Lake Nuuksio, Finland

Exeter academic launches influential report in Finland

Professor Gordon Murray, a world leading expert on entrepreneurship and innovation policy, recently presented the results of a major evaluation of the Finnish National Innovation System to government ministers and national media.

Commissioned by the Finnish Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, this exhaustive study of Finland’s future as a world class innovator’s was undertaken by an independent panel of international experts.

Professor Murray’s sub group was invited to rigorously review the ambitions of the current National Innovation Strategy. Specifically, the group was mandated to  assess Finland’s international performance with respect to its entrepreneurial activity; identify areas in need of urgent improvement and recommend the required changes to policy and practices to effect these improvements.

Their work drew some interesting conclusions. The group discovered that there was a mismatch between the supply of, and demand for, entrepreneurial opportunities. Finland has too many good ideas and not enough entrepreneurs to turn them into successful enterprises. Also, the group’s research found that the support system for small and medium sized enterprises was overly complex and occasionally mis-directed. The promotion of high growth entrepreneurial companies wasn’t well integrated into national economic policies or priorities and finally, talented individuals needed additional incentives to influence their career decisions and make them consider becoming an entrepreneur.

The recommendations of Professor Murray and Finnish Professors Markku Maula and Ari Hyytinen were clear. Finland needed to provide attractive economic incentives for talented Finns to take the necessary entrepreneurial risks. The public support system needs to be streamlined to reduce complexity and increase accessibility. And finally, they called for the establishment of a world class, university based Centre of Entrepreneurial Practice and Research.

Professor Murray of the University of Exeter Business School commented “These conclusions are not just relevant to Finland. The issues raised affect every established economy in the Western world seeking to enhance and protect its critical ‘new knowledge’ resources in a world that is rapidly globalising and become ever more competitive. Thus, It was a great honour to be asked to be involved with the most important study in this field for the last ten years. The Finns are world class innovators but as yet remain timid entrepreneurs. Finland needs to show that Nokia is not just a one-off but is a spirit of enterprise that enthuses the entire Finnish population, I hope that our work will encourage them to fulfil their obvious potential and become world leaders in this area. They could and should be in high tech terms “the Israel of the North”.”

Date: 9 November 2009

Read more University News