I have now spent nearly five years in my post as Espoo’s Economic and Business Development Director. In that time, our operating environment has undergone significant, wide-ranging chage. Currently, around 30% of higher education graduates consider self-employment as their most likely career path, when just five years ago the same figure was as low as 5%. Small businesses are expected to be significant employment generators in the future. Social media has become the most potent communications and marketing channel available, and new business opportunities are being created in these interfaces. For a business to operate internationally is no longer the preserve of the few – it is now the rule, not the exception. Savvy business people are making full use of the benefits offered by digitisation, as they generate new, customer-driven services.
The Espoo and wider Finnish economy received a new and unexpected boost when the Espoo Innovation Garden-based entertainment media company Rovio’s Angry Birds flew out into the world – and most recently to a cinema near you. In its coverage of the story, Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat rightly noted that, with the film, Rovio has established itself as a world-class studio. The film might not have been made in Finland but it is precisely that unique brand of fearlessness and innovative thinking so typical of Finland and Espoo that paved the way for this new style of project, generating new growth opportunities for Finland, and Rovio’s native city, along the way.
It’s hard to think of a better birthday present for an Otaniemi alumna than the news that all of Aalto University’s core functions are due to be centralised at the Otaniemi campus.
The university’s business school Bachelor programme re-located to Otaniemi in the autumn of 2015, while the School of Arts, Design and Architecture is due to follow in 2018. As part of this new announcement, it has been confirmed that the Business School’s Töölö-based functions, along with all teaching staff, researchers and students will also move to a new, purpose-built facility in Otaniemi.