It has not been a long time ago when the leaders of the project KA385 (Increasing the competitiveness of SME's trough energy efficiency) met with the coordinator of the project KA407 (New business model between Kainuu and Karelian wood industries). The first meeting which took place in the Business Incubator of the Republic of Karelia in Petrozavodsk in February revealed that both projects are highly interested in energy-saving and energy-efficiency.
In case of project KA407 that is being run mainly in the Kainuu area on the Finnish side, and in the municipalities of Kostamus and Kalevala on the Russian side, the main focus is on creating and piloting a new business model for Karelian and Kainuu wood industries. When it comes to the project KA385 operating mostly in Petrozavodsk, Sortavala and Kostamus, the overall objective is to promote the energy saving technologies and applicable energy-efficient solutions promoting the competitiveness of the local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In fact the energy-related issues are high in the agenda of both projects, as their target groups include the local SMEs whose competitiveness is very much dependent on the level of energy-consumption resulting in the certain costs for the products and service those SMEs offer.
For those 2 months since the first meeting a lot of joint efforts have been accomplished. Having accepted a kind invitation of the project KA407 to visit the Northern Finland, a delegation consisting of representatives of the Karelian regional institute of Management, Economics and Law at PetrSU (Lead partner for KA385) and Petrozavodsk City Administration made a study-visit to Kajaani in the end of February 2013 where they learned how the various energy-saving solutions are applied in the construction industry. A joint working meeting was held at the premises of Kainuun Etu Oy (Lead partner for KA407) where the hosts and visitors discussed the practical tools and schemes for cooperation. The coordinator of KA407 agreed with the participants of KA385 to make a joint visit to Kostamus in order to get acquainted with the energy-efficiency status of the SMEs participating in KA407.
As an outcome of the above-mentioned agreements, two weeks later another meeting was organized in Kostamus. As in KA385 the grant funds have been reserved for running a number of energy-audit checks, the criterions to select the relevant pilots for participating in the energy-audit checks have been discussed. In Kostamus a series of visits were made to see if the companies taking part in KA407 are compliant with the criterions for energy-audit developed for KA385. With the support from the project KA407 the partners from KA385 interviewed the senior managers of the SMEs operating in Kostamus in the field of wood processing and construction. As a result it may realistically turn out that some pilot SMEs taking part in KA407 would be covered by the energy-audit checks to be organized by KA385.
Furthermore, it has been agreed that the representatives of KA407 would be invited to participate in the training sessions on energy management to be run by the project KA385 in 2013 and 2014.
This example demonstrates that the coordination and interaction between the relevant projects might help to use the resources in a more efficient way, and also to strengthen the impact of actions undertaken. Apparently for all the projects running under the ENPI Karelia in order to avoid duplication and to encourage co-operation, project owners and other interested actors need to be well informed before they plan new activities in the region.
In this lucky case the stakeholders of the projects KA407 and KA385 quickly realized that they have quite much in common. As a result a quick, efficient two-way communication between the projects has been established, which would, most likely, continue to bring added value for the favour of all the parties involved.
Karelian regional institute of Management, Economics and Law at PetrSU