Crises can pose challenges when markets disappear. But they might as well bring opportunities; new markets are opening up, time is freed up for competence and product development, support for business restructuring so that it stands stronger after the crisis is available. RISE has 2800 experts and unique resources for testing and verification and can support small and medium-sized companies with, among other things, product adaptation for new markets, environmental tolerance training and conversion or financing advice for these types of efforts.
Every year, more than 7,500 SMEs get help from RISE to develop their business. For RISE, which is a government owned research institute, SMEs in particular have a special priority.
“Supporting SMEs in particular is a very important part of our mission. This might not be so odd since more than 65 per cent of all jobs in the economy are in these particular companies,” says Anders Persson, head of the SME department at RISE.
Experts and testbeds
At RISE, there are around 2,800 experts if every possible area and the research institute is also responsible for hundreds of different test environments where a company’s materials, products, services or processes can be scaled up and tested under real conditions.
“There is no equivalent to this in Sweden. RISE is very large with a number of different unique competencies under the same roof that one can benefit from instead of turning to a number of different research institutes like before. Our mission also includes you having as much access to our experts and test environments regardless of where you live in Sweden,” says Anders Persson.
What then can RISE help your company with? The answer is most things, everything from research and development to industrialisation, quality assurance and strategic analyses.
“We help all kinds of companies, from those at the forefront of technology and innovation to companies that are in need of skills development with all of the transition now taking place with digitalisation or automation. Or perhaps if the market your company works in demands something that you want to develop or if you want to enter an entirely new market. We also help with verification and certification or evaluation and the scaling up of processes,” says Anders Persson.
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Support department for small and medium-sized enterprises
To support and facilitate matters for SMEs, which means companies with a maximum of 250 employees and an annual turnover of no more than EUR 50 million or EUR 43 million in total assets, there is a special support department at RISE. At the support department, there are also a number of regional contact persons who can meet companies throughout Sweden. When something as unusual as the corona pandemic arise it can be even more crucial to get the right help as quickly as possible.
“The support department is to be a fast and easy entrance for SMEs and then we ensure that you get the support and expert help the company needs. We also have close cooperation with other business-supporting actors, such as Almi or Science parks,” says Susanna Kindberg, coordinator of the operational support of SMEs at RISE.
The support department is an easy, quick way in for small and medium-sized enterprises
If a company has a specific technical challenge or question that it needs help on, Susanna Kindberg suggests not waiting too long to contact RISE. The sooner RISE enters the picture, the better.
“We really recommend contacting us at an early stage. Finding out what rules and requirements that, for example, a specific product is covered by is something we can help with and if you have a discussion with us early in the development process, you minimise the risk of standing there with a finished product that doesn’t meet the requirements of the market,” she says.
Help in applying for financing and support
Besides more company-specific issues, the support department also helps seeking grants and support, which can finance potential projects done together with RISE. If you contact the support department, you can also have an opportunity for several hours of advice free of charge.
“There are many different regional and national forms of assistance that SMEs can apply for, for example, for a research project, a verification or some kind of a preliminary study,” says Susanna Kindberg.