Our partners

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Small Business Center

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Small Business Center is a true entrepreneurship professional coach and tutor along the entire business life cycle of the SMEs. Our expertise of the challenges SMEs face covers each step of the cycle: from the growth of startups to the more mature phase.

Our role in the University’s RDI unit is to promote entrepreneurship locally and internationally by fostering services and development, increasing the business know-how of the companies and testing new operating approaches. The Small Business Center has been executing its wide-ranging mission of entrepreneurship development for over 36 years. Our offices are located in Mikkeli, Helsinki and St. Petersburg.


South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Small Business Center
Mikkelin ammattikorkeakoulu
Patteristonkatu 3 D
50101 Mikkeli, Finland

Natalia Narits, Project Manager
E-mail: natalia.narits@mamk.fi
Sinikka Mynttinen, Project Researcher
E-Mail: sinikka.mynttinen@mamk.fi 
Web: www.mamk.fi

Information about the RIS3 of the partner region:

Regional level document: “Etelä-Savon maaseudun kehittämisohjelma 2014-2020” [The Rural Development Programme of South Savo 2014-2020]
Legal owner: The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in South Savo
Web: www.ely-keskus.fi/documents/10191/56198/Etel%C3%A4-Savon+maaseudun+kehitt%C3%A4missuunnitelma+2014-20/bcde09ff-7ff0-42cf-9895-6370f2b7b883

Regional level document:
“Älykkäästi erikoistunut tutkimus- ja innovaatiotoiminta 2014-2017. Etelä-Savon älykkään erikoistumisen strategia (Etelä-Savon maakuntaliiton raportti 2014)” [Smartly specialised research and innovation activities 2014-2017. The smart specialisation strategy of South Savo (Report of the Regional Council of South Savo 2014)]
Legal owner: The Regional Council of South Savo
Web: www.esavo.fi/resources/public//Maakuntaliitto/Julkaisut/alykkaan_erikoistumisen_strategia_etela-savo.pdf

Key challenges for innovation policy

Major issues for the Region of South Savo in the context of innovation policy include:

  • Disengagement of older and younger people from the workforce, particularly in rural areas
  • Sparsely populated and long distances between business and employment opportunities
  • Low levels of entrepreneurship, and lack of capacity for innovation amongst entrepreneurs and SMEs: scarcity of people with diverse skills, know-how, technological expertise
  • Step out from the current competition to new areas of high profile products/services
  • Problems with commercialisation and exploitation of entrepreneurial business ideas
  • Lack of flexibility and adaptability in the provision of vocational education and training
  • Small scale bottlenecks on the international transport networks.

Smart Specialisation areas in the Region of South Savo:

  • Key areas of innovation strategy:
    • forest based bio economy: new products and production processes in forest biomass
    • clean water and environmental safety technologies
    • smart and functional materials
  • Developing areas of innovation:
    • digital management of data and information
    • organic production and food safety innovations.

The main objectives of the RIS3 

Smart specialisation means recognizing the strengths of each region in Finland and turning them into competitive advantages. New and flexible combinations of these areas of expertise constitute the core of smart specialisation. The future aim of regional R&D policy is to create centres of expertise of both national and international significance. Because of resource scarcity, the Region of South Savo has to make choices and focus on a few possible technology areas of excellence and future opportunities. The chosen technology areas aim to create a centre of expertise of both national and international significance, user-oriented service, innovations and processes shared by multiple users.

Within this context, the Region of South Savo pursues the following goals:
  • Solving problems and satisfying needs in the chosen focused areas
  • Creating, developing, transferring, utilizing and commercializing technologies in chosen areas
  • Creating, developing and maintaining regional resource bases in chosen areas
  • Developing overall contextual preconditions for entrepreneurial success: focus on both start-ups and scale-up firms
  • New value, jobs, and businesses.


The sources of the financing the activities specified in the RIS3 documents are as follows: 
  1. CCI 2014 FI 116M20P001 ”Kestävää kasvua ja työtä 2014-2020” – Finland’s EU ERDF-programme. The European Unions’ ERDF and ESR financing share for South Savo for the years 2014-2020 is 101.2 million EUR
    Responsible ministry for the ERDF funding: the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
  2. “The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014-2020“. The European Unions‘ Rural Development funding for the years 2014-2020 is 108,5 million EUR
    Responsible ministry for the Rural Development funding: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 
  3. National budget
  4. Municipality budget
  5. Private sector (e.g. firm, associations).