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Private Profits – Public Benefits

The SPIN project aims at enhancing “Sustainable Production through Innovation in SMEs (that’s the title of the project). It is a business project rather than a research project. Our understanding of innovation is based on the definition of the former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho who stated: “Quite often, when people talk about innovation they mean research and development. But innovation is broader than that: research is transforming money into knowledge, while innovation is transforming knowledge into money and well-being. Innovation is about producing, not only economic prosperity, but also wellbeing in society”.
SPIN runs for 3 years (until January 2012) and is supported by the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Programme 2007-2013 of the European Union. SPIN brings together some of the most important institutions for eco-innovations in the Baltic Sea Region and is supported by numerous national governments, sector associations, research bodies and transnational NGOs.

While the improvement of the political, macro-economic framework conditions is one pillar of the SPIN project the effective matchmaking between supply and demand involving SMEs from the whole Baltic Sea Region is the other and probably even more important pillar of SPIN.

This edition of the SPIN Newsletter focuses on matchmaking-instruments developed until now by the SPIN partners: The SPIN Database on Innovation Highlights, the SPIN Toolbox and the SPIN Industry Workshops – transnational matchmaking events for stakeholders from a clear-cut thematic field of sustainable production.

Innovation Highlight Database

SPIN is based on the simple but normally successful business equation of matching supply and demand. SPIN taps on innovations throughout the BSR, which lead to sustainable production in SMEs. It supports SMEs who have developed sustainable solutions to reach out to a larger market. At the same time it gives enterprises the technical and managerial solutions they need to make their production process more sustainable and to comply with the legislative requirements from the EU.

The SPIN Database brings all these innovations from the whole BSR together and as such it is a ready-to-use instrument for SMEs wanting to push their innovative products and for enterprises seeking an innovative solution for their specific situation.

All SMEs from the BSR can register and post their entries directly online. The SPIN partners perform a quality check and if the data set is meeting the criteria of sustainable production the entry is made accessible to all users. Users only searching the database for innovations can use it without registering.

It’s all about creating a market for innovations – provided that they enhance sustainable production:

Go to the SPIN Database

Matchmaking events - Industry Workshops

With the matchmaking events (Industry Workshops) the SPIN partnership aims to tab on the resources available in the whole BSR: Numerous environmental technologies and management systems have been developed throughout the BSR. But this capacity is not sufficiently applied throughout the area as the transnational link is often missing.

The SPIN Industry Workshops will bring together experts, enterprises and researchers from different countries of the BSR. The host of the workshop is setting up the agenda of the workshop based on a background analysis on the needs of the SMEs in the specific industry sector of his country. In such a way matchmaking mechanisms are tested transnationally deemed to solve problems in the field of sustainable production transnationally will be achieved: The national demand side gets in touch with the transnational supply side.

A good example is the workshop organised by the Umweltbundesamt under the SPIN project on “Commercial Refrigeration with Natural Refrigerants”. In this workshop, craft companies, which face the challenge of innovative refrigeration and want to broaden their expertise, will have the opportunity to get access to innovative know-how on environmentally friendly techniques and financing possibilities for end users (See attached leaflet for further information).

You can find details on all the matchmaking events organised by SPIN as well as on other events that are relevant for SMEs interested in sustainable production through innovation on the SPIN website. Here is the link.

SPIN Toolbox

The underlying idea of the SPIN Toolbox is again to identify, disseminate and promote tools that boost private profits while they reduce the environmental or social burden of the production process. Opposed to the innovation highlights, which are usually quite specific technical solutions for a clear-cut target group, the SPIN tools can be applied rather broadly in all kinds of SMEs.
„Umberto“ is such a tool that is promoted by SPIN. It is a powerful software tool to model, calculate and visualize material and energy flow systems in SMEs with cost intensive production that wish to optimize their processes and improve their competitiveness. It is used to analyze production process systems, either in a manufacturing site, throughout a company, or, along a product life cycle. Results can be assessed using economic and environmental performance indicators.

SMEs with cost intensive production can realize substantial savings for material and energy. At the same time the environmental burden is reduced via saving resources and reducing emissions.

The final SPIN Toolbox is not available yet. Instead, you can find here a list of successful tools per country that was compiled from the SPIN project partners.