Illustration: AOR Architects

One of Europe's biggest growth company campuses planned next to the Maria 01 startup cluster

A new Growth Company Campus of international significance with more than 4,000 job opportunities and 50,000 square metres is being planned next to the successful Maria 01 startup cluster in the former Maria hospital area. The City of Helsinki used an open search procedure to find a developer and realiser. Out of the seven contenders, the consortium led by YIT and Keva and comprising several companies, such as Slush, Industryhack, Accenture and MaaS Global, will be proposed for the task.

The objective of the search for a developer and realiser was to find a bold, visionary and ambitious idea and concept. The aim was to choose the realisers in the preparation phase of the local detailed plan, in order to be able to plan the area according to the idea.

In addition to their own special expertise, YIT and Keva bring 23 partner companies to the project, which produce innovative services and solutions needed by the Growth Company Campus, bring managerial skills and growth company expertise to the project and develop the functional concept of the project and the architecture that expresses it. The consortium comprises, among others, the growth company event Slush, Industryhack, which develops the co-operation between big business and growth companies in the area, consulting and technology services firm Accenture and MaaS Global, which develops sustainable mobility services.

The objective of the cluster, which, at 70,000 square metres, will become one of Europe's biggest growth company campuses, is to bring together startups that develop their ideas, growth companies, anchor companies, investors looking for potential stars of the future, accelerators and representatives of research and development activities. The campus will be composed of the existing former hospital area and buildings to be constructed in the southern part of the area. According to a preliminary estimate, more than 50,000 square metres of new premises can be constructed in the southern part. In addition to this, Maria 01 in the northern part of the area will expand from its current 13,000 square metres to 19,000 square metres.

There are currently around 130 operators and 800 jobs in the area. When the expansion plan is realised, the aim is to attract about 650 new operators and at least 4,000 new jobs to the area.

First extension to open in 2021 according to plan

The development reservation of the Maria area will be processed by the Urban Environment Committee on Tuesday 6 November 2018. According to the preliminary schedule, the Economic Development sub-committee of the City Board will make a decision on the matter at its meeting on 19 November 2018.

The intention is to work out a local detailed plan proposal for the area as partnership planning in co-operation between the City and the consortium. A goal is that when the project proceeds, the area with its new and current operators forms an integrated entity.

According to the plan, a draft of the local detailed plan will be completed in 2019, the expansion of the campus will start in 2020 and the first part will open in 2021.

Helsinki strives for world-class startup city position

Helsinki wants to be one of the world's most attractive cities for growth company activities. According to Mayor Jan Vapaavuori, the Maria Growth Company Campus holds a strategic position when it comes to this objective.

"Helsinki's attractiveness in the startup sector has grown and according to Startup Genome's recent study, our ecosystem is already a world leader in local connectedness and the most ambitious in its class. We are doing everything to ensure that Helsinki is among the world's best places for startup and growth company activities and, at the same time, an attractive competence cluster for companies and experts alike. The expanding and strengthening Maria Growth Company Campus is an essential improvement in this work", says Vapaavuori.

The revamped area will be increasingly interwoven with the other surroundings and the city centre will become a denser job concentration.

"Helsinki's goal is to add to the creation of a living inner city, where people live, work, enjoy themselves and create new things – and where unexpected meeting occur as well. The development of the Maria Growth Company Campus caters to these objectives of the living inner city in the best possible way", says Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki.

"The project is an excellent implementation of our vision of more life in sustainable cities. Our concept is a continuation to the urban structure and offers an entirely new kind of flexibility in considering the rapidly changing needs of startups when it comes to premises and service", says Juha Kostiainen, Executive Vice President, Urban Development at YIT Corporation.
To Keva, the project is much more than just a real estate investment.

"Our international venture capital partners see Finland as an interesting target area", says Keva CEO Timo Kietäväinen.

As a long-term investor, Keva wants to play a part in improving the operating conditions for startups and growth companies.

"At the same time, we support Helsinki's vitality and consequently Keva's main task, the funding of pensions, in the long term", emphasises Kietäväinen.

Growth Company Campus a new strength for Helsinki's and entire Finland's startup sector

The new Growth Company Campus is a significant boost and attraction for Helsinki's startup ecosystem and, at the same time, for the entire country. It is not just a premises project, but a new way of facilitating co-operation between companies and growth and improving the local connectedness of Helsinki's startup ecosystem, which is already at the top level in the world.

"It is great to be part of the project, which continues with the systematic development of Helsinki's startup ecosystem. I believe that Maria will be a place where people come up with solutions to the most important challenges of our time", notes Slush CEO Andreas Saari.

More information

Growth Company Campus Maria project pages