The project Arena for Green Growth is an innovation cluster of green industries in Halland, which supports and helps companies implement new exciting innovative ideas within the green innovation. The cluster involves a large network of expertise, new niche markets, test environments, as swell as the right skills and research.
Halland has large reserves of forest, soil and water, which has contributed to important values such as agriculture and industry. But today, these industries are facing several challenges such as transition and adjustment to intense competition and prevailing climate threat. If no changeover takes place, the development risks strike hard at the regional growth.
Forest, soil and water are biological raw materials and ecosystem services which have a variety of characteristics, beyond what people in general might know about. With an innovative approach to small and medium-sized enterprises, the project aims to help forest and agriculture industries to develop new in-demand products and services in an environmentally friendly way that will increase the added value at the same time as creating incentives for regional growth. Bio innovations include everything from clothing to energy and bioplastics. Arena Green Growth´s ambition is to support the companies behind the innovations throughout the development process. Arena Green Growth has divided bio innovations into these themes: bioenergy, food and forest/wood raw material.
DuraPulp is a compostable biomaterial made by the small Halland enterprise SWT Development. The material is stretchable, based on corn starch and can be used as substitute for plastic packaging. "A prototype is far from a commercialized product," says project manager Birger Lofgren, and this is precisely the Arena Green Growth key attention. By focusing first on the need for plastic in the public sector, Arena Green Growth, in conjunction with the enterprise, identified hospital environments as the primary niche market for DuraPulp.
In the winter of 2016 three workshops were held in different hospitals in western Sweden, in order to examine possible applications for DuraPulp and validate it together with the hospital staff. It gives the project team better basis then the results will be used in the development of more needs-based prototypes for the customer
The global packaging market is estimated at 450 billion euros, where the plastic is 40 percent of the market. In this context the project has a very interesting profile with the objective to develop business models for renewable material and identify the real need in the hospital environment. After the project, the objective is to invest in industrial production to meet international markets.
In addition to working on renewable forms of healthcare Arena Green Growth works with knowledge meetings to attract entrepreneurs to the area and identify existing innovations in the bio-economy.
By autumn 2016, Arena Green Growth had a number of good examples their portfolio. Of course, one of the reasons for that is a genuine commitment of project leaders, but the ERDF project has also set important guidelines, such as the companies they invest in. The criteria are as follows: