Region of Thousands of Opportunities

The education and business sector of the diverse Pohjois-Savo smartly specialise in their natural strengths and the innovative sectors of the future.

When you land at Kuopio Airport in Pohjois-Savo, you will see the highly developing city of Kuopio, in the midst of dense forests, lakes, fields and hills. The homes, schools, shops and services of the capital of region are located in the vibrant centre, in safe residential areas close to the city centre, as well as in rural areas.

The locals whimsically call the Kuopio Market Square the centre of the world. This is partly true. The Market Square is a meeting place for the talkative urban residents, international scientists and artists, influencers of the cultural and entertainment world, and business experts, as well as Finnish and foreign tourists and students from different parts of the world.

Kuopio is surrounded by 18 other municipalities in Pohjois-Savo. The region's strengths are the diverse and multidisciplinary education, corporate and business life. It offers study, research, as well as work and development opportunities for Finnish and international employees, while also providing a potential home location for companies.

– The various fields and levels of education here invest in enabling students to meet the needs of the region's business sector. For example, the University of Eastern Finland has top-level expertise in well-being technology and health care, which supports existing and new business, says Heikki Sirviö, Regional Development Manager of the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo.

The history of business life lays the foundation for future sectors

The strengths of Pohjois-Savo are based on mechanical and energy technology, forest industry and food production. Here is where they manufacture the world's best-ranked Ponsse forest machines and the loudspeakers of Genelec valued by the music industry, as well as Andritz Warkaus Works' most demanding pressure-resistant components for industrial soda liquor boilers and power boilers.

The region is one of Finland's largest dairy and berry producers. In 2020, it was selected as the tastiest region in Europe, when Kuopio region was the first in Finland to be awarded the European Region of Gastronomy title. 

– The emerging sectors of Pohjois-Savo are well-being technology, tourism, water-related processes and biorefining, adds Sirviö.

The location of Tahko's popular ski and tourism centre in the centre of Finland is excellent for more sustainable nature tourism experiences in the future. Innovative companies that develop water-related processes are already creating new technologies for managing the globally vital element. Biorefining develops biogases and circular fertilisers for the needs of more environmentally friendly and profitable production based on renewable resources.  

Smart specialisation drives the future

The objective of Pohjois-Savo is to strengthen the renewal capacity of industries and to promote the growth and internationalisation of companies.

– Themes identified jointly by companies, municipalities, developers and research and education organisations are developed in the region, says Janna Merenniemi, Regional Development Expert.

The Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo’s strategy for smart specialisation is an innovation policy of European regions, which, for its part, sets the direction for common objectives. Funding is directed to joint focus areas in the region. These include clean technologies and low-carbon solutions, the industrial circular economy and digitalisation, as well as innovative technologies and production process.  In addition, the focus is on developing cluster activities, i.e. strong, shared sectors in the region.

– In the future, one question is whether small companies are willing to take on larger, international challenges and able to find skilled workforce in the region as digitalisation and automation increase, Sirviö summarises.

Photo: Wille Markkanen