Who we are


BusinessOulu implements its strategy for the advancement of business in Finland with project and program funding.

Finnish Business Hub

The Finnish Business Hubs are business centres established by BusinessOulu and the City of Oulu to build connections between northern Finland and the target country. The aim is to promote new business operations, especially in industrial production, the ICT sector and construction. The Finnish Business Hubs are also tasked with disseminating information about the labour market of the target areas.

Finnish Business Hubs serve in:

  • Astana (Kazakhstan)
  • Gällivare (Sweden)
  • Tromsø (Norway).

Read more about the Finnish Business Hubs


Digi-AEC project

The Digi-AEC project is for companies within the fields of architecture, technical design and construction. The aim of the project is to improve the efficiency of the entire value chain and to save costs in public procurement processes. Digi-AEC focuses on processes related to the design, acquisition, use and maintenance of construction and their management in the regions of Northern Finland, Sweden and Norway. The project will build regional clusters and promote Nordic co-operation between these clusters. The project have 15 cooperating municipalities in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Companies are welcome to participate in our Nordic cooperation.

More information: project manager Sanna Savolainen, sanna.l.savolainen(at), tel. +358 44 703 9760

Growth Investment Opportunities

The City of Oulu is putting more efforts into attracting private investments to the region. New private investments will create conditions for economic growth, which is needed to maintain and increase the purchasing power and employment.

The desirable investment can be, for example, a construction project, a production project, a product development unit, or a trade or logistics investment. In addition to the previous, also establishment of research or other knowledge-based investment, a public-private joint venture or other similar establishment in the Oulu region is within the project's investment objectives.

The Growth Investment Opportunities (GIO) project aims at supporting BusinessOulu´s strategy to significantly increase the incoming private investments into the Oulu area. The City of Oulu's goal is to attract EUR 300 million in private investments to the area each year. The project aims to cater for a part of the objective by creating short- and long-term conditions for private investments. The project will identify the most potential investment opportunities in the Oulu region, and implement target valuation and sales material that supports the sales and marketing efforts of the investment opportunities.

The selected investment opportunities will be productised and marketed under an investments subsite that will be constructed within the project under the BusinessOulu website (

The project will enhance regional cooperation in finding investment opportunities and productising them to attract investors. In the project, a tight co-operation model – an investment team – will be built that consists of BusinessOulu´s and City of Oulu´s Urban and Environmental Services in order to effectively support the realisation of investments. Also, the University of Oulu and other educational and research institutions have an important role within the cooperation model.

As a result, there will be an efficient operating model between BusinessOulu, Oulu Urban and Environmental Services as well as other city operatives and other partners in a way that ensures the implementation of investment opportunities in satisfactory way for all parties. In addition, the project results in a powerful sales and marketing channel for the investment opportunities in Oulu area. Through the new, realised investments, Oulu area will gain new domestic and international companies and investors that will boost an increase in the employment rate and economic growth of the Oulu area.

The GIO project will take into account so-called horizontal principles that are included in the European structural funds programs. Horizontal principles include matters related to gender equality, cultural equality and sustainable development. The project will emphasise the diversity of investments so that traditionally female dominated sectors and investments in them are emphasised in the investment selection process. The project will promote gender and cultural equality issues whenever possible. The project also aims to promote the use of renewable natural resources along with energy efficiency, as well as the use of the latest environmental know-how and green technology. The project will emphasise recycling and use of renewable materials.

International Sales Force

International Sales Force is a project that aims at increasing the number of international contacts, tenders and new deals for SMEs based in Northern Ostrobothnia. The project helps enterprises to find and open new sales channels on the international market, and open, activate and develop new processes for sales and international operations. Project activities help new companies to become more international, open and increase their international activity, deepen the collaboration of export-driven companies and utilise international networks. The International Sales Force (ISF) is also about international buyers and actors coming to Oulu and visiting local companies on export-related business visits. At the same time, the image of Oulu as an excellent business environment for export companies is strengthened.

Project measures:

  1. promoting export by participating in fairs, conferences, BtoB meetings, delegations, matchmaking etc.
  2. new business opportunities, such as market reports, seminars, welcoming foreign delegations.
  3. marketing and communicating about international export activities, such as missions for promoting export, export-promoting plans of companies and joint material.

