About the Project
FREED is a three year project that was funded under Interreg's Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020, which brought partners from Finland, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland together to deal with a common problem. The focus of the project was to provide SMEs in the programme area with the support network required to introduce and develop energy innovations. The path from innovative ideas into market ready products is long one and even in the best circumstances takes usually several years. All the programme regions have various business support organisations, which help SMEs to get to the markets, but they do not specifically target SMEs with energy innovations. This is where FREED aimed to make a difference and improve the current services offered by the business support organisations.
A five step FREED approach was taken, which included the following phases:
1) Compiling a needs analysis of the types of energy innovations required in partner region
2) Initiating a tendering process to generate the necessary technology innovations
3) Partnering R&D institutions with SMEs from the region
4) Developing business plans to assist the SMEs
5) Providing a financing service that utilises private investment funds to aid the development of the innovations
As a result of this approach a FREED service platform was created, which is presented in the following section in detail.