GREBE reviews and analyses business growth strategies: A guideline report now available

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Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and micro-scale enterprises (new and established) have a key role to play in generating new employment in peripheral regions. However, from knowledge of local markets it is clear that only small numbers of SMEs are consistent in generating new employment opportunities i.e. they are successful growth enterprises. SMEs that are most successful are those that successfully deployed growth strategies to optimize their business activities.

The growth strategy guideline reviews successful business growth strategies for SMEs and micro-scale enterprises in the NPA regions and analyses how these can be adapted for application to the RE sector. Business growth strategies based on new RE and energy storage technologies are identified by a case-based approach. Successful strategies allowing for business growth in current or new domestic or international market areas are available for replication across the NPA area facilitating economic growth and improved market access of new RE solutions.

The guideline report introduces firstly the contexts of business growth and main types of growth strategies. Secondly, it provides a baseline of business growth issues, preconditions of growth and support needs, basing on a transnational survey for 70 business enterprises in the NPA region. Thirdly, it provides examples of the growth strategies in renewable energy and energy storage sectors. Finally, conclusions provide more generic guidelines for the business growth strategies in the sector.

The guideline report is available for download on the GREBE website here

Christmas Greetings from the GREBE Project

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From all of us at GREBE Project, we wish all our followers a very Happy Christmas & all the very best wishes for 2017.

2017 will be a busy year for GREBE, and in February will we have our next partner meeting in Joensuu, Finland where we will launch our online knowledge sharing platform. We are joining with IEA Bioenergy Task 43 to hold a joint seminar on Thursday 9th February ‘From resource to sustainable business’.  Further details on this will be available in January on our website http://www.grebeproject.eu/ and social media.

Growth strategy guidelines for SMEs and micro-enterprises and a report identifying technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low will also be published in February.  Later in 2017, we will roll out of Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Norway and Iceland.

Please continue to follow our project and share with your colleagues and friends !

Scottish firms exporting renewables expertise worldwide

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Research by Glasgow based industry body Scottish Renewables has found firms from across Scotland are working in countries as diverse as China, Russia, Taiwan and Cape Verde and are now active on every continent bar Antarctica.

Across the Northern Periphery and Arctic area Scottish companies have been active in the Faroe Islands, Finland, Norway, Sweden as well as other northern countries including Canada and Russia. Firms have been involved in projects totalling £125.3 million across 43 countries.

Businesses have included Orkney based consultancy Aquatera which has been involved in creating marine energy projects across the United States, Chile, Japan, Columbia, Peru and Indonesia.  An Ayrshire based crane company, Windhoist, has installed more than 4,800 wind turbines across the globe whilst Glasgow’s Star Renewable Energy has installed a heat pump in Drammen, Norway, which now provides warmth for the city’s 63,000 residents.   Jenny Hogan of Scottish Renewables has said “This research clearly shows that Scotland’s expertise in renewable energy is in demand around the world.”

“The stretching targets set in Scotland have meant our home-grown green energy industry has developed skills which are in demand on every inhabited continent, bringing investment and income to Scotland from across the world.”

The Scottish Government has welcomed the figures as evidence of low carbon industries to the Scottish economy.  Business, innovation and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse added: “Low-carbon industries and their supply chains generated almost £11 billion in 2014 and supported 43,500 jobs, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics published recently. “Together with this new research from Scottish Renewables, the figures reinforce the growing importance of the low-carbon industries, including renewable energy businesses, to the Scottish economy and vindicates the Scottish Government’s support for the sector and the increasingly crucial role it plays within our energy mix and the wider economy.”

GREBE E-Zine No. 2 is launched

The GREBE Project has launched its second e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.

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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.

To read our e-zine, please click here

The GREBE Project visits Iceland

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The GREBE project partners will hold their fourth partner meeting in Reykjavik and Isafjordur in Iceland this week.  We have a busy schedule planned with the Western Development Commission (www.wdc.ie) and Innovation Center Iceland (http://www.nmi.is/english) working to co-ordinate the programme to fit in as much as possible.

