Support for high-growth entrepreneurship should focus first on cleantech businesses

Cleantech businesses are growth oriented and seek growth on international markets aggressively. A study by Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) indicates that it would be worthwhile to focus support for high-growth entrepreneurship in Finland on the cleantech sector.

The study shows that cleantech companies are significantly more international than Finnish SMEs on average. They seek growth from new markets more boldly than other SMEs and have greater expectations regarding their growth and business cycle outlook.

The researchers set out to determine how the profiles of cleantech businesses differ from those of other Finnish SMEs.

"Cleantech and other sustainable entrepreneurship have recently evoked a great deal of dialogue, and the aim is to market Finland globally as a country of clean technology. Meanwhile, the ongoing public debate on business subsidies has revolved around channelling shared finances specifically to high-growth entrepreneurship. We now have it on paper that supporting cleantech SMEs will help us reach both goals," says Professor Sami Saarenketo, LUT.

The study was part of the Tekes-funded BICS project, which conducted a survey among members of Cleantech Finland and compared the results to the national SME business barometer. The comparison showed that up to four out of five cleantech businesses seek growth abroad – a share significantly exceeding that of SMEs on average. Nevertheless, cleantech businesses often have ambitious growth objectives, and the results of the study demonstrate that they have not met these objectives any better than other SMEs.

"The study indicates that Finnish cleantech SMEs clearly have the desire and ambition to grow, which a small company branching out from Finland needs to succeed internationally. However, we have repeatedly observed that cleantech businesses do not turn into global successes on their own. They need support from society, networks, and help in building consortia. If these businesses are not able to reach their targets any better than other SMEs, more work must be done to channel support appropriately," states Project Manager Lasse Torkkeli.

Additional information:

Sami Saarenketo, Professor, +358 50 308 6181, sami.saarenketo@lut.fi

Lasse Torkkeli, Associate Professor, +358 40 3591740, lasse.torkkeli@lut.fi