Regional innovations and experimentations

Launching regional innovations and experimentations (AIKO) was one of the regional development measures initiated by the Government of Prime Minister Sipilä. The aim was to ensure Finland’s competitiveness, promote growth and use resources and expertise available in different parts of the country. Regional business structures were strengthened by improving operating environments and the ability of the regions to adopt new operating models.

 Launching regional innovations and experimentations (AIKO) involved three tools:

1) measures for anticipated structural change (ERM),
2) growth agreements between the state and selected cities, and
3) establishing nationally important growth zones.

A total of EUR 30 million was available for the measures between 2016 and 2018 (about EUR 10 million each year). About one half of the appropriation was allocated to implementing the agreements and the rest to ERM measures. In 2016, EUR 9.0 million of AIKO funds were distributed. Regional shares are indicated in the Annex below.

Management of anticipated structural change means active renewal of business approaches. Regions are encouraged to specialise and introduce pilot projects based on their own strengths.  Renewal of business operations, growth, internationalisation and pilot projects promoting employment and entrepreneurship play a central role in this process.

The aim of the growth agreements was to promote growth and competitiveness of enterprises by focusing on a small number of strategic key projects. In 2016, agreements were concluded with cities submitting the best proposals. The growth agreement concluded with the Helsinki Region was part of the metropolitan policy.

Developing growth zones was a new tool for regional development. The aim of the growth zones was to expand business activities, improve labour mobility and make commuting across municipal boundaries easier. The state concluded strategic agreements with two growth zones with the aim of developing the zones.

Further information: jarmo.palm(at)