Minister Rehn: Development of Team Finland activities to start with updating growth programmes
Team Finland growth programmes are an instrument under the Government Programme that supports the growth and internationalisation of Finnish companies. A mid-term evaluation of the growth programmes was published on 30 September 2016 as part of implementing the Government’s plan for analysis, assessment and research.
– Companies have levelled criticism at the changes that have taken place in export promotion efforts in recent years. I have taken this criticism on board, and a reform of Team Finland activities has been launched to deliver a better service for companies aiming for international markets. Decisions on the next step towards focusing the efforts of business internationalisation and exports will be taken during the autumn. These decisions will also be guided by international examples, including Enterprise Ireland, says Olli Rehn, Minister of Economic Affairs.
– The reform will start with Team Finland growth programmes. According to the published evaluation, customer companies are mainly happy with the programmes. However, the time has come to hone this tool into perfection, Minister Rehn continues.
Growth programme activities that have sometimes been experienced as fragmented will be dropped and some of the programmes will be amalgamated in line with the Government's strategic priorities. In the future, the growth programme package will comprise six areas that correspond with the Government Programme objectives. These will be: 1) Arctic business, 2) bioeconomy and cleantech, 3) digitalisation, 4) the health sector, 5) tourism, and 6) cross-cutting themes, including creative and multidisciplinary sectors. Some of these include the particular perspective of foreign investments.
In addition, the reform will link Tekes innovation programmes with Team Finland growth programmes where appropriate. A smooth passage to international markets through growth programmes will be offered to companies that have been granted Tekes funding. A company that already is on its way to internationalisation can avail of Tekes programmes if a need for further development of its products or services comes up.
The effectiveness of the growth programmes will also be improved by finding a party that is a natural choice for leading the programme in a certain sector to assume overall responsibility. For example, responsibility for leading the mining sector growth programme was transferred to the Geological Survey of Finland. The education export programme will also be developed in cooperation with actors in this sector.
The development of Team Finland services has close links with the forthcoming regional government reform.
– We will lower the threshold for using the offer of services, especially for growth-oriented SMEs, and reinforce business services in the regions. Each region will have its own Team Finland coordinator, who will operate close to SMEs and serve as their sparring partner from the early stage of internationalisation on, explains Minister Rehn.
Jannika Ranta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7165
Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä, Industrial Counsellor, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7036