Oulu – Europe’s Sillicon Valley?
Oulu stands out in Finland and Scandinavia by being a highly competitive start-up area where it is believed that the start up scene will bring even more jobs than were lost by the recession.
Known as the capital of Northern Scandinavia, Oulu has set to become a highly entrepreneurial and globally competitive city which will create thousands of jobs and engage in international exports.
Juha Ala-Mursula, director of BusinessOulu recently commented that Oulu has always been a relatively entrepreneurial area as many companies were set up here in the mid 1980’s. Things slowed down a bit afterwards but in 2007 they began to pick back up. A major contributor to this has been Nokia which brought many highly talented staff into the area. People are now starting to play around with ideas that have been brewing for a while and as a result, there are already 200 foreign companies in Oulu.
BusinessOulu was set up in order to provide help for developing companies and implement industrial policies in conformity with the city’s regulations. It is also working to attract more investment into the area.
From a global perspective, Oulu is particularly important due to its main strengths:
- – mobile communications engineering and manufacturing
- – health and welfare technology
- – cleantech
- – mining technology
- – and bio-industry.
Oulu has the youngest demographic in Europe and the fact that the city is relatively small means that people know one another and are able to nurture working relationships. In 2012, Oulu was ranked the seventh most intelligent city in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum. Juha Ala-Mursula points out that it may be that the city has got it all: an incredibly culturally diverse population, the second busiest airport in Finland, the biggest university in the region and on top of this, it is also a popular tourist destination.
Although getting here has been a long process, it seems to be well worth it. Approximately 2.5 times more inventions originate from Oulu than from the Helsinki Metropolitan area and there is a considerably higher level of entrepreneurship. Carrying on like this means Oulu can become the Sillicon Valley of Europe.
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