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Green business – SMEs’ great opportunity

December 2010

Libor Novák

Czech Libor Novák, the Foreign Business Manager at Step Trutnov, a manufacturer of high-tech heating equipment and products for the power industry, encourages other European SMEs to go green. This was his main message at the SME Summit "How green makes money" held in Brussels on 18 November to discuss ecological and sustainable business opportunities.

How did Step Trutnov come up with its green business ideas? Libor Novák explains that they had the idea of making use of leftover straw from local farms and creating equipment that could use it as energy. Today the company is successfully manufacturing industry biomass boilers, pressure vessels, heaters etc., and little by little moving into foreign markets. Even though he admits that at the beginning it wasn’t easy to get financing for green ideas, the company eventually managed and also received several forms of EU support, including for innovation and marketing.

The Summit focused on the wide range of "green" market opportunities which European small businesses can take advantage of, from energy distribution to information technologies. Novák’s message for other small businesses is clear: “Don’t be afraid, just make it happen! We did it, and it worked.”

As more than two thirds of Europeans work in SMEs, it is crucial that these companies move to the forefront of the green economy. The message of the Summit was clear: SMEs are the power Europe needs for the future and they should grab the business opportunity of the green revolution. Green regulation should not be seen as a burden, but rather an opportunity for small businesses in Europe.

More than 600 participants – SMEs, business organisations, policymakers, high-profile economists, etc. – attended the SME Summit, co-organised by the European Commission and the Belgian EU Presidency.

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