Internationalisation is the key to exploitation of SME potential – Clusters can make it happen!
The message is crystal clear when you ask Jacob Mogensen, Manager of The Danish Innovation Network for Biomass (INBIOM), how European SMEs can succeed and whether it is something Clusters and networks should be involved in.” National markets are relatively small for most SME’s compared with the cost of developing new technologies. SMEs needs to ensure total exploitation of the potential today and this can be achieved by reaching out to foreign markets. Foreign involvement increased demand of new technology – but just as important – also already existing ones”. Jacob continues, “clusters can be the missing link in terms of facilitating the process and essential to the success of SME’s.” Many clusters are already doing this – the question is whether they remember to tell the story” Jacob argues.
Since 2011, Jacob Mogensen has been in charge of INBIOM and within this period, the network have focused on helping Danish SMEs to establish contacts and business in China. So far, the network succeed in technology and knowledge transfers, concrete orders, and even establishment of new common companies across Danish and Chinese stakeholders. Several leads are still in process and many other concrete results are expected.
The secret behind INBOMs success is according to Jacob a long focused effort combined with the right partners both in Denmark and in China. Without this corporation especially with partners with networks and insights into the Chinese culture and business, the success would not have been possible. The effort needed to succeed is of great value to members of the network and in combination with the secretary’s insights into relevant technologies, capabilities within general facilitation and knowledge of innovation procedures INBIOM has been a successful framework – something that many clusters and networks actually reflects.
Links to INBIOM movie on AEM Engineering:
Link to DASTI movie shown at conference (only in Danish)
For English version – please contact Merete Nielsen at [email protected]
RENEW ENERGY A/S
I May of 2013 Renew Energy A/S was introduced to Liaoning Institute of Energy Resources (LIER) in connection with an incoming company mission to Denmark organised by INBIOM. LIER was interested in finding potential cooperation partners with biogas expertise for a big project in their pipeline and were able to apply for funding from the Chinese Expert Import programme to help finance the cooperation.
This led to Renew Energy’s involvement in a Chinese project on biogas production from household waste. The actual project cooperation started in June 2014 and both companies were faced with cooperation difficulties stemming from both cultural differences and different technology preferences. After a lot of discussions, in which INBIOM played a part as mediator, a solution was reached. The Chinese company accepted Renew Energy’s project design and Renew Energy in turn paid for two Chinese engineers to come to Denmark for a training course.
This course took place in March 2015 and really opened their eyes for Danish technology. They finally came to understand why the Danish company had insisted on sticking with their own project design. According to Renew Energy, the Chinese company’s own idea would never have worked and afterwards the Renew Energy only got positive feedback on the choice of technology. According to Poul Ejner Rasmussen from Renew Energy, the two companies are both interested in cooperation on new projects in the future and despite the initial difficulties the Danish SME is now pursuing other opportunities in China, which will be a lot easier now that they have a reference project.
About Renew Energy A/S
Renew Energy A/S is a consulting engineering company that is specialised in biogas projects. They are based in Svendborg in the Southern part of Denmark and were established in 2007.
Read more at www.renewenergy.dk
PASSAT ENERGY A/S
Passat Energy A/S produces biomass furnaces for energy and heating. They are located in a small rural town near Viborg in the western part of Denmark, close to Agro Business Park where the Danish Innovation Network for Biomass is located. Years ago, a Chinese company, Xunda Science & Technology Group, visited INBIOM and expressed interest in companies producing biomass technologies. This led to a visit at Passat Energy’s facility which eventually led to a Danish/Chinese joint venture.
A few years later INBIOM received a request from a Chinese company and research institute via Enterprise Europe Network. They needed a sustainable heating technology for a Chinese eco-hotel project in Beijing near the Great Wall. INBIOM put them in contact with Passat Energy and it eventually lead to a sale, their second in the Chinese market, of three wood pellet furnaces to the Chinese eco-hotel project. The order had a value of approx. €175,000, but more importantly is a great reference project which will hopefully lead to much more business in China.
About Passat Energy A/S
Passat Energy A/S was established in 1958 and develop, produce and furnaces and boilers – since 1971 they have focused entirely on biomass fuels. Today the company is owned by a joint venture between the Chinese company Xunda Science & Technology Group Denmark ApS and the Danish company Vorning Maskinfabrik ApS.
Read more at www.passat.dk
OTHER COMPANIES THAT SIGNED COOPERATION AGREEMENTS WITH CHINESE COMPANIES
AEM Engineering works with sustainable energy in Asia, including biogas. They found a partner who was interested in a licencing agreement where the Chinese company buys licences to build plants based on the patented Danish biogas technology.
Scale Biofuel has developed a technology to produce biofuel in an economically and environmentally sustainable way with waste and solar energy. They signed an agreement to build a demonstration plant together in China.
Filcon produces filtration equipment that reduces air pollution from incineration and industrial processes. The company signed a joint venture agreement with a Chinese company for sales and production of Filcon’s technology in China.
Frichs Ecotech has developed a gasification technology for e.g. household waste and other types of biomass which was presented to Shanghai Technology Commission on a trip to China organised by INBIOM in 2014. Based on this meeting STC declared that they would be ready to provide 50% of the funding to a demonstration project in Shanghai if the company can find a Chinese partner to work with on it.