The main research question of the research project is: "What factors contribute to the internationalization and thereby the growth of Finnish SMEs in the cleantech sector?" The main themes by which an answer will be sought are:
- development of cleantech innovations,
- development and renewal of sustainable business models, and
- development of skills, networks and strategies that support the internationalization of cleantech companies.
These main themes form three corresponding work packages that together form the overall project.
Work package 1: Developing sustainable value propositions
The project's first work package is focused on developing sustanable value propositions based on customer needs, and demonstrating their value to customers. The development of cleantech products and services involves identification of customer needs, development of technological and service-related skills, demonstration of benefits to customers, and measuring realized customer value. Identification of customer needs in a customer environment, testing and piloting of new products and services, and demonstration of benefits are critical for the commercialization of cleantech. However, in terms of resources and funding, these are problematic particularly for SMEs.
Work package 2: Creating sustainable business models
The second work package will investigate what types of opportunities and challenges are related to integrating the environmental aspect as part of a company's business operating model and its different elements. At the same time, the connection between alternative business models to the growth and internationalization of a company will be investigated, along with the internal and external factors that contribute/hamper the renewal of business models. Special attention will be paid to skills and management practices related to renewing business models.
Work package 3: Internationalization of cleantech SMEs
The third work package of the project is focused on the demonstration of successful internationalization strategies of SMEs in the cleantech sector, and the identification and development of skills and networks that boost their internationalization.
As a result of the project, there will be a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to the growth and internationalization of cleantech companies. There will be additional information and tools produced in the project, especially for the purpose of developing business models in the sector and for identifying strategies that contribute to internationalization. There will also be a workbook made during the project that will benefit both individual companies, the cleantech sector in general and public entities.