A donation of EUR 225,000 from the Säästöpankki Optia to the University of Oulu
The donation is part of a substantial donation campaign to be carried out by Säästöpankki Optia this autumn.
"Acts of responsibility are at the core of the Säästöpankki ethos. Every year, we distribute a portion of our profits to promote local well-being and vitality. The Säästöpankki Optia board's intention has been to direct one of the donations to positively influence the future of business and industrial life in the Oulu region. Supporting university education and research is an effective way to enhance the region's competitiveness and future preparedness," says Antero Savolainen, Chairman of the Board of Säästöpankki Optia.
In collaboration with the University of Oulu, a precise theme was defined for the use of the donation. With this donation, entrepreneurship and micro-entrepreneurship research and education will be promoted at the Oulu University School of Business and the Kerttu Saalasti Institute.
"We warmly congratulate the 140-year-old Säästöpankki Optia and thank them for their trust. Through research on micro-entrepreneurship, we aim to enhance the expertise and growth of micro-enterprises, as well as the competitiveness of entrepreneurs and the region. Our goal by the end of the year is to recruit Finland's first professor of micro-entrepreneurship," says Jouko Niinimäki, Rector of the University of Oulu.
The donation is intended to be directed towards the initiation of a new professorship, the expansion of a research group, and the advancement of doctoral research. The goal is specifically to examine exports, which are considerably less common for Finnish micro-enterprises than in many other European countries. Additionally, new educational solutions will be developed to promote continuous learning for micro-enterprises.
"Of the actively operating companies in Finland, over 90% are micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 employees. Therefore, the chosen allocation of the donation has the potential to impact a broad spectrum of businesses and the economy. Besides benefiting the local community, the donation also has societal significance," states Heikki Paasonen, CEO of Säästöpankki Optia."