Tekes and its Team Finland partners opened a call for applications, seeking bioeconomy spearheads with significant international market potential, as well as ecosystems built around the needs of these spearheads. Six ecosystems have emerged from the application round and are now participating in a preparatory phase, in which they are strengthening the group of players linked to their business and creating a roadmap for achieving their business goals. The call for applications is part of the 'Bioeconomy and clean solutions' key project of the Finnish Government Programme.
"We are aiming for new, mega-sized business operations that, if successful, could play a major part in renewing Finnish businesses, increasing exports and improving Finland's attractiveness as an R&D environment for the bioeconomy," says Programme Manager Tuula Savola.
The market is more often in need of comprehensive solutions rather than individual components. As a result, in competition the emphasis is shifting from individual companies to the battle between networks.
"If we want to be the first to respond to customer needs and attract new investment to Finland, we need to strengthen our networks and business ecosystems," says Savola.
Preparing ecosystems, from nutrient recycling to wood fibre products
Efficient nutrient recycling is one of the challenges of the future, affecting issues such as food security and the condition of water bodies. The Baltic Sea Action Group is seeking a breakthrough in nutrient recycling in Finland, with the goal of creating Finnish nutrient recycling brands and introducing them to international markets. Business opportunities have been identified in areas such as soil fertility management, the production of recycled fertilisers and biogas innovations.
Demand for renewable raw materials for various end products is increasing, creating markets for wood-based textiles and biocomposites, for example. CLIC Innovation is preparing an international ecosystem based on strong Finnish wood fibre expertise. Lignin, a by-product of forestry, may become an important new source of raw materials in the future. However, the lignin market has been developing slowly, and will also require development at the supply end. Pöyry is preparing an ecosystem with the aim of revolutionising the lignin market, bringing together a Finnish value chain from lignin producers to refiners and international end users in various fields.
In the packaging industry, demand is rising for bio-based packages and for smart digital services covering the entire packaging chain. Pöyry and players in the packaging industry are preparing an ecosystem that combines the packaging industry's material solutions, digitality and new services related to such solutions.
Water is becoming an increasingly critical resource. New solutions are being sought in terms of both more efficient water use and digitality. Gaia Consulting is preparing an ecosystem involving more efficient water use and digital solutions. The first stage involves identifying pilot projects for Finnish solutions in the forerunner markets of the West Coast of the United States.
The increasing need for food is an important global challenge. Production of animal protein, an important source of nutrition, by means of traditional meat production will face mounting challenges in the future. Insect protein is a potential source of animal protein. In addition to aquaculture, insect farming is considered a potential environmentally friendly means of producing protein. Invenire Market Intelligence Oy is preparing an ecosystem for the insect farming business. In this field, Finland's competitive advantage lies in our high food safety and our hygiene know-how, among other factors.
Seeking to enter the piloting stage for new businesses quickly
After the roadmaps are completed in 2016, the most promising of them can become a reality with the support of Tekes and Team Finland actors.
"We aim to build highly international ecosystems around these business spearheads, bringing new participants into the networks from the digital and circular economy sectors, for example," says Savola. "In the bioeconomy in particular, the goal of these ecosystems is to accelerate the emergence of pilots and demonstrations rooted in the needs of a global clientele."
Tuula Savola, Tekes
Tel.+358 50 5577 667
tuula.savola (at) tekes.fi
Any interested businesses are invited to directly contact the parties preparing the ecosystems:
Baltic Sea Action Group
riku.venhola (at) bsag.fi
CLIC Innovation Oy
christine.hagstrom-nasi (at) clicinnovation.fi
Pöyry Management Consulting Oy
petri.vasara (at) poyry.com
Gaia Consulting Oy
paivi.luoma (at) gaia.fi
Invenire Market Intelligence Oy
johanna.tanhuanpaa (at) invenire.fi