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NEW RESEARCH PROJECT | The role of small businesses in the green transition

Researcher Debadrita Panda and Professor Johan Frishammar. Photo: Luleå University of Technology.

For the coming two years, researchers at Norrlandsnavet, Luleå University of Technology, will study the role of small businesses in the green transition in northern Sweden. Debadrita Panda and Johan Frishammar take on the project.

All the focus is on the big companies in the sustainable development that is currently taking place in northern Sweden. New green process industries are being built and there is an extensive conversion of older industries, such as LKAB, SSAB and Boliden. But researchers know that smaller companies are essential for big companies to achieve their goals.

– They play a crucial role in the industrial ecosystem, but we do not know how fully. We will find out what activities and skills they bring to the table. But also what obstacles they face and what roles they take, says Johan Frishammar, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at Luleå University of Technology.

The overall aim of the research project Sustainable value creation in ecosystems: Barriers, practices, and collaboration between SMEs and larger firms is to contribute to the green transition.

– Our main focus is to contribute to the companies’ desire to design, develop and implement circular business models in SMEs to promote sustainable and circular value creation, says Debadrita Panda, postdoctoral researcher at Luleå University of Technology.

“For the benefit of the many people”

Norrlandsnavet is funded by the Kamprad Family Foundation, which aims to ensure that the research it invests in ‘benefits the many people’. This is also what the new research project is aiming for.

– What is required of smaller companies today is not the same as what is required of them tomorrow. If we can get them to understand what they should do differently and how they need to develop their skills, it is a piece of the puzzle in the work towards a sustainable and circular industry that benefits all people,” says Johan Frishammar.

Debadrita Panda agrees and adds:

– Once we understand the division of roles between different actors in the industrial ecosystem, we can also present future requirements and necessary adaptations to develop ecosystems for the green transition. We want to give small businesses the tools to make practical changes to their operations.

What made you apply for the postdoctoral position for this project, Debadrita?

– SMEs can contribute in many ways to the green transition, and northern Sweden is an excellent test bed for exploring this. The project is about creating a sustainable society, stimulating innovation and creating economic opportunities from it. The results will be relevant to the fight against climate change, and we are encouraging responsible entrepreneurship – which is motivating. I am really excited about this project,” says Debadrita Panda.


More about Norrlandsnavet and the project
The project is called Sustainable value creation in ecosystems: Barriers, practices, and collaboration between SMEs and larger firms and will run for two years starting in January 2024. It is part of Norrlandsnavet, at Luleå University of Technology, which works with the development of business activities in northern Sweden and is financed by the Kamprad Family Foundation. More about the initiative.

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