The Åre Business Forum in April has emerged as one of Sweden’s most exciting arenas for business contacts between trade and industry, the public sector, politicians and entrepreneurs. This year the 3-day event sold out well in advance, with the design hotel Copperhill and the lecture hall filled with visitors.
On Day 2 the theme of the afternoon session is sustainable investments in two key respects. Firstly there’s the technology developed by Climeon for converting waste heat into green electricity. Secondly, there’s the joint financing solution by EKN and Almi providing Climeon with sustainable funding when the opportunity to export this key new technology arose.
With Günther Mårder from Företagarna moderating, Anna-Karin Jatko, Director General of EKN, and Alexander Helling, Head of Project Finance at Climeon, have just over half an hour to explain the successful collaboration between EKN and Climeon.
Alexander Helling says that Climeon’s business idea was based on an innovation that converts low-temperature waste heat and geothermal heat into electricity. It took two years for the founder and CEO of the company, Thomas Öström, and Joachim Karthäuser, the Chief Technical Officer, to work out the radical energy solution.
Once fully developed, the first volume order for the technology came from the Finnish company Viking Line, which wanted to use the solution on its maritime vessels. Whilst offering a great opportunity, Alexander Helling explains it also posed a great challenge: no payment would be made until delivery – a full two years after the order was placed.
Climeon needed help with funding in order to run production. Which is where EKN comes into the picture.
“Working together with EKN and Almi we found a solution for carrying out this key transaction for Climeon’s development. EKN is both good at listening and very solution-oriented. They’re a good partner for anyone doing business globally” says Alexander.
Almi is responsible for the loan, and EKN provides a guarantee against the risk of credit loss. Together they provided Climeon with the opportunity to carry out the export transaction with no negative cash flow – while at the same time being totally sure they will get paid.
“Our task is to help all kinds of companies ranging from start-ups to established large corporates. We have a toolbox for providing bespoke solutions,” says Anna-Karin Jatko.
“EKN adapts our products to the needs of companies. We recognise small and medium-sized innovative companies have specific needs, and so we produce solutions that are specifically tailored for them,” she continues.
Her message in Åre is crystal clear. EKN wants to, is able, and is doing its utmost to help companies wishing to conduct more export transactions, and more successful export transactions. “Contact us. We’re ready to listen,” Anna-Karin concludes before Alexander Helling is asked a final question about the potential of Climeon’s technology.
“The need for energy is not decreasing. Currently the hot water produced by energy generation production is simply wasted. There is also plenty of geothermal energy worldwide providing water temperature at 70–120 degrees. We now want to build power stations. And the joint offer provided by Almi and EKN will enable us to say ‘yes’ to more exports business in the future.”