According to Professor Erkko Autio from Imperial College London, 3–10 percent of the companies in each enterprise generation are responsible for 50–80 percent of the generation's total effect on the economy. Spotting these fast-growing gazelle companies is important in order to guarantee them an opportunity to become successful. In addition to providing direct business funding, Tekes accelerates growth companies with the Young Innovative Companies (YIC) funding, the Global Access Program (GAP) and the Growth Track service.
The funding for Young Innovative Companies targets these so-called gazelle companies. According to the estimation of the Evidence Network based in Canada, the YIC programme has produced at least a 99 million euros turnover for Finland. For example, Supercell – a game company, SkySQL – a database architect, Beneq – a thin film coating company, Onbone – the inventors of pliable wood cast, and Savo-Solar – a manufacturer of solar collectors have received funding for young innovative companies. On average, the turnover of young innovative companies funded by Tekes grew 150 percent annually.
"If, at the time, we had not received that Tekes loan of some hundred thousand euros and a million as YIC funding, our success wouldn't have been possible", Supercell's Managing Director Ilkka Paananen comments. By March 2013 Supercell has paid over 50 million euros in taxes to Finland or, already so far, a half of all public funding used for the funding of young innovative companies in 2008–2012.
From the viewpoint of Finland's competiveness, globalization of growth companies and increase in exports are critical. Global Access Program (GAP) in cooperation with Tekes and the UCLA Anderson School of Management will help Finnish SME companies to develop their international business expertise in the US markets. According to the Evidence Network, the GAP program has increased Finland's gross domestic product by 20.5 million euros. The costs of the program totalled 1.2 million euros.
For companies aiming at fast growth in international markets, the involved parties in the Team Finland network offer the Growth Track service. Through a single contact person, a Growth Pilot, Growth Track provides the best-suited public funding and expert services that are suitable for the company at the time. According to the mid-term evaluation of the Growth Track, the companies value the expertise of their Growth Pilot and feel they are receiving the information needed about the target country.
Tekes has mapped the growth companies funded by it into geographic application which places the companies on the map of Finland. All the growth companies that have received Tekes funding and companies that have been successful in various listings can be found in these map applications. The companies can be filtered into, for example, participants of YIC, GAP or Growth Track.
Finnish map of growth companies funded by Tekes (in Finnish)
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jussi.kajala (at) tekes.fi