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.
The heat entrepreneurs of North Karelia and Savo regions met in Lieksa to discuss the recent development of the sector. The meeting of entrepreneurs and bioenergy developers focused on the work safety aspects, the potential of the solar energy systems integrated in district heating, and the socio-economic benefits of bioenergy.
The importance of the work safety issue was emphasized by presentations on risk assessments, safety issues along the supply-chain and at the heating plant, and on legislation requirements. Practical examples were given on the realised risks – such as deaths in silos – and how they could have been avoided.
Eno Energy Cooperative is a famous example of a heat enterprise positively affecting at the regional economy. Bioenergy and bioeconomy specialist Esa Kinnunen from the Finnish Forest Centre presented the latest socio-economic study of the Eno Energy Co-op. The estimated socio-economic impacts of cost savings (i.e. replacing heating oil with renewable biomass) during the past 15 years have been about 75 jobs and 2.8 MEUR.
The heat entrepreneurs are considering investments on the solar energy systems integrated in the DH plans; technical and economic aspects of the PV and solar thermal were presented by Karelia UAS Renewable energy specialist Kim Blomqvist. Kim also presented the currently open GREBE Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme call for local enterprises in Finland – heat entrepreneurs are among the key target groups of the scheme.
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.
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.