Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill Initiative Wins Productive Idea 2010 Competition
The Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill initiative has won the main prize in the Community category of the Productive Idea 2010 competition, which gives recognition to innovations and new ideas. The award ceremony was held on Saturday in Mariehamn. The Innovation Mill initiative, launched in May 2009, aims to strengthen Finland's ICT cluster and help Finnish ideas reach international markets through funding and productization. So far the programme has created more than 100 new jobs and 18 new companies in Finland, and has raised roughly 10 million euros in venture capital funding.
Through the ideas contributed by Nokia, the business development services offered by Technopolis as well as funding from Tekes and participating Finnish cities, the three-year programme has succeeded in building a new operations model for the creation of new companies, products and services. The judges of the Productive Idea competition thought the initiative reflected a new means to stimulate profitable entrepreneurship, and they hope to see the idea spread to the innovation departments of other companies as well.
The annual Productive Idea competition, held since 1977, aims to promote innovation and new business ideas as well as emphasize the key role they play in societal development. The objective is to raise appreciation for entrepreneurial ventures and highlight the importance of creative ideas and risk-taking decision makers to the national economy and welfare. The winning idea may be a new product, service, production method, operations model, concept, or business idea.
"Winning the main prize in the Productive Idea 2010 competition is a great acknowledgment for the whole initiative. It proves that an operations model such as ours truly has the ability to create new, profitable services and products as well as develop the strong ICT cluster in Finland. Nokia wishes to offer support to Finnish ICT companies by helping them to be competitive on an international scale. Nokia challenges other large companies to join collaborative initiatives of this kind, because they benefit the community as a whole," says Mr. Esko Aho, Nokia's Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Responsibility.
Nokia's role in the initiative is to contribute ideas to participating companies, which may either already be in operation or just starting up.
The three-year initiative aims to create a total of one hundred corporate projects The Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill initiative is the result of co-operation between Nokia, Tekes, which grants funding and Technopolis, which acts as coordinator. The programme offers Finnish companies everything they need to develop a business idea from the innovation itself to a suitable operating environment and funding solutions. Ten Finnish cities are also participating in the initiative, with the objective of strengthening entrepreneurship in their local area.
"When processing the applications for the Innovation Mill, we use a quick, straightforward initiative model with minimal bureaucracy. This way we can make funding decisions within a week of receiving the application," says Juha Tanskanen, Senior Technology Adviser at Tekes.
The ambitious objective of the Innovation Mill initiative is to get large Finnish companies from other trades to join in. According to calculations by Tekes and Technopolis, during the three-year initiative, it would be possible to create as many as 100 new corporate projects in Finland if other Finnish companies were to join the initiative and respond to Nokia's challenge to take social responsibility in a new way.
According to Keith Silverang, the CEO of Technopolis, the initiative has already proven that an idea that might go unnoticed in a large company can, in the right hands and with adequate support, turn into an interesting and productive business activity.
"Nokia's commitment during the launch of the initiative had a huge impact on the success of the whole programme. Now it is time to challenge other large companies in Finland to join. We believe that together we can develop a nationwide enthusiasm for the initiative. A cooperation model such as the Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill is a unique concept, in which funding and productization work efficiently and quickly, in the long run creating new Finnish success stories," says Silverang.
The Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill initiative has led to 24 positive funding decisions so far, and aims to produce another 10 by May 2011.
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