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Increasing the competitiveness of SMEs through energy efficiency

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are important locomotives of local and national economy. Both in Finland and Russia, SMEs provide a significant amount of jobs and make a considerable contribution to local domestic product. Although these smaller firms consume relatively small amounts of energy – with a correspondingly minor impact on the environment – collectively, their effect is sizeable. With rising energy prices and uncertainty over the security of future supplies, boosting energy efficiency makes business as well as environmental sense.

Energy saving and energy-efficiency are one of the major efforts of the government of the Republic of Karelia in Russia. In accordance with the Strategy of socio-economic development of the Republic towards 2020, the development of energy complex is planned in close connection with the measures developing the energy-efficiency standards and related issues. SMEs can boost their energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy technologies, which are often local and small-scale by nature. However, SMEs often lack the resources, information and expertise to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by sustainable energy.

The objective of the project is introduction and promotion of energy efficient solutions, to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in cross-border areas. The specific objectives of the project are:
- Capacity building in energy saving technologies
- Applying energy efficient solutions to promote the competitiveness of SMEs
- Promote high performance and innovation in energy efficiency
- Transfer and dissemination ofthe best practices in energy-efficiency, energy measurement and control
- Training SMEs, professionals and students.

Work packages

WP 1: Comparative analysis on competitiveness of SME working in the cross-border areas in Finland and Russia
Assessment of competitiveness and economic impact of SMEs in the Republic of Karelia and the Northern Ostrobothnia. Analysis of the present day situation with the SMEs’ energy consumption. Analysis of the legislation and standards regulating the energy-efficiency in Finland and Russia. Development scenario for SME using the energy-saving technologies in the territories targeted by the present project

WP 2: Energy efficiency checks
A number of SMEs from the pilot territories would be selected to participate in this work package and an authorized subcontractor will be selected for audit checks. Finally, energy audit checks will be performed in the selected SMEs

WP 3: Demonstration station
A small-scale demonstration station equipped with the relevant energy-saving devices and also energy meters could be a fantastic tool to educate the entrepreneurs on the value of energy conservation and provide SMEs with all the knowledge they need to positively modify the energy consumption – resulting in big savings on the power bills, increase of competitiveness, and a positive contribution to the environment

WP4: Training and consultancy for SMEs
A set of training materials, incl. a distance learning course, will be developed by the Finnish and Russian experts. The contents cover issues concerning energy saving potentials in the production, storage and logistics as well as potentials for technical equipment.

WP5: Open competition for SMEs to realize energy-efficient solutions
A competition to call for ideas in energy-efficient entrepreneurship will be launched offering investment in a small scale project in the target area using local resources.

WP 6: Information campaigns and best practices for SMEs
The campaigns will inform about the training opportunities, audit checks, but will also inform generally about the possibilities and potentials of becoming energy efficient.

Project publications

Lauri Mikkonen, Arttu Juntunen and Eva Pongrácz (2014) Best Practices of Energy Efficiency in SMEs. www report. 37 pages.

Lauri Mikkonen, Arttu Juntunen Eva Pongrácz and Sergey Koshelev (2014) Передовой оплыт у лучсие практики б сфере енергоеффектибности для малого и спеднефо бизнеса (Best Practices of Energy Efficiency in SMEs - in Russian). Printed report. Petrozavodsk VERSO. 149 p.

Jean-Nicolas Louis, Arttu Juntunen, and Elena Fedorova (2013) Comparative analysis on competitiveness. WP1 report. On-line publication.  31 pages.


Project partnership

Lead Partner:
The Karelian Regional Institute of Management, Economics and Law of Petrozavodsk State University (KRIMEL)

- Business Incubator of the Republic of Karelia, Russia
- Energy Efficiency Centre (KAEEC) - Non-profit NGO, Russia
- University of Oulu, NorTech Oulu, Finland
- CENTRIA University of Applied Sciences, Kokkola, Finland

- Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Karelia, Russia
- The State Committee of the Republic of Karelia on Energy and Housing, Russia
- Oulu Chamber of Commerce, Finland
- KarelExpo - Exhibition Association Ltd, Russia

Project duration



Karelia ENPI CBC

Contact persons:

University of Oulu: Eva Pongrácz 
KRIMEL: DEnis A. Pyzhikov (pyzhikov(at)


  This project is co-funded by the European Union, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland