ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
The launch of a Chamber of Eco Commerce (CEC) hub in Helsinki offers a new platform to support regional eco innovation, providing access to global markets, advice and investment.
The Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of European eco-innovators, published in March 2011, highlighted access to good business partners as a key driver for eco-innovation, with nearly half of respondents considering it very important. At the same time, limited access to external information and knowledge, and insufficient access to subsidies and fiscal incentives were seen as major barriers.
The Eco Commerce Hub is more focused on getting eco-innovations to market. Its goal is to leverage and mobilise resources for product demonstration and market entry using web-based communication. The Helsinki hub is intended to bring regional eco-innovation to the global market. The hub operates through an interactive portal uniting innovators and investors.
"While the latest advances in Internet technology have provided improvements for individuals to seek information easily, the benefits to companies and organisations has not been fully realised," explains Minna LeVine, CEO of the US-headquartered CEC.
CEC developed the idea of the eco-commerce hub with Microsoft. "The concept is simple. Early-middle stage companies worldwide share the same challenges when expanding globally, including resource constraints, knowledge of how to conduct business locally and how best to promote and create awareness of their product. The goal of the eco-commerce hub is provide tools to address these challenges in a cost-effective, efficient and flexible manner."
Helsinki is part of a network of regional hubs which engage at a local level while providing global reach through the CEC global hub. This ensures that all local information on companies, products, technologies, investors, training and recruitment is easily accessible at local and global levels. At the same time, regional hubs are connected to the CEC's global advisory programme and its financial alliance, and benefit from the eco-commerce community infrastructure worldwide.
The Helsinki hub also provides easy and fast access to so-called `soft-landing' services, which include referrals, fund-raising assistance, shared office and manufacturing space, meeting rooms, administrative help, business equipment, financial and technical expertise, IT support, marketing and PR assistance, and other services which help to defer the need for heavy investment.
With the launch of the Helsinki hub, the CEC also ensured that the design and network infrastructure of the hub are expandable across the entire EU. This approach is the quickest and the most cost effective way of bringing eco-innovation to the market, believes LeVine. "We are already moving towards a green economy. Our goal is to make this happen faster and the eco-commerce hubs are a key part of this strategy."
Eurobarometer eco-innovators survey:
Chamber of Eco-Commerce:
Enterprise Europe Network:
Picture copyright: Keo