Carbon compensation, smart port and marine services, artificial intelligence and new solutions for a societal scale model of renewable energy production, were declared the winners in Business Finland’s growth engine competition. The competition was won by the companies Compensate, Awake.AI, Silo.AI and Flexens. The winning projects are estimated to generate nearly EUR 6 billion in new net sales in Finland, over EUR 9 billion in new exports and nearly 100,000 new jobs within ten years.
For the 2nd time, Business Finland organized a growth engine competition. The aim was to find the best ideas within business ecosystem operators in different sectors, with ideas that will generate at least one billion euros worth of innovation-driven new business, exports and investments in Finland. To those who could present the best ideas, Business Finland offered a subordinated loan to develop the operations and ecosystem of the platform company. Platform companies are key companies or organizations that act as catalysts, to enable growth and who include novel actors to build their new business.
– According to international studies, the best ideas and innovations for sustainable growth are created in business ecosystems, and the importance of these ecosystems is also strongly recognized in the new Finnish government program. None of the operators may have a business model that is so strong that it will get the network that is needed. Here, the role of a public actor, such as Business Finland, as a financier and facilitator of networks is important and justified. The best-performing business ecosystems can create new business worth billions of euros. Particularly great is the fact that this internationally, innovative, financial model that is used to start the growth engines, can also finance projects that are not otherwise eligible for traditional R&D funding, says Business Finland’s CEO Pekka Soini.
New unique financing model
The Finnish government directed a total of EUR 60 million in a loan-type equity financing for 2018 and 2019 to finance growth engines.
– The capital loan financing of growth engines is an internationally unique concept. We invest in the companies for future prosperity for Finland. Tendering is carried out through a procurement procedure, the winning bids are the ones that we believe to be the most probable to succeed and make the largest impact. This funding is a purely sustainable growth funding and is a good complement to other financial services provided by Business Finland, says Karin Wikman, who developed the concept in Business Finland .
Capital loans for growth engines are significant, typically between EUR 5 million and EUR 10 million. The bidders are obligated to return the capital loan they have received.
Success for Flexens’ demo platform Smart Energy Åland
RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION FROM THE SOCIAL CLASS DEMO AS AN INTERNATIONAL PROVIDER OF COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTIONS – FLEXENS
– Together with the extensive Finnish business ecosystem, Flexens strives to implement the world’s first full-scale societal energy transformation. Smart Energy Åland will be a scalable system demo, creating the possibility to export advanced universal renewable energy solutions to the global market. Business Finland’s Smart Energy program includes much more than this now-secured venture capital financing, this holistic approach has created the conditions for developing the Flexens business concept, says Berndt Schalin, CEO of Flexens.
Curbing the ongoing climate change will require significant changes on the current energy system. With increased production of renewable weather-dependent energy, such as the sun and wind, would require a higher flexibility and efficiency in the electricity networks. There is also a need for flexibility in heating and transport systems, to balance the energy system. In Finland, the competence and know-how within the energy sector is substantial, but coordination of various activities and the use of digitalisation will require new test and demo platforms. Flexens platform Smart Energy Åland will enable such coordination, combined with the solutions for a low cost renewable energy integration. At early stages, the solutions developed and tested in a full-scale societal demo platform, will be built on the Åland Islands. Flexens seeks to combine products, skills and knowledge of various ecosystem actors and provide a unique platform for participating companies. Solutions developed on the Åland Islands will also be actively exported for international actors seeking sustainable and flexible solutions within the renewable energy sector.
News adapted from Business Finland. Link here.