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Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

In InnovaatioSilta project Centria focuses on developing the scalability and commercialization of RDI results produced by the universities of applied sciences in SME’s.

Branch: Entrepreneurship and business

Duration: 1.1.2024-30.12.2025

Region: Central Ostrobothnia / National

Financed by: Keski-Suomen Ely-keskus

Project Manager: Tuomas Paananen

Universities of Applied Sciences building a bridge for business innovation 

It has been observed that SME which are known as top professionals in their field can also face challenges in their innovation capabilities, often due to limited resources, the lack of knowledge or the inability to exploit the latest research findings. This can hamper their grow and competitiveness in the rapidly changing markets. On the other hand, universities of applied sciences, produce valuable research and development knowledge that may not be utilised in business operations because it does not always reach the businesses effectively.

New InnovaatioSilta project aims to bridge the gap. It provides solutions to help SMEs identify their innovation potential, address barriers to innovation and use the knowledge generated by universities of applied sciences to improve their business. UAS research is also expected to contribute more effectively to regional and national economic growth. In a nutshell, the Innovation Bridge project will remove barriers to the free flow of knowledge and innovation between SMEs and universities of applied sciences. At the same time, the competitiveness and growth potential of both parties and their cooperation, for example through service business, will be strengthened. Tt

The project is implemented in cooperation by Centria UAS, Seinäjoki UAS and Satakunta UAS. Although each project partner is mainly responsible for one work package, all measures will be implemented in all three regions (Central Ostrobothnia, Southern Ostrobothnia and Satakunta). The first work package is coordinated by SeAMK. It will focus on innovation capability assessment to identify and analyse barriers to innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises and their regional specificities. 

The second work package, coordinated by SAMK, aims at strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs in many ways. Based on the results of the innovation capacity assessments of the first work package, tailor-made workshops and training sessions will be organised, focusing on the key challenges to SMEs’ innovation capacity. The focus will be on business clustering, which will allow both learning and sharing of best practices within each UAS as well as across regions.

Centria will be responsible for the scalability and commercialization of RDI results from the universities of applied sciences to SMEs in the third work package. The aim is to create an impact tool for helping to identify results and ideas emerging from projects. The aim is to facilitate the utilization UAS project results in business operations, thus deepening cooperation and supporting innovation both in enterprises and universities of applied sciences. A marketplace for project results will be created to serve enterprises, providing a better access to the research expertise and application of the results of universities of applied sciences, which can be a significant competitive advantage to SMEs. Universities of Applied Sciences, on the other hand, will see the impact on the practical business environment, which will improve their project processes and innovation capacity. Through learning, experience sharing and possible cooperation experiments during the project, the aim is to create a network of companies that would continue to work independently to further develop innovation capacity after the project ends.

Tuomas Paananen