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Focused effort on the United Nations pays off for Innoventum

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After two years of active work towards specific UN agencies, InnoVentum have ongoing business dialogues with three UN agencies. By participating in Business Sweden’s delegations towards different UN-hubs InnoVentum have been able to establish a valuable network and gained an understanding of the UN system.

InnoVentum is a provider of renewable energy solutions and was established in 2010 by Sigvald Harryson. The company quickly expanded their international activities aiming at the private and public sector as well as international actors such as NGOs and the UN. InnoVentum focuses on developing and commercializing environmentally friendly, resource-efficient and aesthetically compelling renewable energy solutions: hybrid wind-solar systems, wind turbines and PV solar panel installations. The towers are made of wood instead of steel and are easy to transport and install on site. Thanks to their robustness, they can be installed in regions with harsh weather conditions. During the last five years InnoVentum’s solutions have been installed in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Focus on the United Nations and disaster relief

In June 2014 InnoVentum participated in an informative seminar about how to do business with the UN as well as the Nordic UN Procurement Seminar in Copenhagen arranged by Business Sweden in Denmark. At the same time InnoVentum registered on the United Nations Global Marketplace, UNGM, that is the central procurement portal of the United Nations system of organizations.

The participation in the United Nations Nordic Procurement Seminar arranged by Business Sweden in Denmark has been an important milestone for InnoVentum and their future relationship with different UN agencies.

“The United Nations Nordic Procurement Seminar in Copenhagen in June 2014 helped us establish a network and identify important persons at different UN agencies, which has been very valuable for future business within the UN”, says Sigvald Harryson, CEO and founder of InnoVentum

During the last two years InnoVentum have participated in several delegations arranged by Business Sweden to different UN hubs such as Geneva and Vienna, Nairobi and Entebbe but also to disaster stricken areas such as Thailand and the Philippines. According to Sigvald, it is important to participate in these kinds of activities in order to get access to the right decision makers. 

“It is necessary to participate in the procurement activities arranged by Business Sweden in order to get in contact with the right persons at the UN agencies and develop a network that we otherwise can’t access”.

InnoVentum have responded to several Express of Interest requests and participated in different tender processes matching their product portfolio. Today they are in dialogue with three large UN agencies focusing on projects related to sustainable development and renewable energy.  InnoVentum have experienced that there exist high entry barriers doing business with The United Nations. It is important to have a high tolerance towards bureaucracy and be able to handle the procurement process correctly but once you have achieved the first positive results it becomes easier.

“When we participated in The United Nations Nordic Procurement Seminar 2016 arranged by Business Sweden in Denmark we had much more experience and a well-established network that we could lean on. Furthermore, we have got an LTA (Long-Term Agreement) with one of the UN organizations with a procurement division in Copenhagen, which helps us a lot in discussion with other UN agencies as this develops trust and loyalty. An LTA is a kind of a stamp of approval in contact with other agencies and makes the dialogue much easier”, says Sigvald Harryson, CEO and founder of InnoVentum.

Team effort is necessary in order to succed

Most of the activities arranged and conducted by Business Sweden are in close relationship with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the local embassies. The Team Sweden approach is important in order to brand Swedish solutions towards the global market but it also opens doors to actors that otherwise would be difficult to get access to. Sigvald underlines the importance of the collaboration as a crucial part in their success as well

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has made a positive effort in inviting small companies like us to participate in different meetings with high level decision makers, which has been very valuable to us”.

The most recent success of InnoVentum has been securing a contract with one of the UN organizations for the installation of solar PV carports and the wind-solar hybrid solutions (the Giraffe 2.0) at the venue of the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco. The bidding took several months to complete and the competition was tough. However, thanks to the extreme team effort by InnoVentum, experience in dealing with the UN tenders acquired as a result of extensive collaboration with Business Sweden, as well as support by the Swedish Energy Agency, the project has been awarded to InnoVentum.