Over 70 small and medium-sized Nordic companies received funding from the Nordic Project Fund (Nopef) in 2018. Nopef is contributing to the internationalisation of Nordic solutions and innovations with upscaling possibilities on global markets.
Nopef granted funding totalling EUR 2.3 million to 71 feasibility studies in 2018. These feasibility studies will assess planned Nordic foreign investments totalling of EUR 198 million. The companies that have received grant funding are working with green innovations, climate solutions as well as energy and resource efficiency.
The approved projects will be carried out across all continents and in 30 countries. A majority of the projects will be implemented on key Nordic export markets such as the USA, China and India. Several projects in South Asia were approved, including energy-related projects in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Supported by high demand for Nordic environmental technologies, Nordic companies are also exploring business opportunities in Africa and South America.
The yearly customer survey shows that the international establishments supported by Nopef have created an average of 12 new jobs, of which 2 were in the Nordic countries. With the current project volume, Nopef’s activities are expected to facilitate approx. 400 new jobs annually, of which 60 are expected to be created in the Nordic countries.
A total of 37 international establishments were completed in 2018. These projects are spread across 22 countries, with the Nordic business set-ups located in the USA, China, Russia and South Korea, as well as in several countries in Africa and South America.
“We can see that support from Nopef has had a major impact on the internationalisation of many Nordic SMEs and we estimate that Nopef has participated in more than one in ten Nordic business establishments carried out outside the EU/EEA region,” says Mikael Reims, Senior Manager at NEFCO and responsible for Nopef.
The majority, 61 per cent, of the approved projects are climate related, contributing to decreased greenhouse gas emissions and including companies working with energy efficiency (23 approved projects and 9 completed projects), renewable energy (19 approved projects and 6 completed projects), and climate adaptation (1 approved project and 1 completed project). Other environmental areas are resource efficiency (8 approved projects and 9 completed projects), pollution abatement (6 approved projects and 2 completed projects), which includes both projects working to reduce industrial pollution, improve water purification, oil spill response and the cleaning of indoor air, waste management (3 approved projects and 2 completed projects), for example, waste processing, recycling and production of raw materials, fertilisers or animal feeds from organic waste, and agriculture, forestry and fishery (11 approved projects and 8 completed projects).
The projects funded by Nopef are contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goals, primarily SDGs 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 11 Sustainable cities and communities, and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.
Nopef is financing feasibility studies for Nordic small and medium-sized companies to help them internationalise their operations on new markets with a focus on green growth and Nordic solutions within the environmental field. Nopef strengthens the competitiveness of these companies by providing funding for feasibility studies outside of the Nordic countries and EU/EEA. Nopef was established by the Nordic countries in 1982 and is today administered by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. To date, Nopef has provided EUR 104 million in funding distributed to more than 3,000 projects.
Completed projects in 2018
The Norwegian company Kube Energy AS, which provides off-grid solar energy solutions in crisis and rural areas with undeveloped infrastructure and limited access to electricity, is one of the renewable energy projects completed during the year. The company has established operations in South Sudan in Africa and is offering its solutions to the United Nations and other international organisations operating in the region.
The Danish company Cold A/S is working with solutions for climate adaptation and has developed re-usable flood barriers that are easier to use and cheaper than traditional solutions as they can be more easily dismantled and re-used. As a result of the Nopef funded feasibility study, the company has established sales and service operations in Vietnam, a country that is frequently exposed to floods.
The Finnish company Sofi Filtration Oy has developed a technology that filters industrial wastewater. The solution enables re-use of processed water, decreased use of fresh water and decreases the amount of wastewater. The company has established a subsidiary in the USA and invested in a demonstration facility.
Thor Ice Chilling Solutions ehf. is an Icelandic company providing chilling solutions for food processing lines, contributing to energy savings and longer shelf life. The company’s method of spraying slurry ice saves up to 50 per cent of energy compared to conventional chilling methods and uses ammonia instead of traditional freon solutions. The company has established a subsidiary in Russia for sales and service.
The Swedish company Logiwaste AB has developed an automated waste and laundry collection technology. The company has established a subsidiary in Beijing, China for waste collection in residential and central city districts, and commercial properties. A pilot project with a sorting station was put into operation during 2018.