Clean-tech business development receives 10 million SEK grant

Despite the ever increasing public demand for more environmentally friendly goods and services, many companies developing clean technology struggle to penetrate the market. An international research project at the Swedish Business School at Örebro University was recently awarded an EU grant of ten million SEK to study ways in which clean-tech businesses can improve their product marketing and consequently contribute to a better environment.

- The main barrier for these companies is that they are still small, immature and they lack the necessary global connections to establish themselves on the international market, says Claes Hultman, professor of business administration and the leader of the project.

- In addition, there are no regional support structures that could stimulate and coordinate the actions required for success.

Sweden, Estonia and Latvia

The aim of the research project, which has been named “Global Vision for the Clean-Tech Industry”, is to examine what is needed to increase growth in small and medium-sized companies developing environmentally friendly goods and services. The international research group teaming up for this project will study companies in three Baltic area countries; Sweden, Estonia and Latvia.

- The Baltic area has great potential within the clean-tech field, especially within water purification, waste management, new energy sources and sustainable building. The technology is there, but the companies have not been successful in reaching beyond the regional market. Statistics show that less than ten per cent of the aggregated sales volume stems from the international market.

The researchers are therefore going to identify the barriers for growth and propose suitable support measures and programmes that will eliminate these obstacles. As such, political initiatives, collaboration between the industry and the higher education sector, and, not least, a higher degree of collaboration within the industry itself may come into question.

More specialisation

- Collaboration is the key to success. The companies must become more specialised if they are to compete internationally and for that, a higher degree of coordination is required. By connecting the different clusters in the region, opportunities are created for small companies to jointly take on larger contracts abroad.

- The project is also significant to the research group PRIME RESEARCH at Örebro University, since we are now given further resources to develop our research on innovations, marketing and entrepreneurship at the Business School, says Claes Hultman.

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is part of the Central Baltic INTERREG IV A programme.

Text: Ingrid Lundegårdh
Translation: Charlotta Hambre-Knight
Photo: Per Frankelius