Few businessmen, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists outside of Finland will have heard of Tekes.
It is a public agency working under Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy – and is the main public funding organisation for research and development (R&D) in Finland. Tekes has an annual budget of approximately 600 million euros and has 360 staff located in Finland and in several overseas offices.
Tekes funds industrial projects as well as work in research organisations, and especially promotes innovative and risk-intensive projects. Tekes also offers partners from abroad a gateway to the key technology players in Finland.
Tekes programmes are viewed as a key part of the Finnish innovation system. These programmes have proven to be an effective form of cooperation and networking for companies, universities and research institutes that are developing innovative products, processes and services. Tekes programmes aim to boost development in specific sectors of technology or industry, and the results of the research work are passed on to Finnish business sector. Many of the programmes also serve as excellent frameworks for international R&D cooperation [such as in EU-supported projects].
Recent publications from Tekes have stressed that the global energy system is facing huge challenges. Climate change mitigation is seen as a key driver to reduce the environmental impacts of energy production and use. Accordingly, energy production should be based on carbon-free and low-emission generation technologies, such as renewable energy. However, the changes in the energy sector are over a long time-span as many installations will still be in operation for several decades.
A review of recent literature has also shown that Finnish energy technology export volumes have spiked in recent years, rising to eight percent of total exports. This is proportionally among the highest in the world. As Finland has strong expertise in renewable energy it is expected that this sector will have a leading role in future export developments.
Groove – Growth from Renewables 2010-2014
The ‘Groove – Growth from Renewables’ programme was launched by Tekes on 1st January 2010.
The main objective of the programme is to enhance the business capabilities of Finnish small and medium-sized companies working with renewable energy by improving their international competitiveness. To achieve this goal, their growth and international development will be supported in collaboration with the country’s financial networks.
The Groove programme will run from 2010 to 2014 – and has a total budget of 96 million euros. Tekes will provide half of the budget with the rest of the funding being provided by the participating companies.
A key goal is to produce new paths for global operations and new possibilities for integrating novel technologies and services into the renewable energy markets. With this in mind, the international business operations of the companies selected for the programme will have an annual growth rate target of 10 to 20 per cent.
In addition to R&D funding, Groove supports the development of new business skills, the building of international networks, and assistance in the rapid commercialisation of new innovations through the creation of spin-off companies.
During the launch of the programme, Tekes Programme Director Pia Salokoski commented that: “As the operating environment for renewable energy is constantly changing, the objective of the programme is to find new ways of commercialising technology more quickly. Special attention will also be paid to consumer orientation because consumers will play a growing role both in innovation activities and technological advancement.”
To find out more about Tekes and the Groove programme go to: www.tekes.fi
Or email Kari Herlevi, Groove programme team member for international cooperation, business knowledge, and investor co-operation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Compiled by Andrew W. Cox, Energy Intelligence & Marketing Research, UK