Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) form the backbone of a thriving and innovative economy in Germany and Europe. Their innovation capacity as well as their national and international networks make SMEs key actors for increasing resource efficiency of the socio-economic system and for future-proofing it. Hence, SMEs contribute essentially to a sustainable and long-term green(er) economy.
At the same time, transitioning to a green(er) economy poses great challenges for SMEs: market pressure, regulatory environments, clients' expectations may require changes in business models for which personnel or funding is lacking. Potential opportunities of a green(er) economy may be difficult to identify or may only be realised under certain political and legal framework
In this context, the GreenEcoNet workshop "SMEs in a green(er) economy – barriers, needs and policy options" brought together intermediaries, multipliers and policy actors from Germany and other European countries in order to
- exchange experience and define needs in relation to successfully thrive in a green(er) economy
- discuss policy options to foster SMEs‘ performance in a green(er) economy
- introduce a web platform aiming at fostering networking and exchange of experience on a European level.
The one-day workshop brought together nineteen participants from five different countries and led to a very fruitful exchange of ideas. The workshop started with a general presentation of the GreenEcoNet project. The rest of the day consisted of a mix of presentations from eight different speakers (representatives from governmental agencies, industry associations, consultancies, etc.) and collaborative discussions. In particular, a "working group" session allowed participants to be split into two groups and have a more hands-on discussion with papers and a paper tablecloth. The workshop ended with a more detailed presentation of the current status of the GreenEcoNet platform for green SMEs, during which participants were invited to provide feedback.
The agenda, participant list, speaker biographies and findings from the working groups can be found in the write-up of the workshop, available for download below.