A growth recipe for Finland

Blog post
Antti Vasara

There is no reason for the endless gloom in recent economic discussions, says economist Heikki Pursiainen. I agree, which is why we invited Heikki and other experts in economics and business to discuss Finland's growth recipe. How can we together turn the economy towards growth and what must we avoid messing up? What could a fully possible Finland look like?

The technologies and skills already exist, and that's why an unprecedentedly productive, growing, and sustainable Finland is entirely possible – potentially within the next decade. A turn for the better is underway, but it needs to be backed up by concrete reforms.

We are a small country, and we will not succeed in every sector. Finland should select which technologies it considers strategically important. Finland should choose strategically important technologies in which it invests significantly and thus encourage companies to multiply their investments in employment and actions in Finland. In certain areas – such as energy, biomaterials and food innovations, semiconductors, wireless networks and dual use products – we have deep long-term know-how and realistic opportunities to become world leaders.

As Pia Santavirta from Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment Ltd) highlights, the growth of Finnish companies often stops when they reach the phase of international scaling. This is especially true when talking about innovations that would require industrial investments and building of factories. Such projects require many times more capital than digital startups. That is why we need new, bigger growth funds to invest in international scaling. How could significant new funds be generated? In addition to Tesi, pension insurance companies could take a role in supporting growth and increase their investments in Finland. Foundations could also play a bigger role than before. This should be supported by tax incentives. Furthermore, we should attract more investments from major corporations – in Finland, they are way below the European average.

We must focus on our opportunities and invest in ensuring that the best initiatives gain momentum and find the funding and talent needed for growth. At VTT, we do our best to ensure that the opportunities for growth turn into reality over the next 10 years. We hope that decision-makers, funding providers and businesses would continue to have courage and far-sightedness to invest in the opportunities of sustainable growth and exponential hope. 

The time has come to play all our trump cards right. By investing in Finland’s technological strengths, we can grow into a globally significant developer of sustainable solutions with a competitive economy.
If we play our cards right, the strongest companies and competencies we have will be global winners by 2035, building prosperity around them, both in Finland and on a global scale.

Vision paper: A fully possible Finland

Antti Vasara
Antti Vasara
Our vision beyond 2030

We commit ourselves to focus all our energy and expertise on those technological challenges where we can make the biggest possible impact.