Nordic Innovation Accelerator (NIA) is a tool to help companies streamline the introduction of their innovative products, services and processes on the market. It has offered dozens of Nordic cleantech companies opportunities to showcase their expertise in environmental technology to global industry leaders.
Veolia, an international cleantech company promoting a global circular economy, as well as water, waste and energy management with a turnover of over EUR 24,4 billion, is partner of the NIA and launched last year 2 worldwide calls for innovation. The NIA helped to relay these calls for innovation specifically in the Nordic region.
Recently, Veolia expressed its interest in the Finnish company Senfit who provides measuring and control solutions that are based on high performance microwave technology.
As a result of the call for solutions for moisture measurement of organic materials Senfit was selected from 16 proposals to start collaboration with Veolia. A pilot project is now planned to implement the Senfit technology on an operational plant, in North of France. For Senfit this is an excellent opportunity to get reference and gain access to large corporate client.
“We proposed our solution to the innovation call since Veolia is a significant global market leader and we wanted to see where this could lead. For us, NIA process opened valuable communication channel with potential corporate client and of the pilot project our expectations are high. We believe to come into commercial agreement later this year after successful pilot.” Markku Korhonen, the CEO of Senfit describes the benefits.
Lahti Region Development LADEC launched the NIA platform tailored to the Nordic market just over a year ago in cooperation with Veolia. Veolia specializes in effective water, energy and material use and it uses the platform to distribute predefined challenges, for which cleantech companies of various sizes and at various stages can submit their solutions. During the first year of operation of the tool Veolia was looking for solutions in two calls for innovation.
“We experimented with success this partnership with LADEC, through the NIA, in 2014, and we are keen to go on for 2015. The NIA is a great opportunity to detect some innovative solutions in this fruitful Nordic area, and the results of the 2 last calls for innovation perfectly illustrate the efficiency of the tool”, tells the open innovation manager Laurence Duyck from Veolia Research & Innovation.
Nordic cleantech companies at the forefront
The eagerness and technological expertise of Nordic cleantech companies were highlighted in Veolia's latest two calls for innovations, with which Veolia was looking for solutions for measuring the moisture content of organic materials and streamlining industrial waste logistics management.
Altogether 30 per cent of the applicants who submitted their proposal for the global waste management challenge were from the Nordic countries thanks to the NIA platform. A total of nine of these proposals came from the Finnish companies.
From Nordic countries altogether 8 companies, of which 6 were Finnish, presented solutions for performing moisture measurements faster and more accurately.
Agility and innovations for traditional industries
Through the platform, growing and innovative cleantech companies have the chance to receive valuable guidance from the international experts at Veolia, who employ some 180,000 workers. The company operates several pilot facilities where new products and equipment are tested in actual conditions.
The Nordic Innovation Accelerator platform is not only for Veolia’s use but it is open for any large companies as a flexible channel for seeking ideas, know-how and networking opportunities for upgrading and renewal of their processes.
Finnish companies and public entities who have utilized the innovation tool include the City of Lahti, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Renor and Lahti Aqua, who used the platform last year to organize jointly a competition to find new storm water management solutions.
Also large Finnish companies Fortum, Kuusakoski and the S-Group, used the platform to look for new ideas to develop their business operations. The organizations took promising start-ups under their wings with the promise of mentoring them for six months as part of the Corporate Venture program coordinated by LADEC (www.corporateprogram.fi).
”We see NIA as a tool which makes the sourcing and evaluation process efficient but the key for the success lies in the corporate development team. They need to be open and committed to work with the start-ups. Sometimes the common language and balance is difficult to find, but in the end the work is worth its while for both parties! The best thing is that the start-ups evidently have entrepreneurial enthusiasm and it is contagious”, tells the program coordinator Nina Harjula from LADEC.
More information about the Nordic Innovation Accelerator & Corporate Venture Program:
Lahti Region Development LADEC Ltd
+358 (0)50 518 0915
Lahti Region Development LADEC Ltd – Boosting sustainable growth
LADEC develops the conditions for business growth in the Lahti Region, as well as its competitiveness and attractiveness. We offer companies diverse entrepreneurial, relocation, growth and development services. Our top areas of expertise are cleantech and industrial design. Our company has an extensive network of partners abroad, especially in the cleantech and growth funding sectors.
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