Updated: Apr 24, 2019
The aim of the report is to describe innovation support systems in four European countries: Finland, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom with special emphasis on the criteria used by different national innovation agencies to evaluate the innovation applications.
Business Finland strives for long-term systemic support for global market creation and scale-ups
Since Finland joined the EU in 1995 it has produced a set of valuable innovations what has led the country to rank as one of the top innovating countries in the world. The public support for innovation has played an important role in building up innovation capacities leading to these innovation outputs and socio-economic impacts. As a small open economy Finland has pretty much centralised its innovation support to SME’s with Business Finland giving out the bulk of the subsidies. For almost a decade, the focus of Business Finland’s activities has been on the creation of new ventures that have the right level of talent and ambition to grow and scale-up into international markets. For this very reason, this central player in the Finnish innovation ecosystem has both innovation and internationalisation support under one roof, a unique set-up as compared to most of its peer countries. The current approach the support agency takes is that it co-creates together with the entrepreneurial team a vision on the trajectory the firm is aiming at and the milestones to be reached. In the evaluation of the support applications lots of attention is paid to the strength and composition of the entrepreneurial team. In addition, attention is paid to the development stage of the firm as different support measures are needed based on the development stage. Services are increasingly tailor made and next to financial support (grants and increasingly loans) other support measures are key too. Support to SME’s in Finland has recently been updated with mission oriented approaches as vast amounts of the budget are now invested in so-called growth engines for the Finnish economy. In concrete terms, instead of paying money to single SME’s for their innovation activities, support is now redirected to the creation of new innovation ecosystems benefiting the network between multiple SME’s, big firms, RTO’s, financers, and public agencies.
Are you interested to learn more about Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom? Download the full report (PDF) here.