Blog: The Joensuu region is bigger than its size – the role of Joensuu Science Park Ltd
When it comes to an operating environment that is favourable to business growth, we must discuss the factors that make growth possible in closer detail. The operating environment may include factors that promote the growth of any company in an equal manner, such as generous financing opportunities, abundant and high-quality development support services, and a generally positive approach to business activities. In a more limited scale, sector- or business-specific factors supporting growth may include the availability of suitable employees, the availability of competence required for development, the accessibility of markets, suitable logistical connections and different cooperation environments. Even though shortcomings related to any of the factors described above do not necessarily prevent the growth and development of companies, they may still render it slower and more challenging. Furthermore, shortcomings may lead to companies relocating their operations to regions better located with a view to their operational growth and development.
The Joensuu region and North Karelia can be considered areas that have both significant strengths and shortcomings as operating environments for growing and developing companies. The main reason for this is probably the fact that we are a very small area with limited resources, particularly in international comparison. We just must accept the fact that we are not capable of providing all the elements of a good operating environment companies need for their growth on our own, or at least their provision is not of sufficiently high quality. How could we solve this problem? The answer is: by building cooperation networks which can be used for complementing and strengthening the operating environment. This way the operating environment elements that exist in and are linked to the area create similar opportunities for growth as substantially larger regions. In other words, the Joensuu region and North Karelia can offer a similar operating environment of growth and development for companies as regions bigger in size.
Joensuu Science Park Ltd makes its own contribution to building up the Joensuu region and the whole North Karelia into an operating environment that is favourable to business growth and development. Even though we have plenty of high-level competence and natural strengths, we also have a lot of weaknesses. Eliminating them would be practically impossible without a professional operator such as Joensuu Science Park Ltd focused on the task. For example, the specialisation of research and educational institutions has led to these institutions losing natural connections to many fields of competence, such as various areas of technological expertise. It would require a lot more space to draw up a complete list of all the ways in which Joensuu Science Park Ltd is building up a favourable operating environment than a blog article like this allows, so, in the following, I just have to be content with giving a few examples:
- The photonics sector is suffering particularly from lack of clean space employees in a global scale. In collaboration with educational organisations in the region, Joensuu Science Park Ltd will launch a training programme for educating such employees.
- In Southeast Asia, wood-based products are in a particularly high demand. Joensuu Science Park Ltd organises market intelligence education related to the area, arranges sales and exhibition visits to the area, and provides assistance itself or helps companies contact the correct expert organisations, if necessary.
- Global changes, such as the Industry 4.0 development, do not pass by the companies in North Karelia either. In collaboration with Josek Oy, Joensuu Science Park Ltd has organised trips to Germany for people to see what such development has meant there.
- There are many excellent market areas in the world. For Finnish companies Northern Sweden and Northern Norway could be such areas. Joensuu Science Park Ltd organises market intelligence events and sales visits to the area.
- Access to start-up financing is one of the biggest problems faced by start-ups. Together with the City of Joensuu and angel investors, Joensuu Science Park Ltd has been involved in the preparation of a joint start-up fund. In addition, through incubator activities, we will ensure that the fund will have plenty of good targets to finance.
- Furthermore, Joensuu Science Park Ltd arranges many kinds of seminars and events, demonstrating the opportunities new technologies and research data could offer to companies. We also provide versatile assistance in the planning and implementation of business growth and development. We are also actively building up an international cooperation network that would make it easier for companies to find international cooperation partners, to receive global market intelligence and to acquire competence located elsewhere to support their own development.
By building our operations upon our strengths and eliminating weaknesses by means of cooperation and networks, we can offer companies an operating environment that really is bigger than its size.
The Joensuu region and North Karelia are involved in the increasingly fierce competition over labour and location of companies. In the long run, we will not be able to succeed in this competition if we rely on our own strengths alone. By building our operations upon our strengths and eliminating weaknesses by means of cooperation and networks, we can offer companies an operating environment that really is bigger than its size. Joensuu Science Park Ltd or other similar professional organisations play a key role in such an entity.