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Refamed and successful application in SME instrument

SubCage Refa Med 
Refa Med is a renowned technology provider for farming warm water marine species in off-shore and open-sea environments with over 30 years' experience in development of offshore cage technologies. After participation in FP7 projects such as SMARTCATCH, the company decided to apply for SME instrument in Horizon 2020, under the topic "Supporting SMEs efforts for the development - deployment and market replication of innovative solutions for blue growth". The company was selected among beneficiaries of Phase I (50.000€), with a project called "SubCage - Submersible Tension Leg Fish Cage for Mariculture in Unsheltered and Offshore Areas". Within the project, and through Sardegna Ricerche local node of Enterprise Europe Network, the company will be entitled to receive coaching services (an expert made available by European Commission), along project duration to empower company’s possibility to be successful in project’s development. We asked few questions to Darko Lisac and Teresa Palomo, technical and administrative officers of the company.

Could you please describe Refamed activities and his network of contacts and collaborations in the world?
The company is specialized in technologies for warm-water marine fish, being a producer and supplier /installer of in-house developed solutions in off-shore and open-sea fish-farming, including turn-key deliveries. Refa Med also provides consultancy, design, staff training, plus start-up and management services essential for the whole project implementation .

The company works closely with clients from the initial planning through the multiple development and establishment phases of each project. New equipment and solutions are tested under real exploitation conditions with a commercial open-sea fish farm partner in the proximity of our premises, with good monitoring ability. Refa Med has excellent skills to evaluate the constraints that the new technology is likely to experience, and will provide a sales, installation and service channel for the developed technology. Concerning geographical coverage, Refamed sells and distributes the innovative solutions in the Mediterranean region and Near-East countries, while partner company Refa VONIN is responsible for the selling and distribution in the Northern sea region and the northern hemisphere market.

How did the successful project start, which was the idea behind and why did you decide to submit the project under SME instrument in particular?
This project started with a prototype submersible fish cage, tested over many years in Crete using red porgy. Testing was successful; there were no issues during the operation and thus confirmed that the new product satisfies certain customer needs, such as: cost benefit solution for fish farming in unsheltered areas, increase in quality of fish species which need to be cultured at depth, with improvement of fish health and decrease of mortality rate.

Despite the risk surrounding aquaculture in the unsheltered regions due to its environment, we proved that, by using SubCage, expanding production capabilities in such areas is feasible, commercially beneficial to farmers and can increase the market value of the fish species. So the company decided to apply for SME instrument, in order to verify (where Refamed could check,) the commercial viability of this new, improved product, through feasibility study

Do you think you will proceed with Phase II of SME instrument?

Yes, we think that with the help of the SME instrument in scaling up our prototype to a commercially acceptable fish cage, we would expect to contribute to an increase in fish price and additional increase in comparison with surface cages. In relation with competitor technologies, Refamed prices will be significantly (several times) lower. We estimate to achieve our ROI goal in approximately 3 years and this means great opportunities for Refa Med Srl growth and new jobs creation within the project timeframe (approximately 3 years).

Useful links
Refa Med
European Commission - SME Instrument
Enterprise Europe Network