Our partners

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Small Business Center (Xamk SBC) is an education- and research institute for the development of the entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education. We carry out regional-, national- and international assignments for the regional development. We offer opportunities for multiform networking, finding cooperation channels, testing new ideas, developing the company or an idea and creating new business.
The Small Business Center has been executing its wide-ranging mission of entrepreneurship and regional development for 40 years. Our offices located in Mikkeli and Espoo.
Xamk has campuses in Mikkeli, Kouvola, Savonlinna and Kotka.

Field of expertise
Wide-range services and expertise for the regional- and entrepreneurship development incl.:
- entrepreneurship education
- supporting digitalisation and commercialisation of innovations
- product-/services development
- management- and leadership training
- supporting internationalisation
- research services on entrepreneurship and regional development
- implementing of the RIS3


South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Small Business Center
Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu, Pienyrityskeskus
Patteristonkatu 3 D
50101 Mikkeli, Finland

Jari Karjalainen, RDI expert
E-mail: jari.karjalainen(at)xamk.fi
Anne Gustafsson-Pesonen
E-mail: anne.gustafsson-pesonen(at)xamk.fi

Information about the RIS3 of the partner region:
Regional level document: Smart Specialisation Strategy 2018-2021
Legal owner: The Regional Council of South Savo
Web: https://esavo.fi/smart-specialisation

The Smart Specialisation Strategy for South Savo has been updated for the years 2018-2021. The focus of specialisation for the coming years will be Wood, Water and Food, specifically Forest biomass based new products and production processes, Clean water and environmental safety technologies and Organic products and food safety innovations. Other subsections of the RIS3 include: sustainable bioeconomy, tourism, growth and internationalisation, well-being of people, the environment. South Savo's Smart Specialisation Stategy 2018-2021 can be read from the link below. Please also check Smart Specialisation Platform (link below) for list of contact names regarding research, development and innovation stakeholders in our region: https://esavo.fi/smart-specialisation Smart Specialisation Platform S3 

Key challenges for innovation policy

Major issues for the Region of South Savo in the context of innovation policy include:
• Disengagement of older and younger people from the workforce, particularly in rural areas
• Sparsely populated and long distances between business and employment opportunities
• Low levels of entrepreneurship, and lack of capacity for innovation amongst entrepreneurs and SMEs: scarcity of people with diverse skills, know-how, technological expertise
• Step out from the current competition to new areas of high profile products/services
• Problems with commercialisation and exploitation of entrepreneurial business ideas
• Lack of flexibility and adaptability in the provision of vocational education and training
• Small scale bottlenecks on the international transport networks.

The main objectives of the RIS3 

Smart specialisation is the response to the wishes of the European Commission and the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy to name the regions competitive fields of research and innovation. It will be the basis for directing development funding to the region and creating international partnerships. The objective of smart specialisation is to utilise the region’s competence potential.
Right now, Europe is facing numerous challenges which arises from lack of appropriate skill-base, high unit labour costs, deindustrialization, decarbonization, globalization, aging population and many more. These challenges do not scatter evenly across the regions. Basically, this means that some of the regions will benefit and some will suffer from this current situation.
East and North Finland is formed by seven regions - South Savo, Pohjois-Savo, North Karelia, Kainuu, Central Ostrobothnia, Oulu region and Lapland. Together the regions of East and North Finland sent the Expression of Interest to participate in European Commission's pilot Regions in Industrial Transition and was accepted as one participant region among 11 other regions and countries. During this pilot East and North Finland aims to form a unified strategy, based on smart specialisation strategies and shared strenghts and needs of the seven regions that make the East and North Finland. This process of strategy planning includes mutual learning and sharing of good practices in innovation policy implementation, governance and monitoring.

During this process aim is to:
•   Define a set of actions in the form of a comprehensive strategy build on smart specialization, clusters and digitalization
•   Identify possible collaboration and funding opportunities at European, national and regional level
•   Link with other regions in regional and cluster partnerships
•   Share good practices
You can learn more about Regions in Industrial Transition through the link below:


The sources of the financing the activities specified in the RIS3 documents are as follows:
1. CCI 2014 FI 116M20P001 ”Kestävää kasvua ja työtä 2014-2020” – Finland’s EU ERDF-programme. The European Unions’ ERDF and ESR financing share for South Savo for the years 2014-2020 is 101.2 million EUR
Responsible ministry for the ERDF funding: the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
2. “The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014-2020“. The European Unions‘ Rural Development funding for the years 2014-2020 is 108,5 million EUR
Responsible ministry for the Rural Development funding: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
3. National budget
4. Municipality budget
5. Private sector (e.g. firm, associations).

Information about the RIS3 monitoring of the partner region

South Savo Regional Council monitors 165 indicators as a part of the foresight process and the data is available for the public (www.esavoennakoi.fi).
The South Savo Regional Council also monitors official indicators and other impacts from the European Regional Development Funded projects aimed towards Smart Specialisation Themes.
There are also regular encounters with relevant interest groups and stakeholders that provide feedback (local municipalities, R&D and HEI representatives, local commerce- and business representatives, as well as, change agents such Business Finland).