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Opinion

Startup, oldup, let’s rock!

When exploring the world of startup ideas and growth, turning your gaze to the Finnish chemical industry, may put a smile on your face.

When exploring the world of startup ideas and growth, turning your gaze to the Finnish chemical industry, where new business often springs up alongside the old, may put a smile on your face.

Within just a decade, Neste’s renewable diesel has grown from zero into a 2.5-billion-euro business. St1 uses the capital it receives from its fossil fuel business to develop geothermal heat and bioethanol, while Bayer’s pharmaceutical expertise based on polymer technology continuously brings new investments to Finland. These oldups create jobs and also provide smaller businesses with a chance to grow.

Businesses requiring major capital on a large scale don’t just spring up in a garage. They require not only a brilliant idea and courage, but also patient money, comprehensive expertise, networks, smooth infrastructure and a stable environment.

In the chemical industry, operations are often focused on business parks, which link together many operators. Kilpilahti in Porvoo features the Nordics’ biggest centre for oil refinement and the chemical industry, and Kokkola houses Northern Europe’s largest concentration of inorganic chemistry operators. The most recent arrival is the Smart Chemistry Park in Raisio, the chemical and cleantech business park that recently celebrated its first anniversary. What all of these have in common is the idea of an attractive area and co-operation between companies, their near-by surroundings, schools and universities.

Finland is a small country with a low hierarchy where innovative network-like operations are gaining further ground. In the future, this will open up new possibilities for us to succeed – both startups and oldups that, together, will make this country rock out again.

Susanna Aaltonen
Director, public affairs, The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland
02.06.2016