Developing world-class business and innovation ecosystems - Business Tampere
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    The development of world-class business and innovation ecosystems and the strengthening of networks are critical success factors for a more attractive city region that draws investment, companies and competence. The development of the business ecosystem is an effective operating model, and its measures have already been initiated. This involves enabling encounters, where, alongside digital solutions, it is essential to enable face-to-face meetings, networking and sometimes surprising encounters. Bringing together businesses, talent and ecosystem stakeholders and promoting matchmaking will support the development of ecosystems and, at the same time, improve service experience. Key considerations for the functioning of ecosystems are, in particular, ensuring access to highly skilled workers and channelling new intellectual capital into the region. Ecosystems must be open and capable of integrating new kind of competence into platforms and networks, also in order to attract international startups and to engage international professionals graduating from the Tampere university community into the local business life.

    Promoting cooperation between small and larger companies is part of the ecosystem activities and enables the development of new innovative products and services. It also provides small businesses with a path of growth and internationalisation with the support of cooperation with engines of enterprise. The following sections describe some of the vibrant business ecosystems in the city region.

    Connectivity

    High-quality wireless and wired communications are essential for all digital applications, knowledge management, various data analytics applications and AI-enabled solutions. Telecommunications networks serve as a central platform for the smart city and enable the development of new services.

    The aim of the connectivity ecosystem is to speed up the development of new services by providing businesses and research institutes with open communication solutions and test platforms that partly make use of the existing infrastructure of the city. This will improve companies’ ability to develop new products and services that are globally scalable on a network basis. Platforms increase the attractiveness of the Tampere region for high technology companies at national and international level. Platforms can also be used for co-creation of the City of Tampere and companies and for EU research projects, for example.

    Platforms help stimulate new innovations, such as autonomous driving, intelligent lighting control and various IoT solutions in the urban environment.

    Safety and security

    The safety and security expertise in the Tampere city region is extensive and multisectoral. The safety and security expertise can be divided into ten areas (see Figure 14). There are more than 220 identified stakeholders in the business ecosystem.

    Figure 14. Reference framework for overall security.
    Figure 14. Reference framework for overall security.

    The theme of safety and security is one of the intersecting themes of the City of Tampere’s Smart Tampere ecosystem programme[1]. The Tampere Region Safety and Security Cluster, which has been active since 2011, promotes cooperation between safety and security stakeholders in the region[2].

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    [1] https://smarttampere.fi

    [2] https://sites.tuni.fi/turvallisuusklusteri/

    Film Tampere

    Tampere has a strong history of audiovisual productions, influenced by TV2’s activities in the region. Changes in viewing habits and platforms have changed and internationalised the structures of the sector on a permanent basis.

    Tampere is becoming a major European production city, a place for making international films, drama, large entertainment productions and productions that meet domestic demand.

    Film Tampere supports the growth of the net sales of the region’s stakeholders through development measures, draws in productions and networks the region’s entrepreneurs with the productions. Tampere’s production incentive provides tenfold return on investment.

    Imaging

    Tampere has one of the world’s most attractive and comprehensive imaging technology ecosystems, based and centred on mobile imaging solutions. A significant share of the foreign direct investment in the Tampere region in recent years has been related to imaging.

    The ecosystem is made up of companies providing equipment, software, components and testing as well as research and training actors, and thus provides a full subcontracting and product development chain for different types of companies. The imaging ecosystem is also a very dynamic network, which meets regularly facilitated by Business Tampere and attracts significant global interest.

    Climate business

    Climate business refers to a business ecosystem that is built by companies that produce solutions in cleantech, circular economy, renewable energy and sustainable materials. There are several hundred such companies in the Tampere region, so this is also a major business hub in international comparison.

    The focus of the Tampere region ecosystem is especially on the circular economy concentrations of Nokia’s ECO3, the Taraste area on the border between Kangasala and Tampere as well as Tampere’s new urban development site at Hiedanranta. The self-sustaining energy community LEMENE located in the Marjamäki industrial area of Lempäälä is also an important regional development site.

    Automotive industry

    Over the past decade, the automotive industry has faced the most significant revolution in its existence, with electrification, autonomy, shareability and connectivity of the car as new technology solutions forcing manufacturers to partly reinvent their product and operating model.

    There are dozens of growing companies in the Tampere region that have developed internationally competitive solutions in these product areas. The companies are actively meeting for ecosystem events and export promotion activities hosted by Business Tampere. The ecosystem has received direct international investment and its network meetings have had global participation.

    Education and expertise

    Finland’s strong school system and technology-enabled learning service solutions provide excellent conditions for a competitive export ecosystem. Tampere’s Education Tampere ecosystem is an education export entity facilitated by Business Tampere that seeks global partnerships, promotes the export of service providers and thus increases turnover. In addition, the ecosystem enables business co-creation at local level between educational institutes, businesses and municipalities, which strengthens the competitiveness of the entire region in the sector.

