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Blog 25.06.2019

Making sense of the Business Ecosystem

In business, all too often trendy buzzwords are used to explain revenue models, business culture, or philosophies. When they become widely used, they often lack meaning or substance and become confusing. One such phenomenon is the use of the term Business Ecosystem, to which the public sector has recently taken a liking. For example, the new Government wants to see new billion-euro-business ecosystems take root in Finland.
Author
Robin Tiivola

Project Coordinator
Business Finland

At Business Finland, we've tried to figure out how we understand Business Ecosystems. Rather than treating it as an academic exercise, we have sought to improve our understanding on what a Business Ecosystem means for our service offering. The questions are why and how we boost Business Ecosystems to create successful business.

What?

We began by defining what a Business Ecosystem is. Taking inspiration from early scholarly definitions, we concluded that a business ecosystem is a joint value network aiming for international success. This definition highlights a team effort with common goals. Ecosystem "members" (membership doesn't need to be fixed) need to find solutions to common problems. Also, our definition emphasizes the objective of value creation and the fact that an ecosystem needs to be more than the sum of its parts. Finally, our vision is that Finnish know-how is exported to international markets, and that new markets and business models are created with Finnish expertise in the center.

Why?

The world is changing and needs disruptive technologies and new business models to tackle the challenges we face. These are, among others, climate change and demographic change. The global megatrends mean huge business opportunities, and we believe collaboration is the key. By forming ecosystems, companies have big potential for innovation and growth.

How?

So, now that we've got our definition and purpose, the question remains how we intend to make it work. Sometimes, I come across articles that state that the public sector is supposedly "building" new ecosystems. The way I see it, Business Finland should act as an enabler or supporter of ecosystems, not a builder or centerpiece in the puzzle. Ultimately, the innovation comes from companies, research institutes, and universities.

The "how" comes from our service proposal. By supporting companies in matchmaking, internationalization, and funding, Business Finland wants to make new business ecosystems possible. We help our clients in networking, both nationally and internationally. We connect Finnish companies to potential buyers and partners and provide funding for innovative co-operative projects. This way, we push our clients to become key players in global markets. Ecosystems are co-operative value networks, and we try to make them possible.

Read more about Business Finland´s services for ecosystems