ENVIROS, s.r.o., a leading consulting company in the areas of energy, the environment and management, is active in the countries of Central Europe, including the Czech Republic, and other countries elsewhere in the world. Its majority owner is the UK-based ENVIROS GLOBAL Limited. The company has been operating on the market since 1994 and is an experienced player on the Czech and international fields.
Enviros is actively involved also in international projects, including the European START2ACT project, which is fully funded by the European Union from the Horizon 2020 programme. One of the main objectives of START2ACT is support for small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups with emphasis on energy savings achieved through simple everyday activities.
Would you like to know more details? Do you want to know how to get involved in the START2ACT programme? We asked Marta Kovalovská, who is the project leader in the Czech Republic.
Q1: To start, please tell us how Enviros came to be involved with the European START2ACT project, in which the Czech Republic participates with eight other countries, namely Great Britain, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania. What does it mean for your firm?
Our company has extensive experience with European projects financed by the European Union, as well as with the Horizon 2020 programme. It was thus one of several challenges that we wanted to face and to spread the topic of energy efficiency among small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups. Though in the past we were involved primarily with projects for large entities, we would be glad to show smaller business that small measures can save money, energy and the environment.
Q2: Can you tell us how assistance looks particularly for a Czech start-up that wants to get involved in the project but doesn’t have a specific idea of how to go about it?
In the case that such a start-up decides to join the START2ACT project, our trained experts are prepared to provide, through a workshop, an overview of what energy actually is and the means by which it is consumed and to familiarise workshop participants with the concept of energy efficiency so that they understand the broader ramifications of energy consumption. This is about inspiring start-ups to use simple, functional and realistic measures to change their behaviour and to subsequently save energy and costs. Another benefit of participating in the project comprises interactive online tools that can be used and an online platform that is available to all participants, who can use it to resolve individual issues and share their successes with other participants from all countries involved in the project.
Q3: Can you quote us a few figures from the project, such as the financial allocation, the number of individual experts and the number of workshops and their participants?
This three-year project has a limited, fixed budget within which our company offers in the Czech Republic regular workshops with capacity for 15-20 SMEs/start-ups per workshop, three consecutive individual consultations (only for SMEs) for fifty small and medium-sized enterprises that have fewer than 49 employees and have been operating on the market for no longer than five years and mentoring activities conducted in the form of workshops for a maximum of 135 start-ups. Four of our experts are currently focused on workshops and consultations.
Q4: You are presently halfway through the project’s period of duration. Is there anything that you have found surprising, either pleasantly or unpleasantly? Coordinating a European project involving nine countries is not a simple matter.
Yes, we’ve passed the mid-point of the project, when the coordinator, the Hungarian company Europa Media, which is definitely not a beginner in the area of sustainable development, set the rules of the project and is successfully managing the representatives of the other eight participating companies. In spring this year, we succeeded in launching the first series of workshops for small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups in Prague as well as in Brno and Ostrava. We would like to expand the concept of this project to the largest possible number of small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups. Experience gained from the workshops so far shows that the priorities of beginning entrepreneurs lie mainly in areas other than energy consumption. Nevertheless, we are striving to raise interest in this issue, especially today, when we are inexorably rushing hand in hand with technological progress into an era when won’t have the option of wasting energy.