We make a difference for sustainable business

Around 22 million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 99% of all companies in Europe and provide 100 million jobs. Start-ups and entrepreneurs generate new ideas and develop novel products and services. As such, they are a vital part of the European economy. 

Our projects enable SMEs to innovate, thrive on emerging sustainable markets, and tap into advanced digital technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.  

Project highlights

Browse through the slideshow to discover key project achievements so far:


Explore projects on business development


CANAPE: Creating nature-based products

CANAPE develops methods and markets for eco-friendly peatland farming called paludiculture. This involves sustainable harvest of wild plants in restored peatlands.



Create Converge: Boosting the creative tech industry

Creative technology, such as virtual and augmented reality, is one of the top global business trends. How can createch SMEs and their buyers benefit from this? 

Visit Create Converge


COM³ : Helping rural businesses embrace the digital revolution

The digital transformation of business needs to expand from city hubs to the countryside. COM³ develops training and support to help rural SMEs take the next step. 

Visit COM³


CUPIDO: Putting culture at the heart of  local business

CUPIDO takes an entrepreneurial look at cultural heritage. The project has found ways to build sustainable business around local culture and foster thriving communities.  





EXSKALLERATE: Empowering workers with exoskeletons

EXSKALLERATE helps SMEs in the manufacturing and construction industries to use exoskeletons to improve health, safety, and productivity at the workplace.



FBD: Enabling rural SMEs to engage in data-driven innovation

Futures by Design helps SMEs in rural parts of the North Sea Region to use data analysis to innovate, grow, and increase their productivity.

Visit Futures by Design


GrowIn 4.0: Manufacturing the future

Manufacturing industries can benefit from tapping into smart tools such as automation and big data analysis. GrowIn 4.0 made the know-how accessible for SMEs.

Visit GrowIn 4.0


INDU-ZERO: Innovating for energy retrofit

INDU-ZERO is creating a unique factory blueprint for mass renovating 22 million houses. This drives energy efficiency innovation and boosts the energy renovation industry and its supply chains in the North Sea Region.



Inn2POWER: Supporting SMEs to innovate for the offshore wind industry

Inn2POWER supports SMEs to innovate and meet the growing needs of the offshore wind industry.   

Visit Inn2POWER


Inno-Quarter: Starting up at festivals

Inno-Quarter supports startups to test their innovative products and services at festivals - a micro version of society. 

Visit InnoQuarter


Lean Landing: Helping micro-SMEs break into foreign markets

Lean Landing promoted an untraditional approach to help micro-SMEs and startups enter markets abroad. The project received the European Enterprise Awards.

Visit Lean Landing

Read the success story

Northern Connections speaker explaining about energy needs for the city.    

Northern Connections: Cooperating for energy innovation

In Northern Connections, energy clusters worked together, using tool such as reverse pitching to help innovative SMEs find buyers across the region.

Visit Northern Connections

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PERISCOPE: Entering emerging blue markets

Drones, wave and tidal energy: PERISCOPE helped North Sea stakeholders get a handle on the opportunities of emerging sustainable blue markets. 



Prowad Link: Boosting nature-based business

The project works with local businesses to profit from nature-friendly enterprise based on world-class natural heritage. 

Visit Prowad Link


REFRAME: Rebranding local food 

REFRAME helped SMEs in food supply chains to sell their products locally. Joint branding and local food product boxes, cooperation with supermarkets, and food taste markets were part of its recipe for success.


Read the success story



RIGHT: Building the right skills for the right future

The growing blue and green sectors need a qualified workforce. Future-oriented curricula and upskilling strategies are vital to regional development. 



Scale-UP: Accelerating cleantech enterprises

Through targeted B2B matchmaking events, Scale-UP brought innovative, cleantech SMEs together with potential buyers. 

Visit Scale-UP


SHINE: Designing novel business models for robust healthchare 

The SHINE project demonstrated the viability of new healthcare business models. They enabled companies to be part of a smart, patient-focused healthcare system.


Read the success story