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Solargis

Their data control power plants all over the world. Solargis optimises the performance of solar power plants – also thanks to support and advice from EU services

 

© Solargis, 2019

 
Solargis was established at a time when solar power was still an emerging industry. Today, their meteorological data and software applications are used by solar power plants in about a hundred countries around the world. In order to grow and come up with new innovations, they needed a clear vision and clear priorities. Thanks to support from the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest global network for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) co-financed by the EU, they have now created a growth strategy and expect to double their turnover in the next three years.
 
If you want to build a solar power plant, you will first need to find out some basic information – how much solar energy will shine down on it at the given location. Based in Bratislava, Solargis has expertise in preparing meteorological data, such as solar radiation and air temperature, which are then used in software applications to calculate electrical energy production.
 
“Companies which build or operate power plants can use these data and this software to determine the power plant’s energy yield and use it as a basis for preparing the technical project as well as the financial plan,” explains Solargis executive manager Marcel Šúri.
 
From intuitive development to a detailed strategy with the help of the Enterprise Europe Network
 

The company was founded in 2010 by two partners, Marcel Šúri and Tomáš Cebecauer. Back then, it only had three employees – now it has 45. At that time, with the three-member team, it was still possible to manage the company’s development and growth intuitively, but as the number of employees and customers grew, it became clear that a strategy was needed.
 
Solargis realised that they needed to apply established methods to create a strategy and that they needed consultation support. In 2018, it began working with the company BIC Bratislava (Business and Innovation Center), which represents the Enterprise Europe Network in Slovakia. Together, they started working on an innovation strategy.
 
“The whole process lasted over a year, during which we used many methods. The result was a detailed plan for developing a new product, in which we defined 30 sub-fields, teams, sub-tasks and a budget,” explains Štefan Vrátny of BIC Bratislava.
 
“We are grateful to BIC Bratislava for helping us to establish an innovation strategy. Up to then, it had been enough for us to talk about our development focus and tasks in person and note them down on a few sheets of paper. But we had long felt that we needed to make this process more systematic. At a certain point, any company simply needs that,” Šúri adds.
 
The Enterprise Europe Network also helped with a detailed marketing plan and consulting
 
Once they had finished their innovation strategy, they embarked on expanding their business strategy. Solargis thus needed to plan not only how to proceed in the technical development of their services, but also how to market them as effectively as possible. The strategy showed that, once the planned development had been successfully completed, Solargis should have about 50% more employees, and its turnover should double.
 
Thanks to the business strategy, the company was better able to configure itself  in order to communicate with its customers. “Once we had clearly established where we were headed, we were able to communicate this more clearly to the customers as well. Based on the business strategy, we then also started improving our communication strategy, for which we used the consultation services of a specialised company,” adds Solargis cofounder Marcel Šúri.
 
Thanks to the detailed development plan, the company has now not only better defined the sub-tasks, their timeframe and strategy for strengthening individual teams, it first and foremost has clearly defined criteria with which to evaluate these tasks. This is very helpful when pursuing long-term innovation development, as well as company growth.
 
The partnership between Solargis and the Enterprise Europe Network intensifies
 
The Enterprise Europe Network continues to work with Solargis through BIC Bratislava. Now, after being finalised, the business plan also needs to be implemented, i.e. put into practice. With 3,000 experts from more than 600 member organisations based in 60 countries all over the world, the network is a valuable source of support for small and medium-sized enterprises in gaining access to financing and partnerships within the EU.
 
Likewise, it has also helped Solargis to draw up a proposal for a grant from the prestigious pan-European EIC Accelerator programme. Preparing the proposal without methodological assistance would have been very difficult for Solargis, Marcel Šúri says. If Solargis is successful and is awarded the grant, BIC Bratislava will also work with the company to implement this proposal.
 
“We will be glad to continue to work together, be it in implementing the projects and strategies we jointly came up with, or in updating them. I like to learn things which I’m not an expert in from people who understand them better,” Marcel Šúri concludes.

Disclaimer:
 
The interviews with SME owner(s) and Enterprise Europe Network were conducted before the coronavirus pandemic that put many European companies in a difficult situation.
 
To support the economy and protect businesses like Solargis, the EU has been working closely with Member States since the emergence of coronavirus, putting in place support measures and recovery plans to deal with the impact of COVID-19.  Learn more about the management of coronavirus and the recovery plan for Europe.

About the Enterprise Europe Network
 
The world's largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) brings together 600 member organisations in more than 60 countries, providing advice and support to help SMEs expand into new markets, innovate, access finance, understand and apply EU legislation and find business or technology partners across Europe and beyond. The European Commission launched the Enterprise Europe Network in 2008. It is co-financed by the European Union programme for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (COSME). 
For more information: https://www.een.sk

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