Boost for well-being companies in North Karelia

The eastern Finnish region of North Karelia has invested in health and well-being services in the area by helping to develop companies operating in the sector. Existing companies and organisations offering well-being services received a welcomed boost thanks to this EU-funded project, which also saw new companies being created in the region.

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Today, well-being services are part of a rapidly growing business sector, and competition with national and international companies is increasing. With an ageing population and the challenge of offering quality services in the sector, North Karelia helped local companies develop their activities in the field. Wishing to gain a stronger position on the market and to develop their activities, 90 companies participated in the growth project “HYRRÄ”. The project focused on social and health care services, the management of everyday life (providing help at home), free-time services, well-being at work, well-being tourism and the production of related equipment.

Well-being services need the private sector

The aim of the project was to increase the presence of private companies in the field with a long-term perspective. Companies operating in the health and well-being sector, traditionally a more public-sector managed field, now have an opportunity to improve their business strategies, try new business models and network.

Those involved had a chance to benefit from training sessions, improve their marketing activities, participate in networking events and increase their cooperation with public organisations. They were assisted in finding suitable projects to support their activities and this helped them to gain a stronger position in the market while at the same time answering to a growing need for quality well-being services in the region.

More jobs for the region, increased profits for companies

By the end of the project in 2011, 90 companies had participated in the “HYRRA” growth scheme and 18 new companies had been created. 96 new jobs were created during the project period. The project also aimed at helping companies increase their turnover by 20 % indirectly. The increase in the turnover of the companies involved turned out to be 29 %, and in companies operating in health and social affairs 26 %.

The “HYRRÄ” project achieved its objective of increasing companies’ entrepreneurial competence in the long term by providing them with tools to developing their businesses, investment and adopting new business models. One of the key results was the improved competitiveness of businesses in the region. Another key objective was to increase the public-private cooperation in the well-being field. A concrete result of this was the creation of a service voucher for the well-being sector, valid in all different municipalities of the region.

“HYRRÄ” project manager Minna Koskimies said: “Thanks to the project, about a third of the companies involved have introduced new business models in their activities. On a larger scale, the entire region saw the well-being sector develop, because as many as 90 companies participated in the scheme.”

Total and EU funding

Total investment for the project  “HYRRÄ – Growth Programme for Well-being Enterprises in North Karelia” is EUR 774 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 249 900 through the “Eastern Finland” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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