Pekka Soini: Onwards and upwards


Everyone agrees that we need to find ways of growing the Finnish economy. This means identifying new practices and engaging in deep restructuring. At Tekes we have laid down a set of reforms which will promote business growth and create new jobs.

The result will be a twofold rise in exports by SMEs by 2020. When exports rise, new jobs will be created. This will help us to turn Finland around and take good care of each other and our surroundings.

We propose giving enterprises more freedom to be enterprising. Let's cut through the needless red-tape which is tying the hands of companies that want to renew themselves, and create room for new kinds of business models.

We also need to change our attitudes towards failure. Finland's bankruptcy legislation should be changed so that entrepreneurs do not lose everything and are left with at least a roof over their heads. And we should encourage entrepreneurs who have gone bust to try again based on an attitude of 'onwards and upwards'.

Taxation should also incentivise people to become entrepreneurs. For example, capital investments should not be at a disadvantage compared to other forms of investment.

Let's make public-sector purchases serve Finnish companies. We should target 10 percent of public investments at innovative companies by shaping tendering exercises to support innovation. This would mean making EUR 3.5 billion worth of purchases from innovative companies. Oulu has even gone a step further – the city aims to target 20 percent of its orders at innovative purchases in 2016.

We need to become faster in reaping the benefits of digitalisation. Let's make faster use of digitalisation in the renewal of our industrial base, in health care and in creating new businesses.

Business subsidies should be focused on growth and renewal. Funding, such as Tekes' innovation funding, which is aimed at promoting renewal should help companies to genuinely improve their competitiveness. Such support should not be used to keep outdated business activities on life support.

Companies need public funding in order to share the risks associated with innovations. Enterprises are using Tekes funding to develop new solutions for the energy sector, waste disposal, environmental protection, urbanisation and mobile services. Health technology will be a source of fresh innovations in healthcare and the promotion of preventative healthcare.

Pekka Soini
Director General of Tekes

Miia Linnusmaa
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