Project background

At the moment of drafting the project application, there was no clearly defined, joint investment strategy for the Kainuu region available. 

Evaluation of (financial) resources, capable (development) organisations as well as the courage and ability to make critical choices (prioritization of development targets) are often seen as the most important challenges for the regional development in Kainuu. The same challenges are seen both in the fields of business development and regional development. In addition, the availability of risk finance for companies has been identified as a regional challenge.

For about ten years beginning from 2009, the regional development company Kainuun Etu Ltd took active measures to attract investments to the Kainuu region, especially from abroad (FDI). Based on the previous experience, systematic work in activating investments will bear fruit with a rather long time span. As a result, making strategic choices early on in the process, along with an active and systematic cooperation with actors across all industries in the region, will provide a good basis for the activities.

An investment strategy of good quality will take into account municipal and state investment policies, local accessibility infrastructure, top investments related to the knowledge infrastructure (in Kainuu those include for example CSC, Kajaani University Consortium and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences) and investments in knowledge infrastructure and intangible investments (R & D & I). An important part of the investment strategy is, of course, taking good care of the region’s reputation and communications, as well as the active Invest In -activities linked to those.

After the COVID crisis, Kainuu region has proven to be interesting in the eyes of companies that already operate in the region, but also in the eyes of new companies. This is partly reflecting in the strong demand for skilled labor in the region. The current attractiveness of Kainuu region should be utilized by strengthening the measures through which the investments made in Kainuu would bring more value to the investors compared to investing elsewhere (KaiCell Fibers, Terrafame and Sotkamo Silver may be mentioned as good examples). The role of a regional investment strategy is therefore important. The strategy is needed to strengthen the co-operation of various actors in the region and to highlight the most important facts for attracting investments. Also a method for monitoring the measures taken must be planned, to verify the effectiveness of activities.

The project goal was to process the Kainuu Investment Strategy for years 2022-2025, identifying a joint approach, key measures and a method for monitoring the effectiveness of the measures taken. The strategy would define how the public organisations (municipalities, public financers), development organizations and the educational and research institutions  in the region may together ensure the future sustainable growth in Kainuu. The strategy should examine the positioning of Kainuu for example related to the InvestEU and Arctic Investment Platform funding opportunities, and the possible impacts of EU investment guidelines (sustainability criteria) on Kainuu. The project goals also included updating the recommendations of the study/ development project carried out by Kainuun Etu Ltd in 2018 on the establishment of a regional private equity fund and drafting recommendations for action that were appropriate in the current situation.

The most important target group of Kainuu Investment Strategy 2022-2025 development project were all the municipalities of Kainuu, as well as the most significant companies and development organizations across industries, whose role in the regional business life and especially in employment is the most central and influential. In addition, the target groups of the co-operation included the financial organizations operating in the region and also the possible new funding channels.

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Project Work Packages

WP1: Work program and steering group

WP2: Analysis of the current situation and development prospects in Kainuu (Implementation: desk work and interviews of municipal representatives, expert work)

WP3: Identifying and valuing the key investments and investment targets (Implementation: workshops and interaction, expert work)

WP4: Investment strategy and road map (Implementation: workshops and interaction, expert work)

WP5: Creating the framework for follow-up of the investment strategy and the investment promotion (Implementation: desk work and interviews of municipal representatives, expert work)

WP6: Implementation of the investment strategy and the road map related (Implementation: desk work and interviews of municipal representatives, expert work)

WP7: Final reporting, publishing the strategy

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