From Windows to Wonders: Izotec's Green Revolution with Norway Grants
In the North-Eastern part of Romania, not far from the county capital of Piatra Neamt, we get off the main road and turn towards the village of Savinesti. As an envoy from Innovation Norway, I am on my way to visit the Romanian company Izotec Group. The General Director of the nearly 20-year-old company, Mr Ciprian Chelariu, welcomes us to their production site in Savinesti, where they manufacture windows and doors insulated with PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride).
Through the Business Development, Innovation and SMEs programme the company have been granted €628,000 in funding from Norway through the Norway Grants.
Innovation Norway: How have the funds helped your company?
Ciprian Chelariu (Izotec): Our main goal was to simplify the line of production so we bought new machinery. Specifically, we invested in a welding machine of high performance and a machine to mount hardware automatically.
Innovation Norway: What are the main positive angles to these Norway Grants-led investments?
Ciprian Chelariu (Izotec): We now have one of the most modern lines of production for windows and doors in Romania. The production became more efficient from two perspectives:
- we now have a lower consumption of energy, and
- we are more efficient because of the shorter production cycle.
More secure production
The General Director guides us to one of the production halls to see how the newly bought equipment performs. We are met with a huge poster on the wall informing us that support from the Norway Grants made these investments possible. Following this, we enter a light and spacious production hall.
Mr Chelariu points to a machine that is responsible for the assembling of the window frames. It seems quick and accurate. The machine stops for a moment when I go past the security line with my camera. Immediately I step back.
Ciprian Chelariu (Izotec): The production process has also become safer and more secure. There is more automation involved and there is less manual work.
Red for Izotec
In the white and grey production hall the workers stand out with their bright red working outfits. Mr Chelariu matches them perfectly with his orange-red blazer. Branding and strengthening of the Izotec brand has been a big part of the project.
But they’re not only red. Through cutting their CO2-emissions Izotec has also added green to their company profile. 46 less tons of CO2 in the atmosphere is no easy feat, but Izotec has succeded in transcending mere numbers and spreadsheets which is a testament to the profound impact that conscious environmental practices can have on a company's identity and prosperity.
Had lost hope
Before Izotec Group applied for the Norway Grants, they had applied several times for EU funding without success.
Ciprian Chelariu (Izotec): At one point in time we lost hope in the possibility of obtaining external funding, but then our consultant suggested to apply for the Norwegian funds. This time we finally succeeded.
The project started before Covid hit the world and during the project, they faced a number of challenges: Prices galloped and the delivery terms were unusually long.
Ciprian Chelariu (Izotec): But thanks to the good communication with the team from Innovation Norway, as the Norway Grants Fund Operator, we succeeded. Their support helped us in finding solutions when things were difficult.
Mr Chelariu highly recommends everyone to apply for the EEA and Norway Grants, and he himself would not hesitate to apply again.
Programme: Business Development, Innovation and SMEs
Project grant: €628.000
Total project cost: €1.052.000
Project Promoter: Izotec Group
Finalised: July 2022
And if this interview did not convince you of the power of this Norway Grants-powered success story, maybe the following achievement will:
!A 290% increase in net operational profit, amounting to 400 000 Euro!
About the SMEs Growth Programme
SMEs Growth Romania is a business development programme aiming to increase value creation and sustainable growth in the Romanian business sector. The Programme is part of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021. The EEA and Norway Grants aim at contributing to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area (EEA) and to the strengthening of bilateral relations between the Donor States (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and the Beneficiary States.
About Innovation Norway
Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. Innovation Norway supports companies in developing their competitive advantage and to enhance innovation. In Romania, Innovation Norway is managing two programmes: the Energy Programme and the SMEs Growth Programme.