In November, the European Union-funded RISE began piloting new financing opportunities for Lapland businesses. During the two-year RISE period, a new financing model will be tested, combining public and private financiers to fund investments. Participation in the pilot is free for companies. The pilot is organized by Kemin Digipolis Ltd.
In Finland, the model is being piloted in Lapland businesses. Pirkka Junes, the project specialist for the initiative, sees RISE as unique. "Currently, a challenge in business financing operations is, for example, funding the equity share required in almost all public business financing and investment subsidies. The challenge related to equity financing can jeopardize an entire investment project, especially in times of high interest rates. To address this issue, the RISE project creates a unique and clear model in Lapland, combining public and private financing opportunities for the benefit of Lapland businesses," Junes explains about the new RISE project.
In the EU's RISE project, Lapland is participating from Finland. Participation in the pilot is free for businesses.
"Free participation is, to my understanding, quite rare in the world of finance. According to feedback from Lapland entrepreneurs, there seems to be a need for such a straightforward model," says Junes.
During the project, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Lapland expressing a desire to implement sustainable development investments, such as those related to industrial circular economy, will be identified.
"With the most potential companies, we will pilot the combination of financing models using the concrete investment plans of the companies. Although the focus is on the green transition and industrial circular economy, other SMEs are also welcome to participate in the project," says Junes.
The goal is to facilitate discussions between public and private financiers and entrepreneurs. "During the pilot phase, no money is exchanged, but we offer businesses extremely valuable expertise for free, which will be beneficial as financing progresses and becomes a reality for companies," Junes notes.
The financing model pilot will be implemented in two regions, Finnish Lapland and Bulgarian Severozapaden. Kemin Digipolis Ltd is responsible for the work package, which includes creating a combination model pilot for Lapland and Severozapaden.
The overall responsible implementer and coordinator of the entire RISE project is Cleantech Bulgaria.