Lack of courage cases corporate bottleneck

Companies do not grow because they are afraid of taking risks. The reason for avoiding risks has been brought about by the difficult financial situation, weaker market outlook and lack of resources. Tekes' Innovation Bottlenecks survey explains why companies invest less and less in innovation activities.

"Renewal requires investments, and if you fail to invest, you are left behind. The survey finds a number of understandable factors that slow down growth. However, we do not learn why Finnish companies are more cautious that they international competitors,” says Director Hannu Kemppainen at a Growth event organised by Tekes.

The problems of first entering and then making your mark in international markets were seen as factors inhibiting growth. Relaxing corporate taxation would help. Companies should make better use of public funding to boldly renew their business. Currently companies are focusing on smaller-scale innovation activities.

"We are exporting the wrong set: we should be exporting services, not goods. And the way to make businesses hungrier is to provide better incentives. Finland does not look favourably on people getting rich and on the accumulation of capital, so taking risks is simply not tempting enough,” Nordea's Chief Economist Aki Kangasharju.

"Structural change applies to all sectors. The export of goods and services has been unnecessarily juxtaposed. Sixty per cent of the sale of industrial services takes place in the target country, so it does not increase exports,” says Jorma Turunen of the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, and proposes, among other things, that research development funding should be increased to retain the competitiveness of the education system.

"At Oilon, we invest six per cent of our turnover to product development. Our basic products and services should sell well in order for us to grow, because you cannot manage with innovation growth alone. Competitiveness should be clearly higher,” says Eero Pekkola of Oilon.

Do Finns settle for second-best?

Mr Kemppainen was talking at the Growth event about interviews with international managers, according to which Finnish managers are not ambitious enough.  “Low spirits undermine high potential” is something Mr Kemppainen has heard foreign experts give as their first impression of Finland. However, there is great potential for success.

Something a headhunter said is a sign of this low spirit. Finns do apply for high-profile international positions but are rarely chosen, because they give the impression of not really wanting the job. There's just no passion,” says Hovi Care's Managing Director Leila-Mari Ryynänen.

Company management must have a desire to grow

According to the survey, growth is boosted by a growth plan and a company's desire to expand. Company owners, the board of directors and management can boost growth by having a common goal. You should find a common spirit and set ambitious targets. There should always be some new ideas in the pipeline.

To carry out Innovation Bottlenecks survey, Tekes' strategic partners interviewed medium-sized international growth companies, conducted a further analysis of growth company survey by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and made corporate surveys.

Further information

Hannu Kemppainen
tel. +358 50 5577 818

Miia Linnusmaa
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