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Title: fi - en


Projects, Processes and Clusters - New Know-How
and New Technologies in Regional Development Work
New KnowHow and New Technology in Rural Areas -
seminar Kauhajoki, 06.04.2005
Mr. Timo Vesiluoma
Chief Executive Suupohja Development Association,
  • Timo Vesiluoma
  • Projects, Processes and Clusters - New Know-How
    and New Technologies
  • in Regional Development Work
  • The Content of the presentation
  • Backround The Suupohja Sub-region and Its
    Economic Structure
  • The Story of LEADER-process and Development
    Association in Suupohja
  • Local Knowledge Clusters in Suupohja
  •  (wood furniture, agriculture food,
    automation systems)
  • The Bases of Development
  • The Regional Co-operation between Different
  • The Use of New Know-How and New Technologies in
    Local Projects
  • The Summary Results, Lessons Learned Future


1. Background
  • Suupohja sub-region
  • Consists of five municipalities Kauhajoki,
  • Isojoki, Jurva, Karijoki and Teuva
  • About 30 000 inhabitants (2005)
  • Labour approx. 11 600 persons
  • Regional Centre Kauhajoki, approx. 14 600
  • Economic structure
  • agriculture 15 , industry 33 , services 49
  • Population under 25 years 18 , 25 to 64 years
    63 ,
  • over 65 years 19
  • Number of unemployed persons 3/2005, average 10
  • (1993 30 in Kauhajoki)
  • Strong entrepreneurship more than 2000 companies
    1500 farms

  • Long Tradition of regional
  • co-operation in Suupohja -
  • Evolution and Some Milestones
  • Joint projects involving two or more
    municipalities 1992-93
  • Sub-regional development strategy for Suupohja
  • Individual sub-regional EU-projects 1995
  • LEADER II-development strategy process 1995-96
    and LEADER II-program 1997-2001
  • Suupohja Development Association 1996
  • Suupohja Federation of Economic Development 1996
  • LEADER -strategy process 1999-2000 and LEADER
    -program 2001-
  • Regional centre strategy process 2001 (National
  • Regional Centre/Network Pilot Programme 2002-
  • Suupohja Cultural Association 2003

2. The Story of LEADER-process and Development
Association in Suupohja
Suupohjan Kehittämisyhdistys ry Suupohja
Development Association
  • Is a Local Action Group (LAG), formed in 1996
    and is one
  • of the 58 Finnish LAGs
  • The LAG administers and coordinates the Suupohja
  • LEADER -program during years 2001-2006.
  • The LAG implemented LEADER II program during
  • the years 1997-2001
  • The Association is also involved in the
  • of The Network Pilot Programme in Kauhajoki
    district (national
  • funded programme) taking charge of the
    process related to the
  • programme and the services of the Programme
  • The association operates on a partnership basis
    and it has
  • about 130 members including e.g. five local
  • and different local associations and

Suupohja Development Associationsareas of
  • Systematic and participatory
  • regional development
  • (ia planning, coordination and
  • implementation of projects
  • and programmes)

Interreg III
2. Promotion of international cooperation
National programs
Town twinning
3. Development of the villages (ia services and
4. Promotion of youth involvement
Suupohja Development Association Board and Staff
  • The Suupohja Development Association has a board
    of 15
  • members and 15 personal vice members, chair
    person of
  • the board is Mrs. Sirpa Kinnari
  • The members of the board represent local
  • associations as well as businesses. Also some
  • persons are members of the board as themselves.
  • The Board is supported by three official
  • and many non-official thematic teams.
  • In 2005 the association has an executive staff
    of seven
  • persons, office in regional development centre
    in Logistia,
  • Kauhajoki

Suupohja Development Association LEADER II
Programme 1996 - 2001
  • About 300 project application submitted to LAG
  • 152 project accepeted by LAG
  • 50 small feasibility studies accepted
  • New, full time job opportunies 150
  • New, part time job opportunies 120
  • Old jobs remained 225
  • New enterprises founded 69
  • New products or services developed 183
  • Finance
  • EU 1.680 Meuro
  • National Public 1.680 Meuro
  • Private funding 1.514 Meuro
  • Total 4.874 Meuro

