Health Capital Helsinki (HCH) has secured significant funding to drive the development of the life science and health technology sector.
The funding will be used to support the creation, growth and internationalisation of businesses within the sector. The total value of the funding, due to be allocated across two separate projects, stands at just over EUR 1 million. Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has made EUR 0.5 million available, while the Häme Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment will allocate EUR 200,000 for the projects.
The projects, which started in early 2017, will create a bespoke high level development programme for life science and health technology researchers and startups. They key aim is to provide opportunities for sector researchers, business owners and other key players to enhance their skills as they seek to generate commercial activity that is internationally competitive and capable of delivering growth.
“These projects are designed to enhance the commercial capabilities of life science and health technology researchers and startups, help sector businesses to establish international networks and to make them more attractive to capital investment,” says Pasi Sorvisto, Senior Business Advisor at Health Capital Helsinki.
The umbrella project comprises a Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment-funded mentoring process and the Spark Finland capabilities development project, jointly delivered by the ministry, Health Capital Helsinki and the University of Tampere. In the course of the project, international experts will deliver training to researchers and clinicians on how to commercially exploit their own concepts or ideas and to advance their product development and business capabilities. The project is modelled on several highly successful international business development programmes, including Stanford University’s SPARK process model.
In the second project, due to be run in Uusimaa with funding mainly provided by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, new businesses will benefit from sector-specific advice and guidance provided by a network of international experts and receive support for developing their business model and international networks. The project will comprise seminars and training sessions delivered in Finland as well as hands-on opportunities for developing practical experience in Germany and the United States.
Health technologies and life sciences are Finland’s leading high technology sector, which in recent years has continued to see sustained growth. In the Uusimaa region alone, health technologies, pharmaceuticals and life sciences employ a total of 12,000 staff, with a combined turnover of EUR 5.5 billion. However, the number of high growth businesses with an international dimension remains low in Finland. First rate business skills and market knowledge are needed if businesses are to remain competitive in today’s increasingly tough global marketplace.
“What we have set out to do is to establish the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and Finland as a whole, as the key hub for life sciences and health technologies in Northern Europe and to create new jobs and successful businesses throughout the country,” explains Marja-Leena Rinkineva, City of Helsinki’s Director of Economic Development. The new initiative is in line with the Finnish government’s key priorities for healthcare sector research and innovation.
Health Capital Helsinki (HCH) is a research, knowledge and business hub for the life science and health technology sector, jointly created by the City of Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Aalto University and HUS Helsinki University Hospital. HCH is based at the Helsinki Business Hub, a regional development agency for the Finnish capital region that enables foreign companies to establish their businesses and innovation-driven companies to grow and develop in the Helsinki region.