Eco-innovation pilot boosts business resilience
Ten companies including three social enterprises have become the first in the South to pilot an EU-funded ‘eco-innovation’ programme.
ResilieNtWEB applies sustainable principles that are ‘inspired from nature’ to help small and medium sized businesses to grow.
The programme is focused mainly on the construction, food and tourism sectors. It is co-ordinated regionally by the Fareham-based business support organisation WSX Enterprise.
Julia Pearson, Project Manager at delivery partner The Design Programme, said: “A key principle is that just as the natural world harnesses highly efficient ecosystems, so the business world also thrives through optimal use of resources and eliminating waste.
“The aim of ResilieNtWEB is to help our clients’ business models and strategies become more resilient to change whether economic, environmental or social.
“Like the resilience of nature in adapting to its ever changing ‘working’ environment, we use a similar approach.
“We help decision makers think outside the box, take a fresh look at their business operations, and adapt to the continually changing world they operate in.”
Under the pilot, participants have received ten days of free-of-charge expert input from a ‘critical friend’. A ‘Quickscan’ diagnostic stage is followed by an action plan before a new way of working is designed, introduced and measured.
Among those involved in the pilot phase has been the Crop Advisors Independent Alliance. Based in Alton, Hampshire, the Alliance helps farmers with group purchasing of supplies such as seeds and fertilisers. ResilieNtWEB has helped the Alliance to develop a new specification and tender process for a digital platform that enables them to launch innovative services.
Other Hampshire organisations assisted through the pilot include Hilliers Nurseries, The Sustainability Centre at East Meon, and the Southampton companies Ace Lamps, REAP Systems and BHL Projects. The Chichester Community Development Trust and the Pantry Partnership are among other social enterprises to benefit.
Julia added: “We’ve had very positive feedback to date. Each client is benefiting in different ways through support that is tailored to their specific needs. We leave them with tools, processes and a methodology so they can continue to focus on sustainability. While the pilot stage has been fully subscribed, we invite other interested SMEs to contact us to find out more.”
For more information, visit http://resilientweb.eu/en/ or join the LinkedIn group ‘Resilience for SMEs’. Companies can also do their own online ‘Quickscan’ questionnaire to test their resilience at http://resilientweb.eu/en/quickscan/.