Smart Businesses Groningen (Groningen Werkt Slim, GWS) helps SME's towards a CO2 neutral future by giving them advice on energy-efficiency measures.
In 2019, the province joined the Smart Businesses Groningen (Groningen Werkt Slim, GWS) platform. The platform was founded in 2018 by the municipality of Groningen and the Groningen business associations and is intended to help SME's become more sustainable. The pillars are energy efficiency (this is the main pillar), sustainable energy, circularity and green mobility. The platform was initiated to serve SME's within the boundaries of the municipality of Groningen. But with the participation of the province of Groningen the focus had widened to the whole province.
The communication strategy is also based on this: how to reach all SME's in the whole of Groningen so they know that GWS is the platform to turn to if they have questions about energy efficiency.

The platform has a service center with advisors who give advice on energy-efficiency to individual SME's who reach out to GWS. Also, GWS initiates its own projects (for example a pilot project for solar carports of a local energy-network) or joins or adopts external projects .
In 2021 a CO2 calculator was develped and added to the website. With this SME's can calculate their current CO2 emission. This forms the basis for the advice by the advisors.

Resources needed

Yearly a budget of € 450.000 is needed.
The costs are divided as follows:
Municipality of Groningen 45%
Province of Groningen 35%
Business associations 20%
Also GWS demands commitment and therefore hours from the partners to attend meetings.

Evidence of success

In 2021, the first year that the service center and advisors were up and running, the following concrete results were achieved:

3.900 visitors to the website
350 visitors to the Smart CO2 calculator
86 requests for advice to the advisors
1.009 Views on youtube
1 new virtual colleague/assistant created on the website: Smart Rick
3 large meetings organized/attended (Groningen Promotion days)

Difficulties encountered

The main challenge is to get the needed resources. This is something that needs to be done every year. We just got commitment for the 2022 budget, from all GWS partners.
Also how to get GWS known to as many SME's as possible has been a challenge. Which communication to use.

Potential for learning or transfer

GWS is a good practice because with a relatively small budget many SME's can be helped. For us it is also a good follow up after law enforcement: SME's know what they have to do, and now they can be helped how to do it by GWS.

For others it can be an example how to help SME's when there is no (or not a lot of) money to give away as a subsidy.

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Main institution
Municipality of Groningen
Groningen, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
September 2019
End Date


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