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Release 16.02.2024

New leading companies: Kempower, Patria, Valio and Wärtsilä

Business Finland has made positive funding decisions for four companies, which commit to significantly increase their own and their partners' research, development and innovation (RDI) investments in Finland. The companies that won the challenge competition for leading companies (Veturi in Finnish) are drivers of change in their own industries, i.e. in the electrification of traffic, defense technology, food system renewal and energy production.

Business Finland has granted development funding of 10 million euros each to Kempower´s, Patria´s and Valio´s projects and has prepared to fund 20 million euros for partner companies and research partners related to each project. Wärtsilä´s project is funded with 20 million euros and its partners can be funded with a total of 50 million euros.

"Now we have got completely new industries to our leading companies´ portfolio. All the new leading companies represent industries that are undergoing a big change. These decisions will help Finnish organizations in international competition," says Product Manager Karin Wikman from Business Finland.

Kempower's Heavy Electric Traffic Ecosystem accelerates the electrification of heavy traffic

The goal of the Heavy Electric Traffic Ecosystem program is to develop charging technology suitable for truck traffic and the software platform that supports it, and to develop a testing platform for charging infrastructure. The program also studies future charging models and effects of heavy traffic charging infrastructure on electric grids.

"The electrification of trucks and long-distance heavy traffic is only just starting. The market is still missing scalable charging infrastructure for heavy traffic, such as electric trucks. The growth in the number of electric trucks requires a charging infrastructure that meets practical needs, and the development of the ecosystem is essential," says CEO Tomi Ristimäki from Kempower.

Kempower will start R&D projects in all areas of the program, including charging technologies, digital solutions and platforms, customer applications and future charging. Kempower's goal is to grow the ecosystem of heavy electric traffic, in which Kempower, as a leading company, is seeking for more than 60 partner companies to join. Kempower's heavy traffic program includes more than 10 domestic co-innovation projects and projects funded by European Union research funding.

The changing security environment, digitalisation as well as threats and opportunities created by a digitalised environment underline the need to incorporate disruptive methods for safety. At the same time, there is a need to create real solutions for sustainability and green transition even for the most challenging environments.

Kempower press release

The first leading company´s project in the defense industry, Patria´s eALLIANCE, will build a unique cooperation between civilian and defense sector companies

The eALLIANCE leading company project led by Patria and co-financed by Business Finland will amplify the cooperation between Finnish civilian and defense sector companies. The aim is to develop disruptive digital capabilities for enhanced data sharing and prosessing as well as building a holistic metaverse.

"The ecosystem's mission is to integrate technologies across civil, security and defense technologies in order to build secure societies. In addition, an important goal is to improve the opportunities for Finnish companies to enter the international defense technology market and to strengthen their opportunities for export," says Pekka Ruutu, the head of the Portfolio unit responsible for Patria's products and services and their product development.

Patria will build the project together with more than 30 partner companies and other collaborators. The ecosystem enables both large companies and SMEs to cooperate in the development of innovative defense and dual-use applications. eALLIANCE will increase the combined R&D investments of Patria and the partner companies by up to 200 million euros during the project's lifetime. During the project, Patria will significantly increase its product development investments, which increase by almost 100 million euros.

Patria press release

Valio – Food 2.0 – the first leading company in the food industry

Valio is the first company in the food industry that Business Finland has chosen as a leading company. The goal of Valio's Food 2.0 research, development and innovation project is to create a food system in Finland where growth and added value are built on the basis of sustainable production. Valio's role is to initiate and lead wide-ranging cooperation and research and development projects with its current and new partners.

The goal of Valio and the partner network is to invest a total of 100 million euros in research and development over five years, and to increase exports linked to the food system by more than one billion euros.

"It is important that we reform the food system with all the actors involved, because that is the only way to make change happen. The global transition in food production is an opportunity for Finnish production, as the global demand for food and the importance of the northern production regions grow. The goal is to improve the profitability and international competitiveness of food produced in Finland," says Tuomas Salusjärvi, Valio's Vice President for Growth Business, Research and Development.

The Food 2.0 entity focuses on four themes: future products, technology transformation, regenerative production as well as circular economy and resource efficiency.

Valio press release

Wärtsilä: Wide & Intelligent Sustainable Energy strengthens the energy sector

Technology group Wärtsilä will lead a five-year collaboration involving more than 200 Finnish companies, organizations and research bodies. The collaboration called WISE (Wide & Intelligent Sustainable Energy) is designed to strengthen and build the Finnish energy sector in becoming the world-leading energy innovation ecosystem.

"The cooperation will build scalable ecosystems and introduce secure and autonomous zero-emission balancing power generation. Partnerships at an early stage of the innovation journey will enable ideas to reach global scale. The goal of the WISE project is to create a globally significant impact and promote the energy transition to a fully decarbonized future," says Malin Östman, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Wärtsilä Energy.

Wärtsilä's goal is to offer flexible autonomous power plant concepts with the capability to operate with 100 percent sustainable fuel by the end of 2028. In addition, new service models will be developed. The partners are together investing 200 million euros by 2028 in the research, of which Wärtsilä's share is 100 million euros. In the long term, it is expected that the research and development project will enable 350 million-euro R&D increase within the ecosystem.

Wärtsilä press release

Did you know this: Leading companies have extensive network effects

Leading companies´ ecosystems have been built rapidly: in the years 2020–2023, Business Finland has funded nearly 600 RDI projects of leading companies and their business and research organization partners.

Business Finland can fund each leading company with either 20 or 10 million euros. In addition, Business Finland has prepared to fund partners' projects in each leading company's ecosystem with a total of 50 or 20 million euros. With the new selections, there are already more than 20 leading companies.

The leading companies have committed to increase their RDI investments in Finland by a total of approximately 2 billion euros during their projects. If successful, the projects will lead to additional industrial investments of several billions in Finland and significant export and employment effects.

Business Finland will launch the next challenge competition for leading companies during this spring.

Last summer, the first of the leading companies' projects ended; Together with more than 120 partners, Nokia developed the prerequisites for industrial 5G solutions. Nokia´s leading company ecosystem partners invested a total of more than 200 million euros in RDI work in projects co-financed by Business Finland during the years 2020-23. With the help of the new competence, a foundation has been created for, for example, real-time utilization of video data and remote control of functions. This has a key impact on industrial productivity and safety.

Read more about the funding for leading companies and their ecosystems

More information

Business Finland
Karin Wikman
Product Manager
karin.wikman (at)
+358 50 5577 723

Paula Savonen
Vice President, Communications
paula.savonen (at)
+358 400 343 851

Sirje Ahvenlampi-Hyvönen
Vice President, Group Communications
sirje.ahvenlampi-hyvonen (at)
+358 50 557 3822
Research and innovations at Patria

Tuomas Salusjärvi
Vice President for Growth Business, Research and Development
Contacts via Valio mediadesk:
mediadesk (at)
+358 10 381 2118

Malin Östman
Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Wärtsilä Energy
malin.ostman (at)
+358 50 597 5683