University of Helsinki Science and Business in Dialogue – Food sector meeting

Today, I had pleasure to participate Science and Business Dialogue forum in which university, business and government come together to discuss pertinent issues in business and research.

University of Helsinki, opening speech
Jaana Husu-Kallio – University of Helsinki, opening speech

Our host was University of Helsinki and Sally Weaver was moderating the discussion. Innovation, international marketing, brands and digital marketing are clearly the themes that attract both attention of Finnish government, companies and and universities as well. Jaana Husu-Kallio from University of Helsinki open the forum for presentations and discussions. Jaana highlighted the importance of open cooperation (innovation) between university and companies. Then we had pleasure of having Heikki Juutinen Finnish Food and Drink Industries associations CEO/chair man. He supported the industry-university cooperation but also highlighted rightly that the Food and Drink industry companies vary in size, need and type of collaboration and Tekes type of projects are not always an option. After Heikki, research director Ilmo Aronen from Raisioagro gave excellent presentation on possibilities of industry-university cooperation which has lead to innovation Benemilk solution with also digital extension as a Tuotostutka which enables digital remote monitoring in e.g. cow nutrition management. We also had two other speakers from University of Helsinki Juha Helenius and Minna Autio. Juha presented an innovative closed agriculture ecosystem that produces eco milk, bread and other eco products while Minna highlighted the co-consumption and innovation by experience in the pet industry. In addition, to main speakers we had invited comments from three companies Valio, Lantmännen Unibake Inernational and Kyrö Distillery Company. Miika Lipiäinen from Kyrö Distillery Company highlighted that small companies have limited resources to participate and that closed innovation systems are not necessarily efficient.

Overall, I can say that Finnish government, companies and universities are eager to cooperate and innovate but question remains how we match the relevant needs. If a minimum “bet” for company is 5000 euros and entrepreneur has to bill 45.000€ for that 5000€ it is too much for SMEs. Open systems without bets are needed.

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