Enterprise Europe Network supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on their path to green business models and sustainable initiatives. The Danish SME Nortech Solutions is a case in point. With the Network’s aid, Nortech teamed up with a Czech company to launch a successful green business in 2019. Fast-forward to today, the Network’s sustainability advisers are helping small businesses develop strategies that build long-term value and reduce risk.
As the severe effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, entrepreneurs have to quickly adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Building international partnerships is one way for SMEs to pivot to new markets, accelerate innovation and rethink their strategies. Enterprise Europe Network’s advisers are here to help.
Going big and bold: the power of international partnerships
Nortech Solutions is a Danish SME assisting companies with their green transition throughout their production process and logistics. In 2019, after discussions with the Danish Enterprise Europe Network consultant Anders Skeem, International Manager at the Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, the company learned about Stabilplastik, a Czech producer of recycled plastic pallets looking for new partners for business development, production and distribution.
With the Network’s help, Nortech Solutions seized the opportunity and partnered with Stabilplastik to spearhead the Greenpallet concept – fully recycled and repeatedly recyclable pallets produced in eco-friendly conditions with zero-waste. Compared to standard plastic pallets, recycled pallets have a lower carbon footprint, while also being more durable, affordable and easier to maintain.
"Our customers become part of our circular mindset by having high-quality pallets made of recycled plastic. As a result of this new business model, we expect to hire more staff and achieve explosive revenue growth of 75% over the next few years. This is partly due to the fact that we are in very promising dialogue with several large food companies", explained Jeppe Mølvadgaard, Nortech’s CEO. "We are very pleased that we were informed about this business opportunity by the Enterprise Europe Network consultant", he added.
Using the Network’s sustainability expertise to unlock value
At the Enterprise Europe Network, green transition and sustainability go beyond specific business areas. The Network has now appointed dedicated advisers who help SMEs embrace holistic sustainability strategies.
Rubin Dollerup Nielsen, Business Development Manager at the Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, is one of the three new Danish sustainability advisers in the Network. With extensive experience in the food industry, Rubin has also completed a course on sustainable business models at the Business Academy Aarhus in 2021. During this programme, he gained new insights into how SMEs can integrate sustainability into their strategies to build resilience and increase performance. For example, in an episode of the Food Matters Live podcast– suggestively titled "Sustainability and the secret ingredients to Denmark’s success" – Rubin presented the case of the Danish SME Skarø, which managed to significantly reduce its energy consumption for its production processes. This was a project under a national Danish programme on Green Circular Transition, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and decentralized business development funds from Danmarks Erhvervsfremmebestyrelse. Drawing on these best practices, the Network’s advisers can help SMEs in the food sector adopt sustainable processes that focus on the company’s social, environmental and economic impact.
A bright future for sustainable companies
Empowering SMEs to develop sustainable business strategies is part of the Network’s client journey. Sustainability initiatives will not only drive social and environmental change but will also add to a company’s long-term success. Committing to sustainability can help businesses protect brand reputation, attract skilled talent, explore new markets and secure partnerships with purpose-driven companies. Businesses that can do well by doing good will become fitter, faster and better at preparing for the future.
Anders Skeem is the International Manager at Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, one of the six Danish consortium partners of Enterprise Europe Network. He has worked in the Network since its early days some 14 years ago. Anders has been a long-time member of the Network’s group of experts in Agrofood and the Danish consortium’s Deputy Coordinator for the last couple of years. He has been involved in a large number of matchmaking and partnering activities throughout the years, helping Danish SMEs and knowledge actors engage with new international partners and foster close collaboration within the Network.
The article was co-authored by Ruxandra-Laura Bosilca, PhD, Social Media and Community Manager for Enterprise Europe Network.