Finnish innovation cluster analyses its success

June 27, 2002

Brussels, 26 June 2002

The region of northern Europe with the largest concentration of technology-related businesses, technical research, science and education - the Helsinki region of Finland - has produced an analysis of what makes it such an innovative area.

Having been given the Award of excellence for innovative regions in 2000 and having been nominated as one of the top 10 'hot regions' in the world by Business week magazine, it is clear that the Otaniemi region which is located in the Helsinki region, is doing something right. In a publication brought out earlier this year by the Otaniemi science park, a number of elements were highlighted in the creation of an experienced incubator networking model, which has helped hundreds of companies transform ideas into commercial ventures.

One of the main elements is that there is a good supply of skills. The Helsinki region accounts for about a quarter of the population of Finland, and included among these are the 13,000 students at the Helsinki University of technology, the 3,000 scientists at the VTT (technical research centre of Finland) and several other research institutes, both public and private.

Experience has also helped Otaniemi produce a good model for innovation. It began operations in start-up support and the generation of new firms along with neighbouring universities and research institutes in 1986. International experience was drawn on and funding came from many private sources to help. The region's experience in the high tech sector goes back at least 50 years.

The innovation network cluster in Otaniemi offers input from all the main sources necessary to get a company started in an innovative manner. But more than this, it does it more quickly and ensures that companies are supported once they are started. Research institutes play a major part at the beginning of the firm, with incubators becoming more important in stabilising it. Business generators then play a role in its expansion, which should then lead to a commercially successful firm.

One of the services involved in this process is 'InnoTULI', which evaluates 100 possibly commercially viable research results every year. 'Spinno', another service, helps in the creation of new innovative high tech companies, which average around 50 a year.

'In the following firm stabilisation and expansion phase, the incubator Otaniemi science park, Spinno development programme, Innopoli business generator and Mentor programme operate as a link between scientific knowledge and business, forming one of the most extensive commercial science park centres in the Europe,' says the analysis report. The science park also holds the largest number of high tech companies in Finland.

Maintaining contacts following the set up of businesses is also a part of the process. Otaniemi science park and the Innopoli service between them maintain contact with more than 400 SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) in the region. In addition, the incubation division operates within the 18 members of the Finnish science park association.

As well as offering infrastructure, there are also funding opportunities, as there are representatives of 30 national or international funds and 10 venture capital fund firms in the region.

For further information, please contact:
Pertti Vuorela
Otaniemi science park
Tekniikantie 21
02150 Espoo
Finland
Tel: +358 9251715
Fax:+358 94553117
E-mail: Pertti.Vuorela@innopoli.fi
http://www.otech.fi

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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