For large businesses, cooperation is a means of building entrepreneurial spirit and new perspectives, while small enterprises boost their businesses and gain references that open doors to the market.
Fortum has conducted several projects with small enterprises.
"Projects with small businesses are clearly more cost-efficient and completed faster. This combination really works when you want to try out new things. Furthermore, startups currently pay close attention to customers' wishes because they do not yet have very many paying customers."
"Our aim is to conduct a pilot project with the most interesting businesses as soon as possible. This would be indisputably the most efficient way for small businesses to demonstrate their expertise and teamwork skills," says Mikko Huumo, Manager, Growth Projects, Fortum Oyj.
An example of such cooperation is the wave energy research project conducted by Fortum Oyj and Wello Ltd. Developed by Wello, the "Penguin" device collects kinetic energy on the water's surface, using a generator to turn it into electricity.
"Wello's goal is to become the Mercedes Benz of the global wave power plant construction sector."
Located in Cornwall, the project seeks to develop and operate Finnish wave power technology, in partnership with British and Swedish experts. The project's total budget is EUR 24.5 million. A significant share of its funding has been granted through the EU's Horizon 2020 framework programme.
Another example of Fortum's cooperation with a small enterprise is the Joensuu-based Process Genius. The company has developed a 3D technology that enables the modelling of an entire process or factory through a single user interface. This visual interface is easy to use and generates tangible cost savings and improved occupational safety. Fortum is developing a solution for the virtualisation of a pyrolysis plant. Cooperation was sparked by the Corporate Venture programme coordinated by Lahti Region Development LADEC Ltd.
Since Tekes's customer base includes spearhead companies both large and small, it would only be natural for Tekes to help them to engage in cooperation.
"On the other hand, we acknowledge that there are new businesses in the sector that are organising innovation competitions and helping companies to conduct startup programmes. I nonetheless believe that we have plenty to bring to cooperation between large and small enterprises, and can support such activities in a number of ways. Do not hesitate to get in touch and tell us about your idea," says Johanna Kosonen-Karvo, Senior Adviser at Tekes, encouraging businesses to contact Tekes.
Text: Eero Lukin