On Tuesday morning, we’ll hold a Policy Workshop at Innovation Center Icelands offices in Reykjavik, this will be followed by a meeting with XRG Energy http://www.xrgpower.com/, the first part of our partner meeting and a Steering Committee meeting.   Then on Wednesday we have a packed day, with site visits to Auðlindagarður Svartsengi (http://www.resourcepark.is/) and the IDDP project (http://www.landsvirkjun.com/researchdevelopment/research/iddpproject/) as we travel to Isafjordur.

On Thursday and Friday, we will continue our project meeting at the Innovation Center Icelands offices in Isafjordur.

The new GREBE website is live !

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The new GREBE project website www.grebeproject.eu has been created by Future Analytics Consulting Ltd. (http://futureanalytics.ie/). The website builds on the branding theme created with the logo, which takes inspiration from the NPA programme and the priority (entrepreneurship) under which GREBE is funded.  The three hexagons in our logo reflect the entrepreneurs networking and sharing ideas, the renewable energy technologies, and the importance of renewable energy in everyday life.

Our website has information about the GREBE project, its aims and objectives, project deliverables, project partners and the NPA Programme.   We also have a section on our project activities and some information about renewable energy.   As the GREBE project progress, we will add more areas to the website and upload reports and guidelines to our ‘Publications’ page.

Visit the site to register your interest in the GREBE project.  If you would like more information on the GREBE project, please contact us at info@grebeproject.eu

European Union policy for the Arctic

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The Arctic states have primary responsibility for tackling issues within their territories, many of the issues affecting the Arctic region can be more effectively addressed through multilateral cooperation.

This is why EU engagement is important in the Arctic region. Building on previous initiatives, the European Parliament has started the work on developing an integrated European Union policy for the Arctic – that focuses on advancing international cooperation in responding to the impacts of climate change on the Arctic’s fragile environment, and promoting and contributing to sustainable development in the European part of the Arctic (EU –Commission resolution by 27.04.2016).

  1. BACKGROUND

Reasons for EU’s focus on the Arctic region:

Climate change – In recent years, the Arctic’s role in climate change has become much more prominent. Wheras in the past attention focused almost solely on the effects of climate change in the Arctic, more recently there has been growing awarness that feedback loops are turning the Arctic into a contributor to climate change. Understanding these dynamics, and helping to develop specific strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change in the Arctic, will form the EU’s wider efforts to combat climate change.

Arctic environment – Given the important role of Arctic as a regulator for the climate of the planet and acting as a sink for long-range pollution, the EU has a duty to protect the fragile Arctic environment and strengthen ecosystem resilience. The EU Arctic policy will be an important element to produce the adaptation strategies that are needed to help Arctic inhabitants respond to the serious challenges they face because of climate change.

Sustainable development – Taking in to account both the traditional livelihoods of those living in the region and the impact of economic development on the Arctic’s fragile environment. The EU should contribute to enhancing the economic and environmental resilience of societies in the Arctic. A number of EU activities and decisions are having an impact on economic developments in the Arctic region and EU is a major consumer of products coming from the Arctic states, such as fish products and energy. Investment by European companies can help advance sustainable development in the Arctic region.

International strategic importance – In recent years, the arctic region has acquired a higher profile in international relations due to its increasing environmental, economic and strategic importance. The EU already contributes substantially to Arctic research and regional developments. The opportunities of the Arctic can also increase tensions in the region – thorough competition for the resources and increasing economic activity. It is now more important than ever to ensure that the Arctic remains a zone of peace and constructive international cooperation.

Investment – A recent report: “A Strategic Vision for the North – May 2015” estimated investment opportunities in the Barents region alone to be EUR 140 billion. Regional ‘Smart specialisation strategies’ combined with EU funding, can help to develop local models of sustainable growth and job creation in the European Arctic with potential benefits across the EU:

  • Investment by European private capital
  • Investment by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
  • Activities under the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE)

2. PRIORITY AREAS

Against this background the European Parliament has asked the Commission for Foreign Affairs to develop an integrated policy on Arctic matters, and to develop a framework for EU action and funding programmes that focuses on three priority areas:

  • Climate change and safeguarding the Arctic environment
  • Sustainable development in and around the Arctic
  • International cooperation on Arctic issues

The main target for the EU Arctic policy is research and innovation – which will play a key role across all the three priority areas.

3. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AND AROUND THE ARCTIC

Sustainable economic development faces specific challenges in the Arctic region. Compared with other parts of Europe, the European part of the Arctic region is rich in natural resources such as fish, minerals, oil and gas – but is characterised by lack of transport links such as road, rail and flight connections, and has a sparse population spread over a wide area.

This means that the European part of the Arctic region has a significant potential to support growth in the rest of Europe. Through its’ Member State and its’ close ties with Iceland and Norway, as members of the European Economic Area (EEA), the EU can play an influential role in shaping the future development of the European part of the Arctic through the application of EU rules relevant for the EEA and the deployment of financial instruments.

The climate of the Arctic region makes it an ideal innovation site for cold climate technologies and services. Harsh climatic conditions and fragile environment require specialised technology and know-how to meet high environmental standards – and a lot of other opportunities. The European Commission will help to monitor opportunities in the Arctic region by giving priority to:

  1. Sustainable economic activities and innovation:
  • Cold Climate Technology
  • SME Competitivness and innovation
  • Climate research
  • Green Economy – Renewable energy/Multi-source energy systems
  • Blue Economy – Aquaculture, fisheries, marine biotechnology

     2. Project financing through EU territorial cooperation programmes:

  • Interreg Nord
  • Botnia-Atlantica Programme
  • The Baltic Sea Region Programme
  • The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme
  • The Kolarctic cross-border cooperation programmes

 3.  Innovation support:

  • ESIF Programmes
  • Horizon 2020
  • European Investment Bank Group
  • The European Enterprise Network
  • European Arctic Stakeholder Forum
  • Arctic EU Funds
  • European Investment Advisory Hub
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

 4. Infrastructure Projects:

  • European Investment Bank (Transport connections, telecom, energy efficiency)
  • Trans-European network for Transport (TENT)

 

EUROPEAN ARCTIC STAKEHOLDER FORUM

Consultations between the Commission and the European External Action Service has lead to the conclusion that the Arctic region is suffering from underinvestment. Recognising this, the Comission will set up a European Arctic stakeholder forum with the aim to enhancing collaboration and coordination between different funding programmes. This temporary forum should bring together EU institutions, Member States, and regional authorities to contribute to identifying key investment and research priorities for EU funds in the region.

Complementary to the forum, the NPA programme will lead a pilot activity aiming at bringing together a network of managing authorities and stakeholders from various regional development programmes in the European part of the Arctic. It is to facilitate the exchange of information, plan and coordinate calls for proposals and monitor the impact of programmes on the region. The new collaborative network will also be open to participation by relevant national and international financing instruments. The network feeds into the work of the stakeholder forum in identifying the research and investment priorities.

To bring the results of the forum and network, the Commission will fund and facilitate an annual Arctic stakeholder conference in the European Arctic region – after 2017 – to strengthen collaboration and networking between stakeholders to improve international project development in the Arctic region.

CONCLUSIONS

Through its Member State and its close ties with Iceland and Norway, the EU would play an influential role in shaping the future development of the European part of the Arctic through EU rules relevant for the EEA and the deployment of financial instruments focusing on innovation priority areas, project financing, innovation support and infrastructure programmes.

The European policy for the Arctic region would guide the EU’s actions for the coming years, but the Commission will keep the Arctic policy under review in light of developments. This will als ogive the participants in the GREBE-Project opportunity to contribute to identifying key investment and research priorities to EU – through the European stakeholder forum and the NPA stakeholder network and take part in and bring result in to the annual Arctic stakeholder conference in 2018. Work Package 4 with focus on SME innovation and harsh climate conditions challenging the opportunities in the ‘Green Economy’ sector.

The rich resources of the Arctic region has the potential to support economic growth in the rest of Europe, and the strategic importance of the Arctic region has increased as a result of this – and the willingness to invest in the area is huge, both from EU investment fund and EU innovation programmes.

The GREBE-Project has participants from the Arctic region and EU – so the integrated EU policy for the Arctic gives the GREBE-projects opportunities to have an influence on the priority of identifying key investment area for the renewable energy sector in the arctic region.