Funding green innovators

Norway Grants help countries like Poland to develop new environmental technologies

Photo: EEAgrants.org  Close to 250 people turned out in the old town square in Warsaw in May 2011 to “Walk the Grants.” The Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw invited representatives from all funded projects to participate in the Nordic walking event, celebrating the achievements of the more than 400 projects and funds implemented in Poland to date.

Photo: EEAgrants.org
Close to 250 people turned out in the old town square in Warsaw in May 2011 to “Walk the Grants.” The Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw invited representatives from all funded projects to participate in the Nordic walking event, celebrating the achievements of the more than 400 projects and funds implemented in Poland to date.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

If you are a Polish company with a business idea that is good for the environment, you might be eligible for funding from the Norway Grants. Climate change and the growing pressure on our limited natural resources mean that businesses need to innovate to succeed and survive. To achieve sustainable economic growth, investment in new green industries and green innovation is crucial. My experience from Business Europe’s task force on SME financing was that entrepreneurs and small businesses are often hampered by a lack of access to finance. Poland is still lagging behind when it comes to eco-innovation in companies, and especially in small and medium enterprises. To help with this situation, Norway has allocated more than EUR 17 million to projects on green industry innovation in Poland.

Did you know that the total contribution from Norway to green industry innovation in Eastern European countries over the last years has been more than EUR 110 million? The idea was to get businesses in Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania involved and interested in increasing the competitiveness of green enterprises, including greening of existing industries, green innovation, and green entrepreneurship. The aim is to realize business opportunities for greening the European economy, reduce production of waste, reduce emissions to air, water, and ground, and increase use of environmentally friendly technologies. Lastly, the idea is to increase job creation and entrepreneurship.

The program is suitable for partnership projects. The aim is to strengthen the economic bilateral relations between Norway and the beneficiary countries and take advantage of Norwegian experiences and technologies. Projects with Norwegian partners are given priority. Normally the grant would be up to 50 percent for SMEs and less for larger companies. The partnership project should be developed in cooperation between the Norwegian company and the local partner. Long-term cooperation, beyond the lifetime of the project, should be the perspective.

Innovation Norway was selected by the Norwegian government to operate the Norway Grants. Innovation Norway is a public company owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry and the 19 Norwegian County Municipalities; it’s the Norwegian government’s main instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry, both domestic and abroad.

In the U.S., Innovation Norway is behind Nordic Innovation House, which I have written about before. This is a co-working and virtual office for Nordic tech companies, investors, and local advisors. It is a soft landing concept for entrepreneurs entering the American market. The goal is to kick-start Nordic companies!

This article originally appeared in the March 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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