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/

 

GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme participants selected in Northern Ireland

Mentoring image

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) have now selected the 12 participants for the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme under the GREBE project.  It was interesting and challenging to make the final selection.  FODC are keen to support all those applicants but having had to make a decision, will try and support those not selected in perhaps more appropriate ways.

The process of mentoring involves companies engaging with external experts whose role is to support and challenge the business to address issues which may be adversely affecting their capacity to grow and develop.  The GREBE pilot will work with a range of companies all engaged in a wide variety of activities around renewable energy.  These companies have indicated there is something with which they need specific assistance.

Mentor matching has now complete and we can confirm that first meetings have taken place.  Details of the businesses selected will be published in our next GREBE E-zine which will be published and circulated in August.  After this, we will focus on one company at a time and write summary case studies to demonstrate how the support measures are working for the businesses, as the project moves forward.  These will also be published on our social media platforms.

Over the next number of months, we will be working with these businesses to address some of the challenges that face entrepreneurs working in the renewable energy sector.  The inputs and outputs from this engagement will provide an exemplar of how businesses operating in this sector can be best assisted to operate.

The pilot will then be rolled out across the whole GREBE project which covers regions including Finland, Iceland, Norway, Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

The FODC project co-ordinator for GREBE, Una Porteous spoke of how exciting it is to have gotten to this part of the project where mentors are now in position and able to commence work with the businesses.

GREBE E-Zine is launched !

Grebe_Ezine190516_alt

GREBE has launched an e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.

The first issue of the GREBE E-zine provides an overview of the projects aims and objectives and how the GREBE project will support renewable energy start-ups and SMEs in the Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) region.   This issue places a spotlight on the international launch of the project, which took place in Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland in February 2016.

GREBE Project Launch2

We will look at each of the project partners, Western Development Commission (ROI), Action Renewables (NI), Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (NI), Environmental Research Institute (SCO), LUKE (FI), Karelia University of Applied Sciences (FI), Narvik Science Park (NOR) and Innovation Center Iceland (ICE), the renewable energy sector in their region and activities in the project.

GREBE Partners

 

To read the GREBE E-Zine issue 1, click here

Excellent response to GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland

EES Launch
Una Porteous of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council presenting at the Entrepreneur Scheme Launch in Balcas, Enniskillen in March 2016

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have been delighted with the response to the call for businesses to engage with the GREBE project. The project has been oversubscribed and we are currently in the process of determining which businesses will be supported through the assistance available within the project. 

The applicants are representative of a range of providers across the Renewable sector, including some social enterprises, CHP providers, those involved in AD, biomass and those impacted by the removal of the RHI support that had previously been available.

The project co-ordinator for GREBE in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Una Porteous, can confirm that once selected these businesses will be involved in mentoring support to assist them in progressing within the RE sector and the diversity of activity that will be represented in the choice, will reflect the range of opportunities that exists for this sector in spite of the challenges that they have to deal with.

Fermanagh & Omagh District Councils first enterprise week hailed as a great success

GREBE, FODC & Balcas

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has been delighted with the response to its first ever Enterprise Week which delivered well over 20 free business support events in a wide range of locations throughout the district in partnership with Omagh Enterprise Company Ltd and Fermanagh Enterprise Ltd.

A wide spectrum of topical business related seminars, workshops, talks and training events were on offer and well over 300 businesses from throughout the district were in attendance during the week-long Enterprise Week.

For the convenience of the local business community specialist events were held throughout the week in numerous locations including Enniskillen, Dromore, Irvinestown and Omagh and delivered by leading experts.

The Council was keen to ensure that a vast array of topics, relevant to the needs of the local business community was covered during the five-day event and offered a vast spectrum of advice and guidance on subjects such as e-commerce, digital marketing, website and Facebook training, practical support on starting and growing a businesses, pension auto enrolment responsibilities and how to tender for public sector contracts, to name but a few.

During the week the Enterprise Centres in Omagh and Enniskillen also opened their doors on a number of occasions when staff were available to offer on the spot advice and guidance on all sorts of business matters including health and safety, finance, etc.

One of the region’s most successful businesses, Euro Auctions in Dromore also opened its doors and hosted a Business Open Evening to outline the company’s history and path to significant worldwide growth.  At this event businesses were also able to meeting with funding representatives from the Rural Development Programme and Invest NI.

As the Council was conscious of the need to embrace all sections of the region’s business community events also focused on women in business and the social economy sector the latter of which was highlighted and celebrated at the Council’s first ever Social Economy Conference which was held on the penultimate day of Enterprise Week.

Almost 60 people attended the Social Economy Conference in the ARC Healthy Living Centre in Irvinestown where a host of celebrated speakers from the field of social enterprise addressed the event, including representatives from LEDCOM, one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises, the Chief Executive of Viable Corporate Services and the Chief Executive of the ARC Healthy Living Centre itself.  Other participants at the conference included Omagh Enterprise Company Limited and Knockninny Credit Union

A new EU funded Renewable Energy Business Support Programme, GREBE was also launched on the final day of the week.  GREBE is a three year programme being delivered by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to support renewable energy enterprise.  The progamme was launched at the BALCAS Plant in Enniskillen on Friday.

Speaking about the resounding success of the five-day event, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly said the Council had been elated by the response to Enterprise Week.

“The Council is conscious of the crucial importance of SMEs to our district and has always strived to offer as much help and assistance to this valuable sector as possible.  It is therefore encouraging to note that well over 300 businesses from throughout the area were able to avail of advice and guidance from the events,” he said.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of the local economy and we have listened to and taken on board what support our businesses out there need and want.  Indeed feedback from those who attended events during Enterprise Week has been extremely positive and encouraging and I know the support we offered during the week, and continue to do throughout the year will go some way to help our businesses grow and contribute greater to the local economy”, Councillor O’Reilly added.

In conclusion the Chair said that such was the success of this pilot initiative that the Council hoped that it would continue on an annual basis.

“Although Enterprise Week was a pilot initiative, it is evident that it was a resounding success and I am confident that it will become an annual event on the calendar of events the Council holds every year for our indigenous business community,” Councillor Reilly concluded.

GREBE Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland

Finland IAG meeting
GREBE partner Robert Prinz (LUKE) presenting project objectives at the Finnish Industry Advisory Group meeting

GREBE Industry Advisory Groups provide their insights on how project activities can most effectively be implemented in the region, how project can link and work together with other activities and results be disseminated to various beneficiaries.

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. The first meeting was organized at LUKE, Joensuu office in Tuesday 15th of March.

GREBE IAG meeting introduced the project (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).

The group discussion provided many valuable insights for the GREBE activities. For instance, the networks of companies and of research and development could be linked better with each other. Recommendations were given for the development of the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme. Currently mentoring is not a common practice in the region, but it was considered to have good potential. As a positive trend, the RE enterprises are increasingly cooperating and sharing information with each other.

IAG also discussed on how to share the information about GREBE among their wider networks and contribute to the policy development activities of the project.

GREBE Project to launch Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Enniskillen

GREBE Renewable Energy launch invite Balcas

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will launch a new renewable energy business support programme which will focus on the challenges of peripheral regions as places for doing business and help develop renewable energy business opportunities.

The €1.77 million transnational project is co-funded by the EU’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme and the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area is the only council area in Northern Ireland to benefit from the three-year programme which includes eight partners from six countries including the Republic of Ireland, Scotland Finland, Norway and Iceland.

Generating Renewable Energy Business Enterprise – GREBE – will be launched on the final day of the Council’s first ever Enterprise Week.  The launch will take place at the BALCAS plant, Ballycassidy, Enniskillen on Friday 4 March 2016

The Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly said that the Council was delighted to have secured funding from the Periphery and Arctic Programme to participate in GREBE.

“The Council is honoured to be chosen to carry out this pilot scheme to demonstrate its effectiveness within this sector and to use that pilot to inform the other regions participating on the programme on how to roll it out within their areas.  Included in this will be the provision of a resource pack for use by all partners which demonstrates best practice in mentoring,” the Councillor said.

Speaking about the merits of this unique programme, Councillor Reilly said that renewable energy provides substantial benefits for the climate, health and the economy.

“Renewable energy projects have untold economic development benefits by keeping money within the local economy.  As well as cutting down on energy/operating costs for small businesses leading to considerable savings for them, renewables show that businesses are adapting a responsible approach to the environment.

“Businesses in the Programme area face innumerable challenges including a lack of critical mass, dispersed settlements, poor accessibility, vulnerability to climate change effects and limited networking opportunities.  GREBE will equip SMEs and start-up businesses with the skills and confidence to overcome these challenges and use natural assets for renewable energy to best sustainable effect.  The renewable energy sector contributes to sustainable regional and rural development and has potential for further growth,” Councillor O’Reilly continued.

Focusing on the location for the launch of the Progamme, Councillor O’Reilly said it was fitting that BALCAS had been chosen as the venue as the company was not only a leading timber products supplier but has pioneered biomass renewable energy in the UK and has led the development of the market for wood pellet fuel in Ireland and Britain

For further information on GREBE, please contact Una Porteous, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, telephone 0300 303 1777 Ext 21211 or e-mail una.porteous@fermanaghomagh.com