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Turku region start-ups believe in strong growth

The first extensive survey on start-ups in the Turku region was carried out this spring. The 125 start-up businesses in the region expect their turnover to more than double by the end of the year compared to the figures for 2021, which means an increase of over 54 million euros in the turnover.

Read the survey on start-ups in the Turku region from the end of this article (in Finnish)!

An overall insight of the start-up ecosystem in the Turku region was revealed for the first time when the extensive survey commissioned by the City of Turku was completed in April. The survey compiled data on the growth, development and growth needs of the companies based in the region from recent years, and assessed the operating environment in the region.

Noin 30- ja noin 40-vuotias mies seisovat auringonpaisteessa rappusilla hymyillen.
Elias Savonlahti, SparkUp Community Manager and Tommi Uitti, who implemented the start-up survey in the Turku region are eagerly waiting for the next year’s survey which will provide information on the direction in which the local start-up ecosystem is developing.

A total of 125 active start-ups were identified in the Turku region; of those 113 operate in Turku, six in Kaarina, three in Naantali, and one in Raisio. The criteria used for start-up companies in the survey were fairly tight, so in addition to those, there are many other SMEs in the region that generate positive growth.

“Considering the size of the region, the number of identified start-ups indicates a strong foundation on which the ecosystem can be developed further. Start-ups are important for the local economy, as these companies generate jobs with high productivity, and are potential success stories worth millions of euros”, says Tommi Uitti from Tribe Tampere Association who carried out the survey.

Trust in the surrounding ecosystem

Despite the global uncertainty, the start-ups in the Turku region have a positive outlook for the future. The companies expect their turnover to increase by a total of 271 per cent by the end of 2023 compared to the final figures for 2021, i.e. by over 54 million euros. Two-thirds of the companies aim at rapid international growth.

It was found out in the survey that the forecasts of the companies are realistic. The realised growth of turnover was also exponential in the region from 2018–2021.

“The start-ups in the region clearly trust the surrounding ecosystem that encourages growth. Although there is room for improvement, Turku offers many positive elements that support start-up entrepreneurship”, says Elias Savonlahti, SparkUp Community Manager in Turku Science Park Ltd.

“Companies have access to growth programmes and individual workshops that focus on e.g. search for financing, business development, and internationalisation. Our start-up community premises host hundreds of workshops and networking events every year. In addition, there are many industry-specific communities and actors that provide excellent support to entrepreneurs”, he continues.

According to the survey, there are 20 active start-up or spin-off companies located in the Turku region that were founded in a university or have a supporting link with a university, so the local universities also play a major role in the start-up ecosystem in the region.

Noin 40-vuotias mies, jolla on viikset, parta ja pitkät hiukset istuu sohvalla ja katsoo kameraan.
Lassi Puolakka from game development company MiTale came to the launch of the survey results arranged in Visitor and Innovation Centre Joki on 19 April 2023 to hear the results and discuss them with other start-up entrepreneurs.

Nearly half of the companies are in IT industry

49 per cent of the active start-ups in the region focus on information technology, but the other half is divided relatively evenly in several different industries. 18 per cent of the companies operate in health care and health technology, while the gaming industry has the third highest number of start-ups with a share of 10 per cent.

“The domination of the IT industry indicates diverse expertise in digital services in the region and the will to apply it in a scalable and innovative manner in different new lines of business”, Mr Uitti says.

Strong communities have emerged within the IT industry in the region.

“The Turku-based community TurkuAwakens, for example, aims at creating closer co-operation to increase the IT business in the Turku region”, Mr Savonlahti points out.

The goal of the City of Turku and Turku Science Park Ltd is to carry out the survey annually.

“Next year we will have interesting comparison data on the direction in which the start-up ecosystem of our region is developing. Based on this first survey we are already able to improve our services regarding the wishes and challenges presented by the start-ups”, Mr Savonlahti says

Niko Kyynäräinen, Director of Business and Economic Development of the City of Turku stressed the importance of start-up companies aiming at rapid international growth to the local employment, economy, expertise and innovations at the launch of the survey results in Visitor and Innovation Centre Joki on 19 April 2023.

The survey on start-ups in the Turku region is a research and assessment review on the current state of the start-up ecosystem in the region. 74 start-ups responded to the survey which was commissioned by the City of Turku and implemented by Tommi Uitti from Tribe Tampere Association, with support from Turku Science Park Ltd and the start-up ecosystem players.

Further information:

Tommi Uitti
Implementer of the survey
Tribe Tampere Association
+358 40 367 5698

Elias Savonlahti
SparkUp Community Manager
Turku Science Park Ltd
+358 10 321 8892