Boosting SMEs in North Karelia

Companies across Eastern Finland have introduced and sustained sound business planning practices, helping many SMEs to better plan for the future and adapt to structural change in good time.

Additional tools

The Karelian Business Booster helps SMEs draw up project plans and apply for funding. The Karelian Business Booster helps SMEs draw up project plans and apply for funding.

The Karelian Business Booster (KBB) programme has acted as a “development partner” for SMEs active in the forestry, metals and plastic sectors. KBB was also crucial for preparing, implementing and monitoring strategy-driven development programmes, tailored to each business it was involved with.

Confidential, regular and systematic contact

Specifically, the KBB programme developed an operating model that was used for collaborating with businesses and their interest groups. This model was based on having confidential, regular and systematic contact with all the companies involved. Each company also learned how to have a solid development strategy in place and was encouraged to introduce an annual planning process; both as a recurring feature and as a management tool.

Once the strategy was defined for the SME in question, the team then devised a development programme in order to define, prioritise, and budget actual implementation. Company-specific project plans were drawn up for each development project and potential funding applications prepared and submitted.

Regional cooperation network

A regional cooperation network enabled investment and development measures to be put in place. Meanwhile, sub-regional development agencies were crucial for providing knowledge of local companies and of business life in general.

The KBB was such a success that its operating model for developing businesses will be used to assist a nationwide network of Finnish science parks and technology centres.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Karelian Business Booster growth programme” is EUR 1 445 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 420 000 through the Eastern Finland Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date