What do entrepreneurs look for in a business location? At least an environment that is conducive to entrepreneurship, a full range of business services, a convenient location and skilled workforce. The growth-oriented, humane city of Kuopio offers all this and much more.
The attractiveness of Kuopio is based on the University of Eastern Finland and the Kuopio University Hospital. Kuopio fosters internationally recognized, cutting-edge research in health and wellbeing and in nutrition, among other fields.
This hub of science offers unique collaboration opportunities and expertise for companies. Engaging in multidisciplinary research collaboration is exceptionally easy in Kuopio. The strong suits of the university are directly converted into assets in the city’s business sector.
Students, if anyone, bring energy into a city. You can find popular educational institutions in Kuopio at every level of education. In addition to the University of Eastern Finland (UEF), we have Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Savo Vocational College Sakky, Emergency Services Academy Finland and Humak University of Applied Sciences. Large pools of skilled future talent are maturing in these institutions.
Particularly the campus in Savilahti that brings together Savonia, Sakky and UEF is beyond compare. If you are looking for fruitful collaboration with educational institutions, Savilahti is the number one location for premises for your company.
Many industries are growing in Kuopio. According to Business Promotion Officer at Business Kuopio Unto Juutinen, major investments are being made in several sectors from logistics to trade, leisure and tourism.
“For the logistics industry, Kuopio is conveniently located in the middle of Finland. The cost of transporting goods especially up north is much lower from here than from the south. Even tourism is on an upward trend, despite COVID-19. There is a lot going on right now, both in the central city area and in Tahko. When measuring the volume of tourism in terms of nights spent at tourist accommodation, Kuopio is faring well compared to other Finnish cities.”
Real estate investors also believe in Kuopio.
“The key figures of the city and our can-do attitude are signs that local real estate will yield good returns long into the future. Kuopio is one of the winners”, Juutinen sums up.
A growing, energetic city provides the best possible conditions for businesses to excel. Kuopio is the centre of a large catchment area, and people commute here from as far as Iisalmi and Varkaus. The entire catchment area is home to 840 000 people.
Entrepreneurs in Kuopio are given plenty of tender loving care. Business Kuopio, Business Center, Kuopio Region Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Agency of Kuopio and Savon Yrittäjät provide all the help and services you need. Using the services is easy and there is little bureaucracy.
“Folks here are genuinely invested in helping the Kuopio region thrive. The success of entrepreneurs is a key element of this. It is a privilege to be able to help businesses”, says Juutinen.
Pro-entrepreneurship in Kuopio is not all hype and empty talk, but is also put into action. What’s more, the unreserved nature of the Savonian people guarantees that entrepreneurs are quickly welcomed into the circles and can always ask for advice.
“Kuopio is a unique place. The hub of Savilahti is still a rough diamond that will eventually be polished into Savo’s very own Silicon Valley”, says Kaija Savolainen, Managing Director of Kuopio Region Chamber of Commerce.
Savilahti is home to a wide range of branches and industries. Recent educational decisions will add to the pull factors of the region, as more study places for students will open up at both Savonia UAS and UEF.
Companies need possibilities to expand their facilities – plans for these have been drawn in districts such as Pieni Neulamäki. Another up-and-coming area is Kuopion Portti (near the stations) and the Travel Center with its new commercial premises and housing at a transportation node.
Excellent accessibility is vital for the competitiveness of companies. Kuopio is working actively to develop good transport links. Smooth travel from one place to another also makes life easier within the city.
“Kuopio is the uniting force of the eastern parts of Finland, so it is absolutely crucial that it can be reached easily by different means of transport. The importance of road, rail and air transport cannot be overstated”, says Savolainen.
Among other things, the projected eastern rail link will promote sustainable transport. Sustainability is also the goal when it comes to the roads. One of the major projects is “Viitosväylä”, which will bring, e.g., more charging stations for electric cars along national road 5.
“People, services and bits and bytes need to get around”, says Savolainen, also referring to the investments in 5G networks in the Kuopio region.
For an entrepreneur, the city of Kuopio is just the right size and its open atmosphere is ideal for networking. The tone of the competition is encouraging: if that other person can succeed, so can I. Things are done with an open mind.
“We are open to new ideas here. You can come up with surprising combinations and cross barriers”, says Savolainen.
Rumours about the positive work culture have apparently spread far, because it has been one of the reasons why many ICT companies have relocated to the city. Showing that you truly care about your employees makes them want to commit to the company and carry on its story.
Life is not just about work and making a living. Kuopio offers you the full package for a life that tastes good: comfortable housing, an interesting variety of hobbies, cultural experiences and incredibly stunning nature.
The atmosphere in Kuopio and all the things you need for a happy life bring both newcomers and returnees to the city. Everyday life feels luxurious when you can unwind after work by stepping straight onto one of the many outdoor recreation routes or heading out on to the lake.
“The living conditions are outstanding here. Many former residents have clearly now made the choice to move back here, as remote and hybrid work and commuting have become easier and more common”, says Savolainen.
Text: Auli Tuomi