  • THEMES FOR THE YEARS 2001 2006
  • Two basic themes in Suupohja LEADER programme
  • The use of new technology and know-how
  • The use of local natural and cultural resources
  • To be implemented in the following entireties1.
    Education and activation2. Renewal and
    development of entrepreneurship - Craft
    technologies (especially wood and furniture) -
    Food industry - Travel - Computer technology3.
    Village services and environment4. Development
    of cultural activities

LEADER Programme 2001 - 2008
  • About 170 project application submitted to LAG
  • 118 project accepeted by LAG
  • 6 projects between regions accepted (line 2)
  • New, full time job opportunies 54
  • Part time or temporary job opportunies 132
  • Old jobs remained 55
  • New enterprises founded 12
  • Persons trained 732
  • Finance of the programme (appr.)
  • European Union 2.35 Meuro 32.4
  • Finnish State 1.41 Meuro 19.5
  • Suupohja municipalities 1,00 Meuro 13.7
  • Private 2.50 Meuro 34.4
  • Total 7.26 Meuro 100.0

3. Local Knowledge Clusters in Suupohja region
Local Knowledge Clusters
  • Definition What is a Local Knowledge Cluster?
  • The term Local Knowledge Cluster is used in this
    presentation to mean a local crossroads or
    concentrations of some special knowledge or skill
  • Clusters are frequently based on a traditional
    concentration of business, or on a school or
    other institution
  • These clusters are frequently based on the
    evolution of decades of economy and are only
    occasionally the result of planned actions
  • They possess knowledge skills that are of
    significance in regional development work
  • Skills must be actively involved in regional
    development work
  • Regional development actions can however be a
    significant catalyst for the development of a
  • In Suupohja local knowledge clusters are central
    actors in development actions that seek to
    develop new knowledge and technology
  • The knowledge clusters in Suupohja are 1)
    furniture production, 2) logistical automated
    systems and 3) the food industry

  • Local knowledge clusters
  • Furniture production
  • The most traditional business, a more than
    200-year history
  • Local business cluster approx. 200 companies,
    1100 workers
  • Crucial to some individual municipalities, such
    as in the municipality of Jurva where every other
    person is employed directly or indirectly by
    furniture production
  • Market share in Finland 35-40 of domestic
  • Innovation centres Jurva School of Culture and
    Design the National Carpenter Centre
  • TEAK Ltd - Technology Centre devoted to wood
    handling (automation technology, robotics,

  • Local knowledge clusters
  • Industrial logistics and materials handling
  • Local business cluster approx. 40 companies, 750
  • 30-year history, began in the early 1970s
    with a single business
  • Hi-tech products materials handling, packaging,
    lifting, storage automation systems. Market share
    in Finland 45-50
  • Makes significant use of computer technology and
    project skills
  • A very international business
  • Development company LC Logistics Center Ltd (10
  • Technology Center Logistia in Kauhajoki (6500 m2,
    70 companies)

  • Local knowledge clusters
  • Agriculture and the food industry
  • Southern Ostrobothnia and Suupohja have
    traditionally been strong agricultural areas
  • Among other things, EU-membership brought strong
    pressure for structural change
  • The central lines of production have
    traditionally been vegetables, milk beef, and
  • During the last 10 years specialization has
    occurred and new plants have been emphasized,
    such as for example berries (especially
    seabuckthorne 80 farms) and linseed
  • A strong emphasis has been placed on continuing
    refinement as well as research and development.
    Innovation unit Kauhajoki Polytechnic
    Kauhajoki Food Lab, Food Development Unit, Pilot
    Factory for Food
  • National and international networking
  • At this time the area (Suupohja) has 60 small
    companies, 1 large company (Atria)


4. The Bases of Development Regional
Co-operation Between Different Actors

The bases of development
  • Regional development in Suupohja is based on
    partnership with
  • several key actors. These are
  • Local municipalities
  • A municipality in Finland has a strongly
    independent status and powers e.g. the right to
    tax. Municipalities are also locally responsible
    ia city planning, primary- and
    vocational-technical education and social- and
    health services.
  • Municipalities can form municipal consolidations
    which handle specific duties. In Suupohja there
    are joint municipal consolidations administering
    vocational-technical education and economic
  • Suupohjan kehittämisyhdistys ry - Suupohja
    Development Association (LEADER), Local Action
  • Local Knowledge Clusters
  • Private businesses and development corporations


