The Business Development Services of the City of Kuopio has appointed three people to work for the Invest & Expand in Pohjois-Savo project as from 2 November 2020: Stepan Tirkkonen as Project Manager, Iina Kilpeläinen as Project Coordinator and Maarit Sinikangas as Regional Coordinator.
Invest & Expand in Pohjois-Savo is a project aiming to develop the existing ‘Invest in’ approach to work in Kuopio and expand it to include neighbouring municipalities. The City of Kuopio is responsible for project implementation, and the other project parties are Iisalmi, Siilinjärvi, Leppävirta, Varkaus and Joroinen. The project aims to improve the national and international visibility of the entire region through cooperation and make the opportunities of the business environment known to companies and investors alike. The goal is to pool the strengths across the entire travel-to-work area of North Savo into one package and attract new Finnish and international investments into the region. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo and the participating municipalities. The project period is 1 October 2020 – 31 March 2023.
The Project Manager is responsible for the overall management of the project and monitoring its operational and financial goals. He will develop an approach and services for the ‘Invest in’ activities in North Savo and make the cutting-edge competence and business activities in the region visible both in Finland and abroad. The Project Manager will build and maintain a regional, national and international collaboration network that is required to facilitate the establishment of businesses; maintain active contact with various parties, partners and other stakeholders; and integrate and reconcile ‘Invest in’ activities with other significant projects and operations in North Savo.
Stepan Tirkkonen has worked with development tasks in the Joensuu region since 2013 and, prior to that, in a consulting firm. Tirkkonen possesses extensive experience and competence relating to regional marketing, stakeholder collaboration, business consultation and project work, in addition to special expertise in Russian affairs.
The Project Coordinator is responsible for the administrative duties and supporting measures of the project, in addition to managing practical arrangements and cooperation with various partners when organizing e.g. events, fairs and trips in Finland and abroad. The Project Coordinator will assist the Project Manager and the Regional Coordinator in building a collaboration network and maintaining contact with various parties, partners and other stakeholders. A key part of the job is also project marketing and communication together with the communication and marketing personnel of the participating cities and municipalities.
Iina Kilpeläinen is a Master of Economic Sciences and a Bachelor of Hospitality Management by qualification. She has accumulated considerable international experience while living, studying and working abroad. Kilpeläinen’s most recent position involved working with financing at Osuuspankki. Her strengths include a good command of English, customer experience and networking.
The Regional Coordinator maintains active contact with the business operators, companies and other stakeholders in Iisalmi, Varkaus, Siilinjärvi, Leppävirta and Joroinen, making them an integral part of the joint ‘Invest in’ work of North Savo together with the Project Manager. She will also support the Project Manager in reconciling and integrating the project with other relevant projects, particularly in the areas of Iisalmi, Varkaus, Leppävirta, Siilinjärvi and Joroinen. The Regional Coordinator will help organize events and trips to fairs and take part in the practical activities of various parts of the project. She will work with the ‘Invest in’ team to build a collaboration network and maintain contact with various parties, partners and other stakeholders.
Maarit Sinikangas is an expert in international business who has worked in expert and management positions, promoting the global exports and networking of companies. Maarit possesses export experience from almost every continent, but especially Asia, including China, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. Maarit herself was born in Savo and aims to promote investments in the region of North Savo and Joroinen and reinforce international connections by utilizing her extensive networks and competence.