    Mobility

    Tampere is one of the leading cities in Europe in the development of intelligent transport services. The city is of suitable size for testing transport products and services, but at the same time compact enough for agile and flexible decision-making and effective cooperation between the public and private sectors. The use of open data, digitality, artificial intelligence and automation in transport is only just beginning, and new mobility services and technologies are being developed at an accelerating pace.

    ITS Factory is an active network for innovation, testing and development of intelligent transport in Tampere. The network is the engine of the intelligent transport ecosystem. The aim of the network is to provide business-oriented solutions for smooth, sustainable and safe transport. It now has more than 70 members, and its partners include the ITS Finland network and the relevant governmental stakeholders. The main theme is the creation of a public transport system based on a light rail system, including autonomous electrical feeder services and the deployment of mobility as a service (MaaS).

    AI and analytics

    The aim is to create an AI ecosystem and to develop it systematically and over time. The AI ecosystem will promote the renewal and growth of businesses in the region by increasing awareness of the benefits of data collection, analytics and artificial intelligence. The ecosystem will strengthen Tampere’s attractiveness as an AI knowledge hub. Another aim is to support the city in utilising artificial intelligence and analytics to support design and decision-making and to optimise operational efficiency. A third aim is to help the city identify and develop functions, connect businesses and create new business opportunities.

    Startup ecosystem

    The startup activities develop new innovative business and develop business models for the business ecosystems. They are visible across sectors and create new products and services that are scalable in principle and targeted at international markets. Service paths supporting entrepreneurship, university research and the need for renewal of established enterprises contribute to the emergence of startups as spin-offs or as new enterprises. Startups also play an important role in attracting public funding and private equity investment to the region.

    Platform 6, a concentration of startups and related services and communities, is the leading edge of the ecosystem, which is used to develop activities and strengthen networks in close cooperation with various actors.

    Other ecosystems

    Health technology

    The Tampere region has a unique combination of research, business and services related to health technology and health services. The city region has strong expertise in research, product development and innovation that combines medicine, biotechnology, bioinformation and technology. The rapidly growing Kauppi campus holds Tampere University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology as well as Tampere University Hospital. The campus also contains high-level research units and specialised hospitals. A growing number of companies developing life science and health technology products operate on the campus. In addition, Tampere University’s Hervanta campus features the university’s technology hub and a concentration of high-tech companies that operate directly or indirectly in health technology value chains. Business Tampere strengthens the ecosystem by marketing this entity and its individual companies to potential international partners, by opening dialogue between investors and companies and by promoting business investments in the region.

    Experience economy

    Storytelling is central to all business activities, and there is a lot of storytelling expertise in the city region. Developing gaming, cinema and TV industries, together with a strong offering of experiences and events, build an attractive environment for residents and tourists in the Tampere city region. This supports profitable business and its renewal, and attracts talent.

    European Capital of Culture application

    Tampere’s application for European Capital of Culture (ECOC) is reflected in all aspects of the economic strategy of the Tampere city region. The ECOC application is a key element in promoting business. It produces positive images of the operating environment and builds the area’s attraction and retention power and a high quality of life, attracting top professionals of various industries to the area.

    The experiences arising from culture have a direct effect on the business of companies by improving business experience, innovation and renewal capacity and by increasing competitiveness and added value.

    The strategy for tourism in the region is addressed separately in the Tampere City Region Tourism Strategy, which Visit Tampere has developed in cooperation with tourism companies and other stakeholders. It will guide operations until 2025.

    Gaming industry

    The Tampere city region is Finland’s second-biggest hub of game development. Around 30 game developers operate in the region, and many of them are important players in their field. In summer 2019, gaming companies established an association in Tampere. The development of the gaming business is also being promoted by, for example, supporting incubation activities. The leading Finnish gaming research centre operates in Tampere as part of the university community. The key to the development of the gaming ecosystem is ensuring the availability of talent and the competence of gaming business models in particular.

    The field of business ecosystems as a whole changes and evolves as new areas of expertise and companies emerge.

    Aviation

    A significant aviation ecosystem has developed in the Tampere city region, including private training providers and technology developers, universities, an airport operator and many other stakeholders. Finland’s leading aviation experts have established an internationally unique partnership network with the aim of developing export products related to aviation, transport and their management and thus making Finland the leading country in aviation training. Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences are launching the country’s first export project for higher education in the aviation sector, in which paid education is offered to students from outside Finland and Europe. The package also constitutes one of the top areas of Business Tampere’s education export measures.

    The development of ecosystems must be an objective at global level, and the importance of networks must be high.

    Creating scalable solutions together, but also protecting intellectual property. Quick trials, openness in networking, protection of solutions in internationalisation and public-private partnerships in ecosystems are the operational models.

    Availability and long-term nature of national funding, in particular Business Finland funding. Help in the protection of intellectual property rights must also be taken into account.

    Business-to-school collaboration, especially in professional training, to meet future needs

    Establishing a Creative Business Tampere entity that brings together expertise across different sectors and takes care of the development of the business conditions in the context of the ECOC application. This will continue to enable the promotion of the ECOC project entity of AR/VR, gaming industry and digital platforms as a part of the Creative Business Tampere package.

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