Article published in UNIZO – February 16, 2021
Joris Jansen, with his start-up PROBIBEL BV operating under the name YOKUU, has been named the Starter of the year 2020 for the province of Antwerp. That is what the business organization UNIZO-province of Antwerp announced today. This Antwerp biotech start-up wants to change the hygiene model and has developed a circular cleaning pearl – as light as a feather, without plastic and full of good bacteria! Joris will compete against four other candidates in the race for the title of Flemish Starting Entrepreneur for the Year 2020. The national winner will be announced on February 25th!
This young biotech company markets cleaning products containing good bacteria. Joris, a bioengineer by training, is fascinated by bacteria, “particularly their impact on our daily lives. We have been so brainwashed into thinking that we have to kill all bacteria that we have forgotten that bacteria are an untapped source of all kinds of solutions to current problems. Bacteria are a fundamental part of our own self – 1.5kg of our weight to be exact. They play an important role for our immune system, and they even influence our thoughts and emotions. Living too clean is not healthy.”
YOKUU is a cleaning product made of compact pearls full of good bacteria. YOKUU was named after Japanese forest therapies. “There, they send people into the forest to get healthy. We went to the forest to get our ingredients: live bacteria. We put them in pearls. The good bacteria will continue to clean after you clean. They compete with the bad ones, resulting in less dust and fewer odours,” George explains. YOKUU not only uses natural ingredients, but also works on reducing consumption of plastic, transport and water.
To further develop his product, Joris received support from the City of Antwerp. Antwerp supports start-ups in particular in the digital, circular and creative economy. The city thus made 1 million euros available for 7 companies to develop their ideas. Joris was one of the lucky winners.
“Joris Jansen proves that sustainability is a key ingredient for innovation. He succeeds in pushing his passion and drive into a unique product that meets the expectations of our society in the field of ecology”, says Carl van Dyck, director of UNIZO Antwerp province.
UNIZO wants to give starters a platform, especially in these more difficult times. Despite the unprecedentedly difficult year for many self-employed people, we can see from the figures and the number of supervisions started at UNIZO that there is a lot of enthusiasm and ambition to start a new company. June, July and August 2020 were absolute top months with an average of 11.54% more starters than the previous year. After somewhat more difficult months in lock-down, starter numbers took off in December, with an average of 7.53% more starters than in 2020.