Indexed on: 18 Oct '16Published on: 14 Sep '16Published in: Journal of Cleaner Production
Publication date: 10 January 2017 Source:Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 141 Author(s): Eeva Jernström, Vesa Karvonen, Tuomo Kässi, Andrzej Kraslawski, Jukka Hallikas There is increasing interest in the development of a bio-based economy in Europe with decreased profitability and sustainability of materials as driving forces. The research is a study of SMEs in South-East Finland. The objective of this paper is to analyze the main factors challenging new SME companies to find or develop new business opportunities in the bio-based economy. As Finland has a well-established forest industry in the midst of structural change, the results of this study are likely to be implemented in other countries and innovation environments as well. The study consisted of a Webpropol-based enquiry sent to South-East Finland SMEs active in the bio-economy and of the analysis of their answers obtained from 66 companies. The important role of SMEs as creating new sustainable businesses and jobs has been identified. The results show that key factors influencing the successfulness of SME companies are: Customer value-added, collaboration in R&D and supply chain. Knowledge of markets, products and processes are very important for SMEs entering into the new bio-based market, either as actors within the value chain, or as suppliers of raw materials or intermediary products to larger companies.