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Release 18.12.2020

Three new leading ecosystems launched – research, development and innovation operations in Finland clearly strengthened

Business Finland has granted a total of EUR 60 million for three new ecosystem projects managed by leading companies. In exchange for the funding from Business Finland, the leading companies have committed to increasing their research, development and innovation (RDI) operations in Finland by several hundred million euros combined, and to create hundreds of new RDI jobs by 2024. The leading companies launching the new projects are ABB, KONE and Sandvik.

Business Finland's funding for leading companies aims to make the companies significantly increase their research, development and innovation operations in Finland and create ecosystems aiming for new business worth billions of euros.

At the beginning of this year, Business Finland launched a challenge competition for leading companies where the companies were requested to submit project proposals to boost RDI operations and to resolve significant future challenges. Large-scale enterprises eagerly accepted the challenge, and 25 project proposals from a variety of industries were received. The competition was tough and funding could not be provided to several excellent proposals, but Business Finland was able to grant funding totaling EUR 60 million to three projects by four companies in the summer of 2020. The first winners were three projects by the leading companies Neste, Fortum, Metsä Group and Nokia.

The first projects have gotten off to a good start, and the leading companies have been able to attract other parties to cooperate with them in the ecosystems. The joint projects by companies and research organizations gained further boost from partnership funding piloted by Business Finland which was targeted to the RDI projects of the leading companies that won the challenge competition.

Large projects would not be realized without Business Finland's competition

The Finnish Government, too, was convinced by the potential for boosting business ecosystems by means of competitions arranged for leading companies, and in the supplementary budget, Business Finland was granted another EUR 60 million of funding authorization to continue with the competition. With this further authorization, Business Finland is able to fund three more projects, which were selected from among the best proposals previously submitted to the competition.

"We set the bar very high; major changes can only be achieved with significant investments. Our duty is to assist Finnish companies in continuously improving their competitiveness, which is even more necessary due to the redistribution of the markets after the COVID-19 crisis," says Teija Lahti-Nuuttila, Executive Director at Business Finland.

"Wide-ranging total impact can be achieved by combining three elements: the RDI projects for which Business Finland provides the EUR 60 million of funding, the companies' commitment in further RDI investments and activation of the RDI operations in the ecosystem created by the companies," Lahti-Nuuttila continues.

A prerequisite for receiving the funding from Business Finland is achieving the agreed targets in all sectors.

The new projects by leading companies kicked off

ABB – platforms for optimal electricity production and consumption in carbon neutral society

Finland's target is to become carbon neutral by 2035. To achieve this, Finnish society must clearly increase carbon-neutral electrification and improve energy efficiency. In addition, electricity must replace other forms of energy. Electricity systems are becoming increasingly important to the functioning of society, which increases the reliability requirements of the systems.

The aim of ABB's Green Electrification 2035 program is to develop new integrated technology platforms for optimal electricity generation and use. The platforms combine modern 5G communications technology, data management, new electrical engineering solutions and power grid technology. In the future, an increasing number of physical devices will be replaced by digital solutions that communicate with each other in a cyber-secure way. The resulting system can react quickly to changed conditions, while minimizing energy loss and malfunctions.

The program will deliver in cooperation with its ecosystem partners controllable and safe overall solutions that optimise system-level energy efficiency and reliability. These solutions are scalable, meet the growing demand for energy efficiency, and encourage platform ecosystem participants to become more competitive and grow internationally.

Click here to read ABB's press release

KONE – sustainable solutions to support better people flow in urban environments

The target of KONE's new research and development project is to create sustainable solutions to support smooth and safe movement of people in urban environments. The project focuses on the ecological, social and financial challenges introduced by urbanisation, and the new technologies developed by the project will enable the creation of new solutions, services and business models. Furthermore, the project aims to create new jobs and export revenue in Finland, both during the project period and as a result of commercialization of the solutions. This requires multidisciplinary research and the development of new innovations with the ecosystem partners.

With the project, KONE and its ecosystem network will boost research, development and innovation operations in Finland. Investments in innovation support the competitiveness of Finnish research institutes and research in general, and provide new opportunities for start-ups. In addition, KONE's solutions support the target of the Finnish Government – making Finland carbon neutral by 2035. Finland's efficient industrial and research ecosystems offer an excellent foundation for the achievement of these targets.

Click here to read KONE's press release.

Sandvik – globally competitive electric and digital solutions for heavy machinery

Sandvik is a a global leader in equipment, tools, service and technical solutions for the mining and construction industries. Digitalization and electrification are quickly changing the industries and opening up new business opportunities. To ensure future competitiveness, Sandvik invests heavily in new technologies and technology solutions. Sandvik's project aims at globally competitive electric and digital solutions for heavy machinery. Integration of machinery and systems enables system-level optimization of customer processes. Future connectivity solutions are one of the key enablers of such system-level optimisation. Sandvik is developing the solutions together with an extensive ecosystem partner network as a part of the project.

Additional information

Business Finland
Esa Panula-Ontto
Director for Funding
esa.panula-ontto (at)
+358 50 5577 853

Satu Perälampi
SVP, Head of Communications, ABB Oy
satu.peralampi (at)
+358 50 332 3850

Rauno Hatakka
Head of Technology Management, KONE Corporation
rauno.hatakka (at)
+358 40 861 7617

Jani Vilenius
Director Research and Technology Development, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology
jani.vilenius (at)
+358 40 152 7460

According to the definition by Business Finland, a leading company is a leading company of its industry operating on the global market that is willing and able to activate the business ecosystem on the global market to develop visible competitive edge and boost exports.

In its challenge competition in early 2020, Business Finland challenged leading international companies to solve significant future challenges and to increase their research, development and innovation (RDI) investments in Finland. Business Finland committed to providing the winners of the competition funding totaling at EUR 60 million. Three projects from four leading companies – Neste, Fortum, Metsä Group and Nokia – were selected as the first winners of the competition in the summer of 2020.

The most recent three leading projects – by ABB, KONE and Sandvik – were selected when Business Finland received authorisation for additional funding of EUR 60 million in the supplementary budget to continue with the competition for leading companies. Read more

Business Finland is a Finnish public-sector operator which offers innovation funding and internationalisation services and promotes tourism and investments in Finland. The organisation employs 750 specialists in about 40 global locations and 16 offices in Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network.