GREBE publishes its seventh project e-zine

Xmas Page2

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

Since October we have continued to carry out the project activities and meet our objectives. Our 7th partner meeting in Enniskillen was hosted by Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and included a networking event and site visits. The aim was to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SMEs and start-up businesses, and give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland. Details can be found on page 3. A policy workshop was held by the Western Development Commission as part of their Regional Heat Study for the Western Region. Details can be found on page 4.

GREBE’s Funding Options tool has been launched and provides information on the funding mechanisms currently available in the partner regions. More details on this can be found on page 6 and is available at http://support.renewablebusiness.eu/

Another highlight for the GREBE project was the launch of the Renewable Business Portal. The Portal is an online training and networking portal which allows for flexible and easy access to training material and technology transfer information. Details can be found on page 7 and 8 and can be visited at http://renewablebusiness.eu/

Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and has now been launched in Finland, Scotland and Ireland. Details can be found on page 9. Our e-zine can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here. This has been a great year as far as achieving our targets are concerned, and we have many more activities lined up for 2018.  We wish you a joyful and peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.

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GREBE’s Funding Options Online Tool


Networking in Action #2

GREBE’s Funding Options tool provides information on the funding mechanisms currently available in the partner regions (Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway and Scotland). The information will be useful to both funding agencies (e.g. business support agencies and municipalities) and to SMEs giving details of funding options available in their regions. The tool will help to ensure that funders in the different regions can learn about mechanisms and implementation strategies in use in other parts of the NPA area.

The main focus is on public support for renewable businesses but both private sector and social investment options have been included where appropriate. The supports included are for SMEs and Micro businesses but also include options for those SMEs expected to grow rapidly (e.g. High Potential Start Ups). The business support funding mechanisms considered vary from standard ‘hard’ business support options (e.g. loans and venture capital) to softer supports (e.g. innovation schemes, business partner search supports etc.).  Options are available to search for mechanisms which are specific to the renewable energy sector, and also based on the geographical area (local, region, national, EU etc.) the support covers.  There is considerable variation in the ways different funding options are implemented and these differences will impact on the success of schemes.

Renewable businesses in each region will be able to check what supports are available in their own region and contact points for applications.  GREBE’s Business Supports Catalogue is also available to download on the tool. We hope that by using this tool those who seek funding and support for renewable businesses will have a clear portfolio of options which are available to them.  This tool is available on our renewablebusiness.eu platform at http://support.renewablebusiness.eu/

Nordregio Working Paper on Bio-energy Development in North Karelia, Jämtland, and Västernorrland

KUAS 08-11-2017

Nordregio has released a working paper looking into rural bio-energy development in the region of North Karelia in Finland, and Jämtland and Västernorrland in Sweden. The paper identifies the enabling factors behind the relatively successful local bio-energy development and considers how the bio-energy development has influenced sustainable local and regional development.

The working paper is a part of the TRIBORN Project, which investigates how to increase the production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development understood as positive economic, social and environmental outcomes – in rural areas.

TRIBORN is a Norwegian-led research project investigating how to increase production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development in rural areas. It aims to understand and foster systems for bioenergy innovation and related support policies that can produce positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) leads the project, and the Research Council of Norway funds the project. In addition, the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute and Nordregio, a Nordic research institute for regional studies, are key partners in the project.

For the GREBE partner region of North Karelia, the report summarizes the bioenergy sectors success factors and development, but also challenges related to the utilisation of the sectors potential. The report refers to the OECD Green Growth Studies stating that “many favorable institutional factors for regional innovation are in place in North Karelia: strong local government with willingness to act, local ownership of power utilities, presence of strong research institutes and education facilities, tradition of co-operative organization, legitimacy of local bioenergy production and presence of local and regional actors in several stages in the supply chain”.

As development challenges, the report identifies several aspects, such as changes in forest and bio-energy policy; access to risk finance and other economic challenges facing especially local small and medium-sized enterprises; the challenge of ageing population; and the question of openness of the current innovation platform for innovation and development around other thematic areas than forestry and bio-energy. For instance, bio-economy opportunities in the agri-food sector could be investigated in more detail.

The collaboration with Nordregio and TRIBORN project has provided valuable development information for the bioeconomy sector in North Karelia, as well as comparisons to the sector development in northern Sweden.

Publication Facts

Bioenergy Development in Finland and Sweden: The cases of North Karelia, Jämtland, and Västernorrland

Nordregio Working paper 2017:6

ISBN: 978-91-87295-53-9; ISSN: 1403-2503

Editors: Anna Berlina and Nelli Mikkola with contributions by Karen Refsgaard and Alberto Huerta Morales

Full text available for download: http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1147107/FULLTEXT02.pdf

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.

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