Startups can help the forestry and mining industries innovate

Large companies should cooperate more closely with smaller, innovative businesses in order to make the forestry and mining industries more sustainable, according to a panel of international experts.

As part of the Ignite North 2021 – Forestry & Mining event, Ignite Incubator Partner Uminova Innovation held a breakout session on May 18 that explored how new technology and collaborations with startups can lead to sustainable innovations in the forestry and mining industries.

A panel of international experts gathered to discuss how companies of all sizes can come together to solve the technical and sustainability challenges facing the forestry and mining industries, as well as how startups can contribute and what we need to do in order to boost pilots and projects that deliver value to customers. The discussion was moderated by Johan Granström from ABB. 35 delegates from Sweden, Canada and other countries participated.

The industries’ challenges in Sweden and Canada

Forestry and mining are two important industries in Sweden and Canada, and the products they produce enable cities and communities to be able to develop sustainably. But both industries face major challenges – not least the need to transition to sustainable and circular practices.

Innovative products and services from startups and small and medium-sized companies can be a part of the solution. Two good examples are the Uminova Innovation’s startup Logscom, which has created a labeling and traceability system for timber, and the Canadian startup Taiga Robotics, which has developed intuitive interfaces to control robots in high-risk environments such as mines. Both companies participated in the event.

“The most important insight we had during the panel discussion was the importance of creating new collaborations, both across national borders but also between small and large companies,” said Peter Bäckström, Business Developer at Enterprise Europe Network Västerbotten and also responsible for staging the event. “It may sound obvious but it’s so easy to forget, and as we all know it can take time to find new friends,” he added.

The expert panel also discussed what small and medium-sized companies need to think big when it comes to developing new technology and the importance of establishing a well-defined concept in order to go from idea to a concrete collaboration with a larger company.

“We only had time to scratch the surface a bit this time, but the dialogue has just begun. We will continue to develop our collaboration with Canada and I strongly believe the combination of Enterprise Europe Network and Ignite Sweden will continue to play a role in supporting our companies in more successful collaborations and future business,” concluded Peter Bäckström.

The matchmaking session

Prior to this session, 7 large companies within mining and forestry met 21 startups, including two Canadian companies, in 32 tailored matchmaking meetings that took place during the event.

The participant corporates were Ålö, Holmen Skog, IBM, Komatsu Forest, Olofsfors, SCA and Skogstekniska klustret. These have been matched with startups including Arboair, BiTi Innovations, Ecotype, Ekkono Solutions, ePosture, Gavagai, Inkonova InnoBrain, Lim Geomatics, Nordluft Automation, Prediktera, Realbridge, Scling, Sentian, Stream Analyze, Substorm, SynData, Taiga Robotics, Viking Analytics, Voysys and Widefind

Click here to watch the panel discussion at Ignite North

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