Research project

Boosting the Internationalization of Cleantech SMEs (BICS)

Project Details

Start date: 01/09/2015

End date: 28/02/2018





Background: the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) often occurs through internationalization, which makes it critical to develop innovations and business models that are suitable for global markets. At the same time, however, SMEs often suffer from barriers to internationalization, such as limited resources, insufficient understanding of international markets, and a lack of experience in the development of products and services suitable for global  markets. These challenges are especially pronounced in the cleantech sector because companies in this sector have a huge market potential internationally but the commercialization of cleantech innovations occurs slowly in Finland and SMEs operating in the sector need more information and tools to boost internationalization.

Goal: The goal of the BICS project is to accelerate the internationalization and growth of SMEs operating in the cleantech sector by developing new innovations, business models and strategies that will enhance their achievement of growth targets. Best practices will be identified in the study in cooperation with companies in the sector and by finding the general best practices, solutions and tools in the cleantech sector.

Tasks: The research is divided into three work entities: 1) development of sustainable value propositions, 2) development and renewal of sustainable business models, and 3) development of skills, networks and strategies that boost the internationalization of cleantech companies.

Subjects to be examined: The research subjects are Finnish SMEs in the cleantech sector. In addition the six official partner companies, the project shall take into account a national level perspective more broadly by listening to the views and experiences of member companies of Finpro/Cleantech Finland.

Implementers: The research project shall be implemented and coordinated by the Lappeenranta University of Technology School of Business and Management. The core group of the research group includes:

  •  Professor Sami Saarenketo (responsible director of the project),
  • Associate Professor Lasse Torkkeli (project manager),
  • Associate Professors Hanna Salojärvi and Joona Keränen, and
  • Junior Researchers Tommi Rissanen, Maria Uzhegova and Agnes Asemokha.
  • In addition, the management team of the project includes Professor of Practice Anssi Vanjoki and Ilkka Homanen (Finpro) as experts of business and industry, and
  • international researchers who participate in the study by means of research visits, writing of publications and project seminars.

Expected results: As a result of the project, there will be a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to the growth and internationalization of cleantech companies. There will be additional information and tools produced in the project, especially for the purpose of developing business models in the sector and for identifying strategies that contribute to internationalization. There will also be a workbook made during the project that will benefit both individual companies, the cleantech sector in general and public entities.


Cleantech, Internationalization of SMEs, Business Model Innovation, Value Creation

Last updated on 2019-13-02 at 14:05