The GREBE project partners are holding their fifth partner meeting this week in a very cold (minus 25oC) Joensuu, Finland. The Western Development Commission and the Finnish partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and Karelia University of Applied Sciences have been working together to prepare a programme to fit in as much as possible.
The first part of our partner meeting was held today where we discussed plans for rolling out our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme to the partner regions. The meeting will continue tomorrow where discussion on other work package activities will take place. Our meeting is taking place in Metla House where LUKE are based. Then on Thursday we will hold a joint seminar with IEA Bioenergy Task 43 ‘From Resource to Sustainable Business’. On Thursday afternoon, we will hold two parallel sessions of either site visits to Kesla Forest Technology and Sirkkala Energy Park or a GREBE Policy Workshop. We will have details of our activities in future blog posts and our next e-zine.
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/
The GREBE Project has launched its second e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.
Since our e-zine in May, we have been working on implementing some of our project activities and this e-zine will highlight details of our new website, our Industry Advisory Group meetings, Policy Workshops, partner meetings in Inverness and Iceland, and the launch of the Northern Ireland pilot of our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme.
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.
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.