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Helping high-tech business grow and flourish

TEKEL – Finnish Science Park Association
Finland’s science parks and technology centres play an important role in encouraging innovation and success in the country’s high-tech sector – by helping technology companies get started, grow, develop, and expand internationally.

The Finnish Science Park Association – or TEKEL as it is known – works together with its 34 members and partners across Finland to promote the kind of innovation environments best suited for helping high-tech business flourish and grow. Promoting a comprehensive basis for the emergence, growth, and international expansion of technology-intensive businesses lies at the heart of every science park’s mission.

The members of the TEKEL network provide their customers with a wide range of services designed to enable companies – both start-ups and established businesses – to focus on their core activities, while benefiting from a wide range of support in areas such as business and development services, state-of-the-art premises, and training and consultancy. The TEKEL network plays an important part in implementing both national and EU programmes and projects, and works actively to identify those at the leading edge of innovation.

7signals’s technology is designed to guarantee the quality and continuity of mission-critical WLAN connections.

Four very different businesses that have benefited from the help of TEKEL’s network are profiled here: 7signal, Kaipaus, ValiRx, and DirectNu Energy.

Business-critical networks

Wireless networks (WLAN/Wi-Fi) need to operate highly reliably when used in critical applications such as providing the main communications channel for airports and harbours and for hospital doctors to monitor the condition of patients, for example. This is where the network quality monitoring technology developed by 7signal comes in, with its focus on guaranteeing business-critical application performance over WLAN networks. By constantly monitoring and managing a network’s performance from the end-user perspective, service levels, and the applications using it, 7signal’s technology can locate and resolve problems before users even notice that something may be wrong.

Rather than address issues such as network security and maximum speed, which most WLAN-related research concentrates on, 7signal focuses on monitoring and managing network performance to optimise the quality of the enduser experience – particularly in areas where a slow-down in throughput or an interruption in service could quickly cause major problems and loss of revenue, such as health care, logistics, retailing, and large corporate organisations. Founded in 2006, 7signal became an incubator customer of Technopolis Ventures in 2007 and has benefited from a range of incubator services covering areas such as sales training, HR development, and networking. The company was named TEKEL’s Business Incubator of the Year in 2009, and was selected as one of the world’s 100 most-promising technology companies by Red Herring magazine in January 2009.

Kaipaus’ nanofrago┬« scent pods release scent over an extended period and at levels suitable for people with mild scent allergies. Thanks to recent networking, the company is now breaking into the international fashion world.

See www.7signal.com, www.technopolis.fi, and www.spinno.fi for more information.

Opening up international connections

Scent technology company Kaipaus Finland is an example of a company that has benefited from contacts made possible by the Enterprise Europe Network and TEKEL after it heard that a French company was on the lookout for Finnish design products suitable for the market there.

Kaipaus’ business idea is built around delivering scents via a novel platform for mass-market products. The platform in question is nanofrago ┬« scent mass, a ceramic substrate featuring nanopores, which controls the release of scents on a molecular level. Scent evaporates very consistently, molecule by molecule, from this mass, which can emit a scent for weeks.

Kaipaus’ first product launch was a line of signature jewellery designed by the likes of such internationally renowned designers as Harri Koskinen and Paola Suhonen.

The Enterprise Europe Network, which numbers TEKEL among its partners, comprises close to 600 organisations in more than 40 countries aimed at promoting competitiveness and innovations locally in Europe and further afield.

US-based DirectNu Energy recently set up its European headquarters in Oulu and hopes to see its hybrid lighting and illuminated advertising systems make inroads into the European market. The company is also developing hybrid charging stations for electric vehicles and smart bus stations.

See www.kaipaus.com, www.enterpriseeurope.fi, and www.enterprise-europe-network.ec.europa.eu for more details.

Connecting to Oulu

As well as connecting Finnish business to the wider international scene, TEKEL’s network also helps businesses outside Finland tap into the country’s expertise. One recent example is the London-based biopharmaceutical company developing novel technologies and products in oncology therapeutics and diagnostics – ValiRx – which has set up business in Oulu in northern Finland, drawn by the locally based HealthBio cluster.

Another is DirectNu Energy, a US-based provider of turnkey, ‘out of the box’ hybrid wind-solar energy solutions with integrated storage and control systems, which decided to locate its European headquarters in Oulu, drawn by Finland’s Cleantech cluster.

Oulu Innovation, a TEKEL member, played an active role in both cases as part of its mission as a non-profit development company focusing on regional economic development in the high-tech, high-growth business area in the Oulu region.

See www.valirx.com, www.directnuenergy.com, www.ouluinnovation.com, www.businessoulu.com, and www.oske.net for more information.

> Pia Pere-Vanhanen
(Published in HighTech Finland 2010)