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Chambers promoting intelligent energy for SMEs (CHANGE)

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CHANGE will carry on helping small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) optimise their energy use by having developed a European network of Intelligent Energy advisors at Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCIs) and by kick-starting/enhancing concrete assistance to SMEs. This project, co-ordinated by EUROCHAMBES, involved 61 CCIs from 12 European countries. It started in September 2008 and finished in August 2010. Having gained basic knowledge of energy efficiency and the application of renewable energies in a business context through training and exchange of experience at EU (December 2008) and national level (mostly 1st quarter 2009), the Chamber advisors now operate as “first ports of call” for SMEs in energy matters. Facilitating their access to information, organising information events, and encouraging businesses to take energy pre-checks, they will bridge the gap between SMEs and existing services available on the market. Finally, a survey will help improve

Results

  • More than 60 Chamber employees operating as “first ports of call” for businesses – mainly SMEs – on “intelligent energy” issues.
  • Survey about factors influencing the uptake of energy efficiency measures or renewable energy sources by businesses positively or negatively – “Energy Efficiency in SMEs: Success Factors and Obstacles”
  • Information made easily available for European SMEs via CCI websites and targeted seminars/workshops.
  • 669 Businesses took energy pre-checks, carried out or facilitated by CCIs
  • Manual with guidance and best practices for supporting SMEs as a reference document for participants as well as new Chamber advisors and as a basis for future similar training- “Advising SMEs on energy – a reference manual for business organisations”
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Lessons learned

  • The Brussels training was well received (80% of participants considered it excellent or good). The sessions presenting a company case study as well as concrete examples from Chambers were the ones most appreciated. It seems that the more experience the individual advisors have, the more relevant the possibility of exchanging with peers and comparing approaches becomes. Some of the less experienced participants would have preferred more practical training even beyond the national training days
  • There is anecdotal evidence that the economic crisis exacerbates some of the barriers to energy efficiency for SMEs, notably lack of funding for investments and more difficult access to loans, even less time to dedicate to issues that are not immediately connected to survival. (Such as attending information events, etc.) This will have to be borne in mind during the reminder of the implementation phase.
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

EUROCHAMBRES - Association des Chambres de Commerce et d' Industrie européennes aisbl
Belgium
Contact point: 
Name: 
Ben Butters
Tel: 
+32 (0)2 282 0850
Name: 
tba

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In brief

Duration:
01/09/2008 to 31/08/2010
Contract number: 
IEE/07/420/SI2.499423

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