Lahti research goes green
Innovation and investment in environmental technologies, particularly recy¬cling, energy efficiency, water management and soil decontamination are the focus of Lahti’s Cleantech Cluster, located in southern Finland. Cleantech Cluster has transformed Lahti. Once lagging behind in research, it is now host to Finland’s leading environmental technology centre.
"Cleantech Cluster is practically indispensable for the companies operating in environmental issues in the region. Many of these companies are small and their chances of getting involved in projects with big companies are so much better with the cluster."
Eero Pekkola, Managing Director of Oilon Oy
EU investment of €1.5 million in this project provided the necessary catalyst to promote innovation and develop environmental technologies. Overall, 170 new jobs were created, 20 new cleantech companies set up and the project attracted more than €30 million in total investment.
Bringing pilot projects to global markets
The Lahti Cleantech Cluster helps small and medium-sized businesses access a rapidly expanding cleantech market, with growth per year estimated at 5-15%. The cluster provides services which make it easier for its 200 participating businesses to network and branch out into the international market.
The cluster is also seen as a gateway for foreign companies wishing to find partners in Finland. These companies set up networks with smaller Finnish companies, thereby expanding their own businesses and opening up Finnish companies to international markets.
The cluster is made up of four centres providing expertise on Finland’s cleantech sector: Lahti, Kuopio, Oulu and Helsinki. These centres specialise each in a specific cleantech domain, promoting growth in the associated businesses. The centres cover around 60% of Finland’s cleantech business and as much as 80% of its cleantech research.
Leading the way
The Lahti Science and Business Park which coordinates the cluster has become the leading environmental technology centre in Finland. Between 2005 and 2007, some 20 cleantech companies and organisations relocated to the region. The business development and relocation services of the park have attracted investment worth more than €30 million and some 170 new jobs to the region.
The Lahti Cleantech Cluster has also developed strong partnerships with environmental technology clusters and science parks, higher education institutions, venture capital organisations, the Finnish trade organisation, and the ministry of employment and the economy. The cluster is actively supported by national cluster programmes and the Finnish government.