria - Years: Since 2017 Division: Crop Protection

BASF is introducing an innovative technology for smallholder farm management of soybean and groundnuts in Ghana and Nigeria. Since stewardship and safety are key elements of our sustainability strategy, a critical component of the project is to develop a spray service provider program (SSP) by working closely with CropLife, a plant science association, to train and certify SSPs. In this program a farmer, young graduate or an agro dealer can receive special training to apply crop protection products and receive certification. These trained specialists can recommend application methods whenever there is a risk of crop damage by pests thereby leading to increased yield levels.
Additionally, SSPs are trained in responsible use and are equipped with BASF’s Professional Farmer Kit (a personal protective equipment), other components (boots, overall) and knapsack sprayers.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • No poverty (SDG 1)
  • Zero hunger (SDG 2)
  • Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17)

Achievement: Smallholder trainings result in more sustainable crop management and higher yields. First pilot completed in Ghana in 2017, 2018 will focus on pre-launch activities in Nigeria.

Allin Kawsay

Country: Peru - Years: Since 2016 - Division: Crop Protection

In Quechua, the indigenous language spoken in the territory of the former Inca empire, Allin Kawsay means “the good life.” Crop failures have devastating impacts on the smallholders’ livelihoods since potatoes are not only their major source of income but also serve as an important staple food crop in Peru.

In order to empower people to proactively change their lives for the better, BASF has initiated a project that helps the people help themselves: smallholders receive training on good farming practices and learn to enhance their entrepreneurial skills. In addition, they are provided with financial aid and other measures that help them close the gap between the production and marketing of their crops. These measures have the potential to raise crop yields by 50 percent or more and generate positive spillover effects resulting in a strengthened regional economy, better access to health care and education and improved quality of life. Since the project enables Andean farmers to achieve a good life, it has been named after their life motto, “Allin Kawsay.”

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • No poverty (SDG 1)
  • Zero hunger (SDG 2)
  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8)
  • Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)

Achievement: 3.500 farmers trained.


Espacio Inclusivo

Country: Chile - Years: Since 2010 - Division: Coatings

In the automotive industry repainting of cars requires high job skills and is considerably well paid. The lack of skilled labor and the limited availability of automotive refinishing training institutions is one of the biggest challenges in the repaint car industry in Chile while the unemployment rate of young people is above 16%.

Together with other stakeholders (NGO Fundación Cristo Vive, Universidad del Trabajo, 3M, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, a large car dealer and selected body shops) BASF has created a partnership to provide professional trainings for young adults in the automotive painting sector.

Program graduates have gained soft job skills such as workplace safety or hygiene as well as entrepreneurial skills so that they may potentially even found their own business. Our customers such as body shops benefit from the access to skilled painters and can offer thereby higher painting quality while improving their repaint productivity.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • No poverty (SDG 1)
  • Quality education (SDG 4)
  • Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8)

Achievement: 100 painters trained (30% of have found work in this sector). Project is being transferred to Uruguay, Argentina.


Super Grano

Country: Brazil - Years: Since 2018 - Division: Nutrition & Health 

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain development, a healthy heart and help to reduce inflammation.

Natural sources like fatty fish are hardly affordable or accessible fo rmost Brazilians. In particular children and elderly people need to take up Omega 3 essentially. It has a significant positive impact on the learning capabilities, cognitive performance, rheumatoid arthritis and depression.

Rice is an affordable national diet, so that with SuperGrano – fortified Omega 3 rice – those health topics can be easily tackled. Super Grano will be visibly marketed by Brazil’s leading rice company commercially as a healthy staple food in the premium market segment.  As a separated second market segment, institutional feeding organizations such as schools, senior residences and social programs will be approached, which requires innovative outreach and partnership efforts.

The project will be accompanied by a clinical study.

Sustainable Development Goal:

  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)

Achievement: End of 2020 more than 1 million children are expected to be reached (currently in start-up phase).



Vitrine Suvinil

Country: Brazil - Years: Since 2017 - Division: Coatings

Suvinil is the BASF leading premium brand for decorative paints in Brazil. The brand´s business strategy is based on strong customer relationships, innovation and focus on varoius stakeholders such as painters.

In partnership with Fundação Espaço ECO® BASF provides a unique training course to prepare painters to become distinguished entrepreneurs sensitive to sustainability issues. Additionally, BASF developed a platform to connect end consumers and painters. The project gives painters access to professional training, thus also contributing to decrease labor accidents.

Sustainable Development Goal:

  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8)

Achievement: In the first year of implementation about 1.000 painters used the Vitrine Suvinil platform. Our goal is to achieve 2.500 in three years and to measure the social impact of the project.

Further information on the Vitrine Suvinil platform is provided here (in Portuguese).


BASF Lighting

Country: China - Years: Since 2018 - Division: Dispersions & Pigments

Cool white LEDs are popular in Asia, but have a strong blue wavelength emission that may cause myopia and sleep disturbance by inhibition of melatonin hormone in human circadian cycle.

