Karelia University of Applied Sciences implements pilot mentoring programme in North Karelia

Kuas Blog

Karelia University of Applied Sciences implemented a pilot mentoring programme for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. Mentoring took place between January 2018 and April 2018 for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. The mentoring provided the companies with suggestions for production process development, new business and product ideas and ways to develop their company as a whole.

As mentoring is a rather new method in Finnish business world, the GREBE project team was interested to see how things would proceed in its pilot mentoring sessions. The Irish partner’s processes were taken as an example for Karelia’s mentoring. The mentor proposed 2-5 optional solutions for the mentee’s, including for example improving the production process using LEAN principles, new (bio-based) raw material options, proceeding with product innovation, new business lines and new cooperation partnerships. The mentee’s chose 1-2 proposals to take further and discussed them with the mentor and/or other partners.

The mentoring process was well received and the mentees and mentor formed a good and open relationship. Although some of the proposed solutions seemed radical, many of them were already thought of in the company but not taken further, and the mentor assisted and sparred in the process. With a given tight time schedule and mentoring schedule, the companies found the mentoring useful and efficient. Due to limitation of time as the mentoring was performed in four months the outcomes of the mentoring are not realized yet. The mentoring finished in April 2018 and the companies are proceeding with the chosen solutions.

Here are some experiences from the mentor:

“I’m Juha Määttä, Spiralia Consulting Company and I have done three business mentoring cases in the Finnish part of the project. All business cases are part of GREBE project mentoring. Mentoring tasks included solving R&D process bottlenecks, screening of new business opportunities and analysing production process. Possibilities of new biomaterial have also been estimated. All companies have had interesting and challenging business cases. Mentoring has brought new solutions for the companies. All parties have increased their knowledge of renewable energy and enlarged our networks in business and research.”

A more detailed description of the mentoring process will be available in August 2018.

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Karelia University of Applied Sciences implements pilot mentoring programme

Mentor

Janne Uutela from Rajaforest Ltd (left) and Juha Määttä from Spiralia Ltd in a mentoring session.

Karelia University of Applied Sciences is implementing a pilot mentoring programme for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. Mentoring will take place from January 2018 to April 2018 for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. The mentoring will provide the companies with suggestions for production process development, new business and product ideas and ways to develop their company as a whole.

Mentoring is not so common in Finland as it is in, for example, Ireland so the experiences of GREBE’s Irish partner form a basis for this mentoring process.  Karelia launched an open call for companies in spring 2017 and received an expression of interest from three companies: Eno Energy Cooperative, Havel Ltd and Rajaforest Ltd. The current situation, needs and wishes for the mentoring process were discussed in 2017 and the tendering process for the mentor was made in late 2017. Mentoring includes 12 individual meetings with the mentor.

The mentoring takes place in a rather short timeframe, from January to April 2018 and is performed by Juha Määttä from Spiralia Ltd. The topics discussed so far in the mentoring sessions have included current challenges of the companies. They are looking into the strategic choices for the future, implementation of a development project and developing the production process. All companies have openly brought forward challenges and problems in their activities and the dialogue between the mentor and mentee (company) has been active in searching for alternative solutions. The mentor has proposed several optional solutions, which will be developed further in the coming months.

More information on the outcomes will follow in May 2018.

 

Closing date for applications for GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme is extended to 1st December

The closing date for applications to GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Ireland has been extended to Friday 1st December 2017.   

GREBE will work with small to medium renewable energy businesses throughout the Western Region to provide support to facilitate their growth through specialised mentoring.

The Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme will commission mentors with the appropriate expertise to be assigned to work with businesses to address identified area(s) where help is needed, in order to deliver a bespoke support package.

Applications are welcomed from all small to medium renewable energy businesses, based in the Western Region (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway & Clare).   Participating businesses will be matched with an appropriate mentor to meet their business needs, based on areas of specialism and scoring.

An Expression of Interest application form may be downloaded from the GREBE website here or requested by email from paulineleonard@wdc.ie

Completed applications must be returned to GREBE Project, Western Development Commission, Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, or alternatively via email: paulineleonard@wdc.ie not later than 12.00 Noon on Friday 1st December 2017.

This project is funded by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme.   For further information on the GREBE Project, please visit our website www.grebeproject.eu

GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme is now open for applications in Ireland

GREBE EES SME advertV2

The GREBE Project is launching the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Ireland.  GREBE will work with small to medium renewable energy businesses throughout the Western Region to provide support to facilitate their growth through specialised mentoring.

The Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme will commission mentors with the appropriate expertise to be assigned to work with businesses to address identified area(s) where help is needed, in order to deliver a bespoke support package.

Applications are welcomed from all small to medium renewable energy businesses, based in the Western Region (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway & Clare).   Participating businesses will be matched with an appropriate mentor to meet their business needs, based on areas of specialism and scoring.

An Expression of Interest application form may be downloaded from the GREBE website here or requested by email from paulineleonard@wdc.ie

Completed applications must be returned to GREBE Project, Western Development Commission, Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, or alternatively via email: paulineleonard@wdc.ie not later than 12.00 Noon on Friday 17th November 2017.

This project is funded by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme.   For further information on the GREBE Project, please visit our website www.grebeproject.eu

LUKE and Karelia UAS hold GREBEs second Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland

Finland IAG May 2017
GREBE partner Lasse Okkonen (Karelia UAS) presenting at the Finnish Industry Advisory Group meeting

GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) contributes towards dissemination of GREBE outputs and learnings among their wider networks, including at local, regional and national policy level where possible.

The second annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Wednesday 26th of April 2017.  Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments and outcomes over the last year, introduced the GREBE Renewable Business Portal (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).

The group discussion was interesting and highlighted the importance of marketing & sales skills in companies and SME´s. The discussion also included the planned online/virtual course preparation and video production of Finnish technology & renewable energy cases showing the entire chain from the raw material to the end-use. The IAG provided valuable insights for the GREBE activities on support scheme, business calculations, entrepreneur enabler scheme and demonstration cases and mentioned the importance of National languages in dissemination material such as in videos or other selected material.

IAG also discussed on how to link and work together with other activities, projects and support and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy. The IAG in Finland includes representatives from the renewable energy SMEs, research and education, business development companies, regional authority and agricultural producers and forest owners union.

2017 Omagh Business Awards Now Open

oba17-enter-now

The 2017 Omagh Business Awards, sponsored by SSE and organised by the Ulster Herald and Omagh Chamber of Commerce, are now open. The Awards aim to celebrate local business dedication, commitment and success and in particular those who show initiative, business acumen and a great determination to grow the local economy.

Businesses can now enter any of the eight categories on offer and recipients will be announced at the Gala Awards Night in the Silverbirch Hotel on Friday, 19th May 2017.

By entering businesses can raise their profile, prove excellence, acknowledge team efforts and impress partners and clients.

Further details can be found on the Ulster Herald website http://ulsterherald.com/2017/02/01/2017-entry-page/

GREBEs Entrepreneur Enable Scheme to be rolled out in Spring 2017

Within the GREBE project, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) have been responsible for the work around the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme (EES).  Over the last 18 months, we have been busy procuring the services of mentors, recruiting businesses (12 within the FODC region) and implementing the scheme. With almost 94% of the mentoring sessions in the pilot region now complete, the GREBE project is about to roll-out the EES to other partner regions.  Aimed at businesses that are either currently active in the Renewable Energy sector or wish to become involved in the sector through innovate approaches or business diversification, the purpose of the scheme is to provide business supports to assist those chosen to be involved.

The GREBE project will target businesses in the following areas and in the following numbers:

  • Western Development Commission – Ireland – 10
  • Environmental Research Institute – Scotland – 5
  • Karelia University of Applied Sciences – Finland – 3
  • Narvik Science Park – Norway – 10
  • Innovation Centre Iceland – Iceland – 5

The businesses will be able to avail of support around a range of areas that they will identify themselves.  In addition to sector specific Renewable Energy expertise, they may require expertise relating to Access to Finance, Business Growth, Human Resources issues, or any aspect that is relevant to business development.  Mentors with the appropriate expertise will be assigned to work with the business to address the identified area(s) and to deliver a bespoke support package. The level of support is up to 6 days of mentoring which can be delivered over a period of time commensurate with the business need.

The Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme will be launched in Finland next week as part of our forthcoming Partner meeting , within a policy workshop “From resource to Sustainable Business”.  This public seminar will take place at Metla-talo, Yliopstokatu 6, 80100 Joensuu and you can register for the event here

Some information on the participant companies in the Northern Ireland pilot can be found in our e-zines on the publications page of our website http://grebeproject.eu/publication/