In autumn 2019, JAMK University of Applied Sciences received ERDF funding for a project to create a business accelerator operating model. The business accelerator was developed in collaboration with enterprises, the City of Saarijärvi and key strategic partners, such as the Baltic Sea Action Group, the Finnish Forest Centre, ProAgria Central Finland, KasvuOpen Oy and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Bioeconomy is a rapidly growing sector that opens up new opportunities for businesses. The objective of the business accelerator, known as BioPaavo, is to create a systematic operating model to accelerate the business development and growth of SMEs in the bioeconomy sector.

"New bioeconomy and circular economy business is constantly developed in Finland and around the world that is based on sustainable use of renewable natural resources. This, in turn, promotes resource efficiency and carbon reduction. The aim of the Business Accelerator is to help innovative and growth-oriented SMEs develop and commercialise solutions to mitigate climate change," says Project Manager Merja Rehn.

The project will last three years. During this period, an operating model will be created that will provide enterprises in the bioeconomy sector with added value in solving development challenges, as well as an earnings logic and financing base to secure the continuation of the operations even after the end of the project.

The business accelerator combines rural areas and state-of-the-art communications technology, natural resources, strong R&D services, new partnerships and learning. The project will provide an innovative framework for bioeconomy and the development of environmentally friendly business and new added value services in Saarijärvi.