Collaboration is key to become frontrunners in the consumer cleantech field

January 07, 2021

Stakeholders from nine Baltic Sea Region countries started engaging in the Smartup Accelerator Network in 2020. Going forward, collaboration opportunities in countries across the ocean seem closer to the members.

Global trends like sustainable development and an interest amongst consumers to find alternatives to the most resource intensive products and services in their daily consumption is spurring innovations to meet these needs. The consumer cleantech startups and medium-sized companies, or smartups, often promote sharing over ownership, circular solutions, and digital innovations to address citizen needs in real time to increase efficiency.

Interviews and research through the SmartUp Accelerator project show that the smartups tackle not only challenges linked to limited resources. They also manage topics relating to consumer behaviour change and developing sustainable innovations and new business models in often traditional and well-established industries.

What are smartups looking for?

The question of how to best support smartups in an international environment was at the core of the SmartUp Accelerator project. Interviews in 2018 - 2019 revealed that one of the most valued support measures is matching smartups with stakeholders, as collaborations can allow for jointly driving market change towards more sustainable consumption. While smartups strive to spread their solutions and create impact, some also mention that they would like to find methods for exporting concepts and business models rather than products. 



Stakeholder abilities to assess and act on knowledge about business fields as they emerge is of importance to the development of business in the region. Smartups have claimed they identify a need for more collaboration and coherence across borders. In addition, smartups look for guidance and advice about market fit based on the specifics of their solution. This includes business support and guidance in local attitudes, trends, competition, stakeholder knowledge, and insight on sustainability awareness among consumers and in the business environment, which all influence decisions on entering new markets.

"While smartups strive to spread their solutions and create impact, some also mention that they would like to find methods for exporting concepts and business models rather than products"

Why we should collaborate

Latvian and Polish experts have stressed the benefits of exploring practices and systems of other countries to enhance opportunities locally for startups and SMEs. Indeed, understanding of the needs of BSR smartups can allow for support organisations that surround them to better cater to their interests. This is also an opportunity for support organisations to stay ahead in and around the emerging consumer cleantech field, which can be illustrated with a BSR example of Perille Mobility Services Oy, or the widely known example of Airbnb - a smartup that has challenged the market for holiday homes globally.

For members of the Smartup Accelerator network, there is now a platform for taking initiative for projects, finding investment opportunities and partnerships, strengthening international relations and opening doors for local and international smartups. Learn about all benefits here, and reach feel free to contact us if you wish to join us.


Read more & References

Demos Helsinki (2014) What is consumer cleantech?

SmartUp Accelerator (2020) Communication and stimulation action results of the SmartUp Accelerator project


“20 years ago, a startup would not tackle the big players directly. Due to the speed of business and solution development nowadays, this is now possible"

German intermediary, Interview 2019