The Vaasa region is home to the largest energy cluster in the Nordic countries, EnergyVaasa. The 140 companies in the cluster all work in the global market and face some heavy international competition. To stay competitive, the companies are constantly working on developing and improving their operations and products. Technology Centre Merinova is a regional development company with the task of supporting the energy cluster companies in these efforts.
Merinova is the place to turn to when, for example, a company is planning a development project, internationalisation or the improvement of its processes. The Merinova experts know where to start and where to find the best partners. The Technology Centre also charts public funding opportunities for project implementation.
“We are your best bet when you want to complete a development process. We typically function at the hub of projects as the project manager with the relevant expertise and networks in place,” says Managing Director Mika Konu.
Merinova has strong engineering know-how in different fields of energy technology, which is a prerequisite for arranging projects in the field and creating a network of contacts. Merinova also helps companies to work together and complete joint projects. It creates top-notch R&D platforms and seeks the best partners for them. These include, for example, the Sundom Smart Grid project and the Energy Business Innovation Center; Merinova acquiring extensive Tekes funding to finance the research infrastructure of the latter.
“For the most part, our operations focus on the various subcontractors for the local energy cluster. We assist about 120–140 companies every year with their business and development activities,” Konu says.
Merinova’s customers also benefit from its knowledge of international business and R&D, and its networks within these. Merinova provides assistance for internationalisation and charts various opportunities to participate in international projects. It has been involved, for example, in developing the Energy Days concept for emerging markets, which involves taking Vaasa-based technology producers to North Africa to meet with local investors and owners of power plants and transmission networks. According to Konu, the last event in Tunisia very quickly brought Vaasa-based companies millions of euros in trade.
Also, international R&D collaboration has grown stronger thanks to the new EU Affairs Manager, who is an expert hired jointly by local operators.
“The EU Affairs Manager brings new open innovation and technology transfer opportunities to our region. In future, we will be able to give our R&D projects a quick boost through our contacts with researchers in the EU area.”
Merinova is jointly owned by stakeholders from trade and industry, municipalities and universities.
Business sector: Development services
Turnover 2015: €2.5 million