The ISF project is financed by the Council of Oulu Region and BusinessOulu. The project implementation period is 6 June 2014–5 June 2017.

Additional information: Sanna Savolainen, Project Manager,, tel: 044 703 9760
Petri Karinen, International Programme Manager,, tel: 044 703 1360

StartUp 2.0 Accelerator Programme

The aim of the StartUp 2.0 Accelerator Programme is to provide an efficient, coached accelerator programme for post-startup companies in the region of Oulu. The companies participating in the programme will be selected on the basis of their applications. The chosen companies must have a strong ambition to grow and become international. The aim of the Accelerator Programme is to promote the growth and internationalisation of the companies.

The companies selected to the programme will benefit from the accelerator operations in a way which leads to improved business competences and finalised products for international markets and prepares the company employees for the rapid growth of the company.

B-to-B Accelerator Programme
B-to-B Accelerator Programme will accelerate the development of companies striving for international growth towards becoming a fast growing company eligible for equity investments. The B-to-B Programme is not tied to a particular sector but the most important selection criterion is the potential for scaling international business growth and its promotion.

B-to-C Accelerator Programme
B-to-C Accelerator Programme covers the gaming industry, in particular, but also other digital content and services directed specifically to the consumer.

Period of execution: 1 March 2015 – 28 February 2018

Budget: € 713.000,00 of which EU funding € 499.000,00

More information: Hannu Hiltunen, tel. 044 703 1394,

StartUp 2.0 Innovation Training

The aim of the StartUp 2.0 Innovation Training is to bring together ideas, experts and application areas in a way which generates new business operations and applications, possibilities and ideas. A training model will be developed during the project by utilising interfaces between different sectors, competences of the people available in the labour market and innovative training solutions.

During the project, innovative training modules will be organised by combining and bringing together existing needs and experts with the aim of creating more target-oriented, high quality training for the changing requirements of working life. The aim of the actions taken is to reinforce the interaction between working life and training by participation and innovative methods. In an integrated way the project will create new operating models and services with which the cooperation between the different actors in the innovation environment will be accelerated and the cooperation with the experts of the employment services improved. The actions taken in the project will promote the reinstatement of experienced professionals into working life, improve the innovation skills of the participants and advance the substance skills of the participants in fields other than their own traditional field of expertise.

The target groups for the project are, among others, experienced professionals who are unemployed or under threat of unemployment, startup companies in different innovation environments and, for the applicable parts, companies and other actors already operating in the innovation environment of the region.

Period of execution: 1 April 2015 – 31 December 2017

Budget: € 558.033,00 of which EU funding € 390.623,00

More information

Soile Jokinen
Senior Advisor, Innovation Services
Tel. +358 50 322 2974

VENTURE NOW – a project to support companies seeking further investments

The purpose of the VENTURE NOW project is to secure further financing for small and medium-sized companies in different industry sectors that are ambitiously seeking growth in order to access international markets. The target group of the project consists of companies in the Oulu region that have already received financing from private investors or VC funds but still need further financing for growth and internationalisation. The measures taken under the project include:

  1. Sparring with client companies for further financing negotiations, sparring sessions and events
  2. Benchmarking of VC investors and new financing instruments and sources
  3. Matchmaking for companies seeking further financing and investors providing venture capital investments
  4. Arranging local and international investor events

The VENTURE NOW project is financed by the Council of Oulu Region (EAKR) and BusinessOulu, and it is being carried out from October 1, 2014 to April 30, 2018.

More information: Martti Särkelä, Senior Advisor, Business Development and Financing, , tel. +358 40 500 4213


Aarne Kultalahti

Aarne Kultalahti

Head of Business Environment

+358 44 703 1239

Jarmo Lauronen

Jarmo Lauronen

Head of Business services

+358 44 703 1307

Mari Rautiainen

Mari Rautiainen

Senior Advisor, International Funding

+358 44 703 1370

Ari Saine

Ari Saine

Funding Specialist

+358 44 497 3117