Topic of the practice
Measures to involve SMEs in the green economy; valuation of the Structural Funds in the London area.
Good Practice Information
The FLASH programme, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, provides a range of business support to London-based SMEs working in construction or other built environment industries, technologies and professions. It has been designed to help these businesses to seize the commercial opportunities arising from the move towards a low carbon economy.
SMEs in the construction industry in the UK are often poorly trained and/or unable to afford training that would enable them to benefit from the opportunities afforded by housing retrofit programmes. this programme addressed this problem by providing technical and business support to a number of SMEs working in construction and the built environment.
The key features of the programmes are the following:
(i) TRADE & PROFESSIONAL NETWORKS: networking meetings of SMEs with architects, surveyors, engineers, plumbers, electricians, builders as well as suppliers and installers of energy efficiency and renewable energy products, and financers.Through these networks, SMEs can also access a series of site visits to new build and retrofit demonstrator projects.
(ii) FLASH INNOVATION: Working with the School of Architecture and Construction and the Business School at the University of Greenwich, businesses can gain support to improve their operations and performance, develop innovation capacity and ultimately achieve business growth.
(iii) ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT SERVICES: the services help companies achieve reductions in energy, water and materials use, cutting carbon emissions and operational costs.
The programme activities include: Networking meetings; Site visits; Support to improve operations and performance, develop innovation capacity and achieve business growth; Practical, interactive workshops, networking opportunities, access to student and academic resources and innovation coaching; Support services to help SMEs achieve reductions in energy, water and materials use, cutting carbon emissions and operational costs.
FLASH became a good practices because the project approach involves also financers, the whole process is based on the triple helix model, and adopts holistic approach to sustainable construction as the Code for Sustainable Homes. The project cost is about 5 000 000£.
Evidence of success
12 hour business assists to over 1,000 SMEs over three years, made up of seminars, site visits and technical assistance. 100 new jobs created at SMEs.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Institute for Sustainability
Annex completed on: 11-14-2011