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Opinion

It’s time to promote global solutions from Finnish regions

Finnish regions use internationalisation and differentiation to attract talent, jobs and investment, but they need to work on clarifying their key competences, writes Ding Ma, liaison manager at the Regional Council of South Karelia.

Credits: : Arttu Muukkonen

Finnish regions already use internationalisation and differentiation to attract talent, jobs and investment, but they need to work on clarifying their key competences, writes Ding Ma, liaison manager at the Regional Council of South Karelia.

Did you know that Finland is a sizeable country, indeed the fifth-largest by area (338 440 km2) in the European Union? However, its population density is low, and its declining birth rate and the urbanisation trend have challenged the development of its different regions. As a result, these regions have searched for vitality through internationalisation and differentiation.

Finland has always strived to be a bridge between the East and West. Internationalisation has been a tool for the country to create a good pool of talent, investment funds and workplaces. Pristine nature, work-life balance and safety are all desirable for international talent considering relocating to Finland. On the other hand, a stable political environment and government support for research, development and innovation are some of the arguments for global companies to invest and relocate here. But we must clarify our competences in order to stay attractive in the midst of fierce international competition. This means making strategic decisions regarding what to focus on at the regional level.

“Regions provide a test bed for piloting innovative solutions.”

One theme for differentiation is sustainability and green solutions. Finnish regions have developed many global solutions to challenges in energy, air, water and circular economy through strong co-operation between the public and private sector, research institutions and universities. By deepening our focus on our strengths, we can see competence clusters already established in different regions. For example, the energy cluster in Lappeenranta, bioscience in Turku, information technology in Oulu, robotics in Pori and imaging technology in Tampere, to name just a few. Many of these clusters are world class, making it easy for the region to attract top talent and companies.

Lappeenranta is the largest city in the South Karelia region. Image: GoSaimaa

There is a saying in Asia that “good wine needs no bush”, which roughly means that something of good quality doesn’t need to be advertised. But this might not apply here. Strong promotion of global solutions coming from Finnish regions wouldn’t be a bad idea. Especially as Finland’s regions are the key to a sustainable development process which will guide the citizens and government toward the national goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. Regions provide a test bed for piloting innovative solutions and educating the workforce on realising them.

We warmly welcome international talents, companies and investments to join forces and visit our regions in Finland.

Ding Ma
Liaison manager, Regional Council of South Karelia
05.10.2022