BASF has developed an innovative, energy-efficient LED product that converts blue LED light into natural warm white light. In order to protect school children from long-term exposure to blue light BASF is providing these innovative LED bulbs to selected public schools in China’s less developed regions. In these schools the effect of lighting on school children will be monitored and evaluated.

At the same time education has to ensure the understanding of the impact of lighting on health. Eye-care seminars for teachers, school children’s parents and the society will create awareness and underpin the positive impact of BASF’s innovative solution on school children’s health and wellbeing.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Quality education (SDG 4)
  • Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)

Achievement: Reduction of school children’s myopia by lowering the risk of long-term exposure to blue light (currently in start-up phase).


Better Environment Better Life

Country: China - Years: Since 2018 - Divisions: Intermediates, Care Chemicals

In China’s rural areas environment sanitation facilities (including trash bin, garbage truck, trash compactor and garbage transfer station, etc.) need more eco-friendly, efficient, water saving cleaning solutions.

Together with partners (e.g. CCIA – China Cleaning Industry Association) BASF is co-developing a cleaning solution that helps meeting these needs while building up expertise and increase awareness for sustainable solutions. An environmental-friendly product will be introduced to the market while helping low-income residents to gain the working skills for professional application.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • No poverty (SDG 1)
  • Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6)
  • Decent work and economic Growth (SDG 8)

Achievement: Improve low-income residents life with an innovative business model (currently in start-up phase).


Lampung Smallholder project

Country: Indonesia - Years: Since 2018 - Division: Care Chemicals

BASF’s Care Chemicals division has put a strategic focus on the production of sustainable palm oil which is provided by approximately 40% from smallholders.

In order to foster this approach, the Lampung smallholder project will strengthen smallholders’ commitment to produce palm oil in a sustainable way, protect and respect the environment as well as improve labor practices and relations with the community in Lampung area, Indonesia.

Together with partners a program will be developed where smallholders will receive trainings which empowers them to achieve RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certification, increase productivity and thus improving their lifes.

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • No poverty (SDG 1)
  • Zero hunger (SDG 2)
  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)

Achievement: Training of 1.000 farmers. RSPO certification of 350 farmers.


West Bengal ecovio® Plus Project

Country: India - Years: Since 2018 - Division: Performance Materials


India has passed legislation promoting compostable packaging and bags. Additionally, the Central Government wants to reduce food waste disposal to landfill. However, for these policies to become implemented in practice, stakeholders in India require practical evidence of the ecological, social, and economic benefits of certified compostable plastics for both packaging and organic waste collection.


The West Bengal ecovio® Plus Project is designed to establish and showcase these benefits and to help reinforce the relevant Indian policies.


Located in West Bengal, India’s fourth most populous state, with circa 90 million plus population, the project focuses on separated, organic food waste collections, utilising ecovio® based waste bags. In the cities of Kolkata and Kalyani BASF’s ecovio® biodegradable mulch film will also be introduced as an alternative to non-recyclable polyethylene mulch film and the efficacy of the combined solution will be demonstrated. This collected waste will be composted and converted thereby into a valuable soil amendment.


The core activities of this project connect community engagement in rural agricultural communities with organics recycling, sustainable agriculture, the support of Women’s Self Help Groups in the community and the benefit of improved urban amenity for the community at large.


Sustainable Development Goals:


  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)

Achievement: Improving urban amenity by diverting food waste from the streets and regenerating healthy soils.


The opportunity

All sectors of society can empower low-income people to achieve their aims. This includes the state and civil society, but also the corporate sector as part of society. By integrating them into their value chains as customers, distributors, and suppliers, companies can create a positive impact on their lives. Opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship will improve their livelihoods. Better access to affordable products will meet their basic needs. For companies, these are also opportunities for innovation and growth.

As a globally operating chemical company, BASF is well positioned to fulfill this role. Our broad market access and the development of our portfolio towards downstream industries give us the chance to create a positive impact on the daily lives of millions of low-income people throughout the world. By taking this chance, we also create opportunities to develop new business and to strengthen our supply chain. This contributes to our long-term success.

Our approach

Over the past decade, BASF has earned a track record of larger projects that succeeded in creating a positive social impact, while creating value for our business. The close cooperation with civil society, the public sector, and partners along our value chain have been key to fostering success.  

The projects have provided a rich learning experience that have enabled us to take the next step with our corporate program Starting Ventures. Through innovative business models and cross-sector partnerships, the projects develop business solutions that address people with low incomes throughout the world. Starting Ventures thereby contributes to our long-term success, while empowering people with low incomes to achieve a better quality of life.

The corporate program Starting Ventures provides resources to our business units to explore these new means of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the program facilitates sharing of experience and expertise across the entire organization. The selection of project ideas by a central steering committee is based on criteria in three areas: social impact, innovative business models, and business potential. The UN Sustainable Developments Goals serve as the basis for the criteria for social impact.

Starting Ventures is our way to include people in the economy for mutual benefit, thereby creating long-term business value and positive social impact. Both of these goals will consequently reinforce each other and enable us to continuously scale up our activities: the higher the contribution to our long-term success, the higher our positive impact on society.


Video: Starting Ventures – Partnering for a sustainable future