New kind of vitality in the area
Competence strengths Working partnership in the
area Useful networks
Vision/Common view of development
Local knowledge units
Trust capital and commitment
Municipal co-operation
Bottom up-planning and implementation
process The needs and possibilities of companies
and other actors
  • The Bases of Development
  • The puzzle of regional development
  • Each partner takes care of one piece
  • of the puzzle in the area
  • Complementation the different roles and tools of
    the actors. Specialization (ia municipalities,
    education centres, knowledge units, Local Action
  • Implementing Development Actions that support
    each others
  • Having Small steps of success to convince people
    that we are building the puzzle in a right way!
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the prosess, asking
  • Are we building the the puzzle in the right


The steps of program processes in Suupohja
6. Monitoring and evaluation of programme
5. Partnership-based implementation process
(companies etc. involved)
Implementation phase
4. Nationally approved programme - making
necessary changes to programme
Planning phase
3. The development plan - official commitment of
local actors
2. Bottom up-planning process in the
region (companies and appr. 300 persons
involved) - 10 to 15 different working groups
  • The previous development workand evaluation of
    starting points
  • The local actors strong will
  • Organizing the planning process
  • Support for the planning work


5. The Use of New Know How and New Technologies
- Examples of local development projects and

Example 1 Development in the furniture business
  • The LEADER programme has been of central
    significance in development processes of
    furniture business in the region
  • The entire process was initiated through
    individual LEADER projects during the LEADER II
  • Activities were activated by local furniture
    industry businessmen in conjunction with the
    development association
  • Over the years the process has grown to form an
    entirety of significant proportions (about 10 M
    in projects), one that includes many other
    sponsors in addition to LEADER, ia EU goals
    programmes and national development programmes
  • Key question How can the marketing, production
    and product development of companies in this
    field of business be developed? And how can the
    threat of import furniture be addressed?


Example 1 Development in the furniture business
  • Current development goals are ia
  • development of regional knowledge clusters
  • development of R D activities ia by using
    production process innovations, e.g. new
    materials (thermowood), automation, computer
  • development of cluster businesses ia by using new
    skills and new business models (marketing,
    networking etc.)
  • The process is planned using a participatory plan
    where the participating local businesses and
    skilled persons have defined a common vision.
    This has created a strong sense of commitment to
    the actions planned. Actions are guided by
    professional area groups, a majority of whose
    members are businessmen.
  • The process also has international dimensions,
    thus global as opposed to local competencies are
    in interaction in the region
  • The following slide shows the development of the

The development of cluster competencies through
The Development Processof the South Ostrobothnian
furniture business from a single project to a
large scale process.
R D processes 5M consumer design 04
Intelligence furniture
Information center 03 CC- investment 04 Business services 03-04
CC-concept research 03-04
Professor 2002 Reseach program 03 Oy FFH Ltd 03
International furniture pilot 2002-04 Salesperson training 03 Middle level management training 03
Indiv.projects in firms 03
Carpenter Centre I (CC) 1997 CC II 1998 Companies development strategy 2000 New Management training 2001 International marketing 2002 National Centre for exellence 2006
Other programmes

Example 2 Development in the food industry
  • The theme of the LEADER programme was renewal of
    the food industry, ia by an increase in
    refinement The LEADER process was of great
    significance in the development of this field of
  • Key Question is How can we raise the development
    degree of this business field and initiate new
    business activity? Bio, vegetables, root crops
    and berries, local food. What new support
    structures are needed in order that this line of
    business would develop?
  • Projects
  • Local food projects (information and activation,
    production techniques)
  • Projects which seek to develop new types of
    products and production processes
  • Professional area team action projects creation
    of professional area groups
  • FoodPark- business park planning project
  • Pilot factory project for the food industry
  • Business projects e.g. seabuckthorne and flax
    refinement projects

Example 3Learning regionand the use of ICT
  • Learning region is a pilot programme covering a
    wide range of professional fields. The objectives
    of the programme are
  • To create and strengthen regional competency
  • To increase regional competency capital
  • To develop regional networking (internal and
    external networking of the region)
  • The programme is led by the University of Vaasa,
    which has 6 employees in the area
  • The key question of Learning Suupohja is
  • How do we raise the level of education of the
    area residents and bring learning opportunities
    as close as possible?
  • How do we guarantee businesses the availability
    of a capable workforce?
  • What kind of new structures should be created to
    support learning? How we can use new technology
    in learning?


