Development Programme for Technology Industry in North Karelia 2011–2015 supports businesses in Finland

A strategy outlining how sectors and companies in the technology industry can be reformed to increase competitiveness through innovation, productivity, and expertise has been met with enthusiasm from local businesses in the North Karelia region of Finland.

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" Thanks to new products and service models in enterprises and the opening of new market areas, our industry in North Karelia is now more competitive in global markets. "

Jarno Turunen, project coordinator

So far, 265 enterprises are involved in the programme and 417 projects have been started, including new strategies, development projects, investments, new service models and products, and the exploration of new market areas. Overall, investments and development projects amounting to EUR 65 million have been implemented.

Building competence through education and best practices

In order to shift from product and manufacturing-technology oriented thinking towards new service- and value-chain thinking in the metals and plastics industries, the development programme focuses on three main themes:

  • the development of value networks,
  • product and method development, and
  • expertise and leadership and innovation activities.

The new model of development thinking is included in a range of educational activities, such as training for operators in the region, and the provision of continuing education and operational programmes. Businesses are assisted and supported for example in the preparation of project plans and funding applications, in the long-term and strategic development of the company, assessment of product ideas, product and method development and the establishing of contacts and networks. Furthermore, companies in the productive sector are encouraged to put forward product development ideas, assess their market potential, further develop their products, reassess their pricing and improve sales.

EU funds support implementation of the programme

The Development Programme for Technology Industry in North Karelia 2011-2015 is implemented through two EU-funded projects. The Reform of the Productive Sector in North Karelia programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, concentrates on the strategic development of businesses, while the European Social Fund-supported Competence for the Reforming Business Activities project focuses on product development and innovation.

The project has a target of generating 200 new jobs by the end of 2015.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Development Programme for Technology Industry in North Karelia” is EUR 65 000 000 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 1 565 000 through priority axis 2 “Promotion of innovation activity and networking, and reinforcing knowledge structures” of the “Eastern Finland” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The project also received EUR 1 329 000 support from the European Social Fund (ESF) in the 2007-2013 programming period.

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