Tekes funding has a major impact on the growth and success of businesses. More than 80% of Tekes customers that have been successful in their innovation activities say that Tekes funding was a key part of their success. Jobs increased by 16 per cent in SMEs funded by Tekes during the period 2012–2015.
In 2016, Tekes granted funding for 3,760 projects for a total value of EUR 467 million. Tekes received a total of 6,830 funding applications. Projects completed in 2016 generated a total of 2,250 new products, services or other innovations and a total of 1,000 patents or patent applications. Exports increased in SMEs funded by Tekes by more than EUR 2.6 billion during the period 2012–2015. SMEs expect projects for 2016 to generate a turnover of EUR 9.4 billion by their specified target year.
"The turnover target for SMEs is ambitious. Nevertheless, more and more companies should be bolder in their innovation activities. The role of Tekes is to finance projects in which a company aims at renewal through a major leap forward. We encourage companies to grasp radical ideas and aim to achieve breakthroughs", says Pekka Soini, Director General of Tekes.
"Support granted by Tekes aims at renewal – its purpose is to help businesses and Finland regenerate themselves", he says.
The impact of cuts in Tekes funding is evident, we must now change direction
The Government cut a third of Tekes' funding authorisation in 2016. The effects of this are already visible and will become even more evident in 2017. In 2016, Tekes funding for universities and research organisations more than halved to EUR 98 million. This had a direct effect on the fact that networking between companies and research organisations decreased by 25 per cent. This is bad from the perspective of research which benefits our business and industry, the implementation of research results, and the creation of viable ecosystems.
"We need incentives for internationalisation, renewal and risk-taking. In Finland, investment volumes have taken an upward turn in all sectors except research and development. In our increasingly digital economy, growth is based on R&D investments. These investments generate twice as many benefits for society as they do for the company making the investment", says Aki Kangasharju, Head of Research at Nordea.
"Venture capitalists play a major role in feeding the hunger for growth since they increase the willingness and ability to grow among the companies in which they invest. While the role of Tekes is emphasised in initial innovation funding, a venture capitalist joins in during the product commercialisation phase or slightly later. This division of duties works well. With regard to the future, we must bear in mind that innovation is the only alternative for Finland", says Petri Rouvinen, Managing Director of Etlatieto Ltd.
If we want to ensure Finland's competitiveness and wellbeing in the future, we must act and make the necessary changes now.
ari.gronroos (at) tekes.fi
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