The interaction of learning region makes possible
  • Educational equality between towns, rural areas
    and villages, in other words, better interaction
    between urban and rural areas
  • Bringing to the vicinity of the students a new
    type of education having many forms
  • The possibilities of an open learning environment
  • New types of learning bases and the services of a
    resource centre
  • Widespread and fast connections provided by
    computer networks
  • Arrival of a coordination unit and university to
    the area
  • Development and specialization of regional
  • An increase in competency capital

Example 3Learning Regionand the use of ICT
  • Learning region ICT-Projects, in which LEADER
    has been a participant
  • Regional portal
  • includes ia educational, residential and
    employment pages
  • Learning base -projects. All in all the region
    has 13 learning bases
  • Regional broadband project
  • The objective is a broadband network based on
    fibre-optics and covering the entire region
  • The network will be built during the summer of
  • 95 of households in the region will be within
    the scope of the network
  • Will function on a principle of Open Access (48
    pairs of fibre)
  • Household connections 8 Mb at the minimum
  • Makes possible e.g. undisturbed transmission of
    a moving picture for interactive education

The Learning Region Model
Vaasa Wasa
Suupohja sub-region
  • Corporate University
  • Open university
  • Professors (2) and
  • reseach groups
  • 4. Learning bases and
  • web-based training
  • (Moodle)
  • Broadband to
  • every village
  • Other co-operation
  • between schools
  • - joint training
  • moduls

Regional coodinator
Other regions
6. The SummaryResults, Lesson Learned Future


LEADER process - bottom up-approach
  • The best result LEADER has taught the actors
    of the region a new
  • manner of action
  • use of bottom up-planning processes
  • increasing / intensifying regional strategic
  • New actors included in development activities
  • implementation). Active idea groups were
    formed. This has produced
  • new, innovative projects and introduced new
  • Through the programme significant development
    processes were
  • set in motion, ia
  • - Carpenter Centre and development of the
  • business,
  • - linseed flax and seabuckthorn berry
  • - Kauhajoki Food Park process (pilot factory
    and visitor centre)


LEADER process - bottom up-approach
  • Increased general program awareness and
    competency in the area
  • Increased networking contacts nationally as
    well as internationally
  • Advanced regional cooperation
  • A model for action based on partnership has
    also been the
  • basis for the aims and organization of other,
    national funded
  • development programme
  • Last but not least Naturally, LEADER process
    has also created new
  • jobs, new companies and new products.

Some Future Actions
  • Guaranteeing the results of successful
    development processes and preparing the strategic
    programmes of a new programme period
  • EU, ia LEADER-type activities
  • National programmes
  • Continued strengthening of rural competency
  • Renewing local business activities through their
  • Efficient use of the new information network and
    ICT in the area
  • Creation of new types of business activities
  • Food industry components
  • New manners of business in the wood and furniture
  • Design, marketing, process innovations
  • Culture of entrepreneurship
  • Application of computer technology, for example
    in care services

  • Everyday challenges of the development
  • programme process, ie
  • How to maintain the activeness of the actors in
    the LAG and in other workgroups?
  • How to continue the development of communications
    and interaction
  • How to efficiently manage the coordination
    between projects?

Finally the fundamental challenges
  • In order to maintain the active partnership
    process of
  • development, we should from time to time ask some
  • do the actors have an adequately common
    understanding of the vision, goals and actions?
  • do the actors accept the goals and actions of the
    vision and are they committed to them?
  • are cooperation structures and contracts clear?
  • is the model of cooperation too difficult?
  • do the actors involved have the authority to act?
  • diversity of the actors network are all
    essential actors involved?
  • are there adequate resources for internal
  • Exterior challenges
  • reacting to and anticipating changing trends.
    Have the right things been done? Well, the
    future will tell us


LEADER approach The driving force of
development work ?
Thank you for listening. More information www.suupohj
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