FOBIA aims to enhance the business competitiveness of forestry service enterprises in the NPA regions of Finland, Sweden, Scotland and Ireland by:
(1) promoting the development of innovative business models;
(2) providing tools for increasing operational efficiency; and,
(3) developing and piloting the use of digital platforms for knowledge transfer, networking and trading of services.
Forestry is an economically important industry across much of the Northern Periphery. The NPA areas of Sweden and Finland produce 30% and 60% respectively of domestic roundwood consumption, and timber harvesting alone employs around 10,000 people. In the NPA areas of Ireland and Scotland, annual timber production is forecast to increase significantly over the next 10 years (almost doubling in Ireland to reach 6M m3 and increasing by 30% in Scotland to 4.5M m3). Mobilising this wood flow will require considerable investment and development of forestry services. The scale of forestry businesses providing timber harvesting and silvicultural services ranges from self-employed sole-traders and micro-enterprises, to larger companies operating dozens of machines. These businesses are required to provide an increasingly diverse range of services, as more business activities are outsourced (e.g. planning, quality control and reporting). Many forestry entrepreneurs lack the management skills required to successfully meet these increased demands, and their ability to acquire new skills is often constrained by a lack of time and the long distances involved in accessing training. Many forestry service businesses are also experiencing declining profitability, making it difficult to recruit and retain skilled employees.
FOBIA will address these barriers by developing resources and tools, available through digital platforms, to help forestry entrepreneurs improve profitability through new business models, increased operational efficiency and enhanced management skills and leadership.
Expected Results (EN):
Conditions for start-ups in remote, sparsely populated areas
Expected Outputs (EN):
FOBIA will develop and introduce support systems which facilitate enhancement of the profitability of forestry service businesses. Emphasis will be put on improving entrepreneurs’ managerial skills, promoting networking and collaboration among entrepreneurs, and adopting machine monitoring and business management systems.
The starting point will be a comprehensive analysis of the current status of forestry service businesses in the participating regions of the NPA, characterising them in terms of operational activities, size, use of technology and business models applied.
Providing improved support systems for forestry entrepreneurs, available through digital platforms, will improve the conditions for forestry machine operators or other contractors who wish to found their own start-ups, and may encourage them to do so. FOBIA will also increase understanding of the most important barriers in regard to entrepreneurship.
As well as contributing to the lifelong learning of entrepreneurs and improving their business competitiveness, the new knowledge generated in this project can immediately be adopted in the training modules of various forestry training institutes and colleges. FOBIA will therefore have a significant impact on attitudes towards forest entrepreneurship among young people.