Company networks

Oulu innovation alliance

Oulu Innovation Alliance from oulucom on Vimeo.

Co-creating Arctic Opportunities

Oulu Innovation Alliance is the network of networks. Our five ecosystems – Agile Commercialization, OuluHealth, ICT & Digitalization, Industry 2026, and Northern City with Attractive Opportunities – are the pinnacle of Oulu’s know-how. We offer these platforms – our ecosystems – for you.

Oulu is, according to Nokia’s Rajeev Suri, “the world’s best place, second to none, for radio access engineering.” Additionally, Oulu is one of the youngest cities in Europe, with a high degree of education, meaning the city is teeming with innovative people eager to change the world.

Whether you are looking to invest in Oulu’s talent or you have an innovation to get out to the world – Oulu Innovation Alliance is there to help you achieve your goals.

Oulu is the 12-minute city of innovation. You can get pretty much anywhere in the city in 12 minutes, making maintaining an inspiring job and recreational hobbies a breeze – nothing quite like it to hold on to one’s productivity.

You can come to Oulu with an idea and leave with a finished product in hand – we have all the know-how you’ll ever need to productize, fund, test, and commercialize your innovation. You can digitalize everything in Oulu, and you don’t need to do it alone.

Oulu Innovation Alliance’s key partners are the City of Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Oulu University Hospital, The Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Technopolis Plc., and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. Our doors are open to those who wish to come co-create Arctic opportunities in Oulu.

It's never too late to become an oululainen!

More info (in Finnish)

OIA ecosystems 2016-2020

Oulu Innovation Alliance has updated its shared strategy and the focus of its five ecosystems. The main goals of Oulu Innovation Alliance are

  • to co-create Arctic opportunities together with you
  • international Oulu is Finland’s fastest growing city region and top notch location for new business

The five ecosystems have pinpointed their goals for the year 2025, all of which together will help fulfill OIA’s strategic vision.

Industry 2026 - The solutions for green business are born here
Headed by University of Oulu – Marko Mäkikyrö C, Pekka Tervonen DC

Industry 2026 ecosystem’s goal for 2025 is that Oulu is the world’s leading region in utilizing ICT and digitalization in resource efficient circular economy. This is achieved through high value-added bioeconomy products and services, a robust steel and mechanical engineering industry value chain, and by making Oulu a leader in energy and environment resource effectiveness.

OuluHealth - I am well and stay healthy here
Headed by Oulu University Hospital – Pasi Parkkila C, Salla Hirvonen DC

OuluHealth is a network of committed stakeholders who strive to transform healthcare on a global scale and, as a result, improve people’s lives. The ecosystem is working on ensuring that by 2025, Oulu has effective and efficient customer-oriented social and healthcare services, through which the Oulu region has succeeded in advancing individual-oriented health and wellbeing, and that Oulu has the world’s most intelligent university hospital.

OuluHealth ecosystem

Northern City with Attractive Opportunities - I want to live, study and work here
Headed by City of Oulu – Jari Tuovinen C, Olli Rantala DC

Northern City with Attractive Opportunities ecosystem aims to make Oulu the number one in reputation polls. The steps towards that include creating Finland’s most attractive R&D&I campuses, Linnanmaa and Kontinkangas; developing the city center so that Oulu city center is the heart of the city, and making Oulu the European Capital of Culture 2026.

Agile Commercialization - Business grows and jobs are born here
Headed by Oulu University of Applied Sciences – Jarmo Lauronen C, Sami Niemelä DC

Agile Commercialization ecosystem is the springboard to international growth for Oulu region’s companies. The ecosystem aims to profile the region as one where, by 2025, education is focused on entrepreneurship and business skills, sales excellence is the key factor of success and startups are supported by first-class development programs.

Agile Commercialization ecosystem in Oulu (Downloadable PDF in Materials below)

ICT & Digitalization - The most innovative solutions for a good life are born here
Headed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland – Jari-Pekka Rontu C, Heikki Ailisto DC

ICT & Digitalization is the ecosystem that boosts Oulu’s status as a world-class ICT center and is focused on building Oulu’s reputation as the home city of 5G and as the FinTech center of the future. The ecosystems goals for 2025 are to establish Oulu as a region that attracts and creates ICT specialists, cement the region’s status a 6G center renowned for its intelligent community that utilizes digitalization, and that the region is known globally for its IoT systems and data analytics excellence.

OIA Partners

Who we are

Executive Group

Päivi Laajala, City of Oulu, Mayor
Jouko Niinimäki, University of Oulu, Rector
Marko Lind, Technopolis Plc, Director of Oulu operations
Pasi Parkkila, Oulu University Hospital, Development Director
Tua Huomo, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Executive Vice President
Jouko Paaso, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Rector
Jarmo Paloniemi, Osekk, Managing Director and Principal
Mari Walls, Luke Natural Resources Institute Finland, President and CEO

In addition, expert representatives and ecosystem leaders are part of the executive group.


City of Oulu

City of Oulu has earned the brand Capital of Northern Scandinavia by growth and being an innovative and competitive business and research environment since decades. The Oulu Region has over 200,000 inhabitants and it is the fastest growing region in Finland. It is also one of the youngest cities in Europe – the average age of the population of Oulu is 36.6 years. In OIA, City of Oulu’s role is to implement business and innovation policy, including start-ups, growth, relocation, conferences, and operating environment development services.

