Small enterprises in forestry and wood product sector received crucial innovation support in East and North Finland High Impact Action
The East and North Finland High Impact Action (HIA), funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, ended in June 2020. This was a new type of funding model for consortia of SMEs and research and development organisations operating in East and North Finland. The goal of the funding was to result in product innovations in the tree, wood and timber value chain, in particular to find new innovative solutions based on circular economy and digitalisation. The East and North Finland High Impact Action funded seven projects involving organisations from all regions of East and North Finland. Regions were supported in implementation and evaluation of the High Impact Action by IDEA Consult experts.
The final seminar of the High Impact Action projects was held on September 9 2020 online. In the seminar, projects presented results of a half-year cooperation and the product and service innovations that were developed. The projects have developed, among other things, digital tools for work management between forest companies and for planning and optimising wood harvesting work. From the point of view of the circular economy, the pilots developed methods to increase the value added of forest biomass and to combine industrial by-products into a new carbon-negative product.
We are pleased to notice that during the process, cooperation has also emerged between different projects. This cooperation will certainly continue in the future, says Päivi Ekdahl, Development Director of the Regional Council of Lapland.
East and North Finland Industrial Transition (ELMO) cooperation and HIA piloting are based on the long-standing cooperation between the regional councils of East and North Finland. The goal of the co-operation is to seek new ways to support business life in the regions.
The world has changed a lot since these projects took off. On the other hand, themes such as circular economy and digitalisation are more relevant than ever. With these projects, we have seen how SMEs in East and North Finland can benefit from cross-regional and cross-organisational cooperation, says Mika Riipi, County Governor of Regional Council of Lapland.