Rural micro-enterprise and SME analytics and collaborative knowledge management of growth and export factors (KasvuDATA) were studied in North Ostrobothnia

Finland's population and economy have been concentrated for a long time and the economic polarization of the regions is challenging the welfare society. In the KasvuDATA project, Ossi Kotavaara, Director of Research on Regional Excellence at the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute, Anna-Mari Simunaniemi, Director of Micro-Entrepreneurship Research, Senior Researcher Ulla Lehtinen and Project Researcher Pauliina Björk conducted a data-based analysis of rural SME growth, industry-specific perspectives, employment and exports as well as related regional factors in Northern Ostrobothnia. The analysis will be used to explore more functional growth models for different types of rural areas.
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The starting point for the study was rural areas experiencing growth and decline as well as the high potential that micro and small enterprises have for innovation and growth. Attention was also paid to the impact of small enterprises on the economy, especially in rural areas. The study found that the growth factors of small enterprises and service and goods exports in rural areas have not previously been studied with sufficient accuracy. The need for data-based monitoring was found on several fronts.

Information was needed to:
1. monitor changes across space and time more accurately and comparably
2. identify rural growth hotspots and business ecosystem development as well as weak growth signals,
3. identify and share best practices in supporting business growth, and
4. better allocate and target resources for business support.

The KasvuDATA project produced new statistical data in response to these needs by combining several enterprise-level register databases with regional data using database, statistical and spatial data methods. Analytics on the development of enterprise establishment, employment, and turnover at the municipal level in North Ostrobothnia was produced in the study as time series data. The focus was on rural areas and micro-enterprises of economic importance to them.

The study was carried out in co-learning workshops with organizations providing business services in the region. The knowledge base produced was analyzed together with the business services in rural areas of North Ostrobothnia from the perspective of key change processes and the overall situation in North Ostrobothnia. The partners were kept informed throughout the project and key statistics were produced as part of an interactive online service.

Publication (in Finnish):
Pauliina Björk, Ossi Kotavaara, Anna-Mari Simunaniemi & Ulla Lehtinen: Maaseudun PK- ja mikroyritysten kasvu- ja vientiolosuhteiden data-analytiikka ja yhteisoppiva tietojohtaminen Pohjois-Pohjanmaalla

Last updated: 28.11.2023