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Natural Resources Institute Finland promotes bioeconomy and sustainable use of natural resources. Researchers and specialists working at Luke provide new solutions towards the sustainable development of the Finnish bioeconomy and the promotion of new bio-based businesses. Together with its partners Luke will build a society based on bioeconomy.

Oulu University of Applied Sciences

Oulu University of Applied Science, UAS, educates professionals for the needs of working life. The University has approximately 9,000 students and 800 staff. In OIA, Oulu University of Applied Sciences focuses on applying, transferring and developing professional expert knowledge.

Oulu University Hospital (OYS)

Oulu University Hospital is the northernmost of five university central hospitals in Finland. The hospital currently provides treatment for the people in the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and northern Finland in general. It also offers medical services to Scandinavia and other parts of the world. Oulu University Hospital is also used for teaching purposes by the Faculty of Medicine, the professors acting as senior physicians in their specialized clinical fields.

Technopolis Plc

Technopolis Plc is a listed real estate company that specializes in leasing space and providing services. It combines business support services with modern, flexible, multi-user business environments. There are approximately 26,000 people and almost 1,400 companies and organizations in Technopolis premises in Finland, Russia, Estonia and Lithuania. In OIA Technopolis Plc operates environments and services for companies and organizations.

The Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education (Osekk)

The Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education (Osekk), responds to the competence needs of students and work life in Northern Finland. Osekk provides education services rooted in practical work life, anticipating the challenges of the future. The core principle of education activities is to serve the region's business community by providing a competent and trained labour force. Osekk continuously anticipates changes taking place in the business world, and its course selection is designed according to the region's needs.

University of Oulu

The University of Oulu is an international science university. Founded in 1958, the University’s research and education community is 16,000 students and 3,000 employees strong, and one of the biggest and the most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. In OIA, University of Oulu promotes free international level research and education, development and maintenance of research infrastructures, and develops utilization paths of research results.


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the biggest multitechnological applied research organization in Northern Europe. VTT provides high-end technology solutions and innovation services. In OIA VTT produces new ideas, technology and innovations, develops new applications and knowledge for business, and infrastructure that support research and business activities.


OIA offers versatile services for investors, students companies, and researchers. Whether you have an innovation idea you want to develop, you need help with your startup or you are looking for investors, we may be able to help you. Whether your idea relates to industry, health, business, ICT, or city development - please contact us. We’d be happy to help!


OIA creates connections between business expertise and top research and organizes R&D&I (Research & Development & Innovation) projects. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a research idea or you already have a project you would like to implement! Through us you will have fast access to the right research partners for your company.

When we do R&D&I projects, we help companies to apply financing using national and international financial instruments as well as contacting investors. Even though OIA is located in Oulu we also cooperate with research organizations globally – what matters most is the best possible knowhow.

Key services:

  • Doing research projects together
  • Finding research partners
  • Help in getting financing


OIA organizes R&D&I (Research & Development & Innovation) projects and through us you will have fast access to the right development partners for your company. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have an idea or you already have a project you would like to implement!

When we do R&D&I projects, we help companies to apply financing using national and international financial instruments as well as contacting investors.

In the Living Lab concept companies and organizations can test products and services in an authentic environment with real users. In Oulu there are 500 people ready to test anything from service concepts to applications. Product testing in a real healthcare environment is also possible.

Key services:

  • Doing development projects together
  • Finding development partners
  • Help in getting financing
  • Living labs
  • Pilot Factory for Printed Intelligence

Innovation activities

OIA can help you to find the right business contacts in Oulu. When we do R&D&I projects, we also help companies to apply financing using national and international financial instruments as well as contacting investors.
Business Kitchen is the universities’ entrepreneurship hub: both a space and a community located in the city center of Oulu.
Key services

  • Finding business partners
  • Help in getting financing
  • Start-up services


We are always interested in cooperation with students. Send us your ideas or a project plan and we will be in touch! We are interested in thesis cooperation in the following fields:

  • Cleantech, environment, and energy
  • Health technology and health services
  • Business, leadership, commercialization and economics
  • ICT & Digitalization, FinTech
  • City planning, development, tourism attraction factors


Oulu plays host to tens of international congresses and countless organizational meetings and events. You can find Oulu’s, including OIA’s, events from congress calendar.



Contact Us
If you have an idea or a venture you’d like to discuss, please contact us!

Oulu Innovation Alliance
C/O BusinessOulu
P.O. Box 54, FI-90015 Oulun kaupunki, Finland

OIA Communications
Jaakko Ahlstén
Communications Coordinator
Tel. +358 40 701 4231

Ecosystem directors

ICT & Digitalization
Heikki Ailisto
Research professor, VTT
Tel. +358 40 555 0726

Industry 2026
Pekka Tervonen
Research professor, Docent, University of Oulu
Tel. +358 40 673 9519

Agile Commercialization
Sami Niemelä
Principal lecturer, Oamk
Tel. +358 50 317 4713

Salla Hirvonen
Network Manager, OuluHealth
Tel. +358 40 726 1842

Northern City with Attractive Opportunities
Olli Rantala
Head of Planning - Education & Culture, City of Oulu
Tel. +358 44 703 7559


OIA presentations

English, Finnish

OIA Logos


Agile Commercialization brochure



Oulu Innovation Alliance

Oulu European Capital of Innovation application video

Jaakko Ahlstén

Jaakko Ahlstén

Communications Coordinator, OIA ecosystems

+358 40 701 4231

Arto Maaninen

Arto Maaninen

Chair, operative steering group, Vice Rector - Cooperation, University of Oulu

+358 29 448 4084