MicroENTRE Projects

Micro-enterprise growth platform (MikroY)

Main financier: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Council of Oulu Region

Project administrator: University of Oulu, Kerttu Saalasti Institute

Operating period: 1 January 2015 - 31 July 2018


  1. Generating and distributing reliable information about micro-enterprises
  2. Creating an operating model that allows micro-enterprises to participate
  3. Studying, experimenting with and commissioning operating models that promote the growth and internationalisation of micro-enterprises
  4. Establishing a micro-entrepreneurship research, development and training centre

Contact person: Matti Muhos, matti.muhos@oulu.fi, +358 400 407 59


Developing entrepreneurship education in North Ostrobothnia (PoPYk)

Main financier: European Social Fund (ESF) via the North Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

Project administrator: University of Oulu, Kerttu Saalasti Institute

Operating period: 1 January 2015 - 30 April 2018


  1. Achieving a shared view in the province of entrepreneurship education
  2. Creating an entrepreneurship education strategy and operating model for North Ostrobothnia
  3. Adapting general policies with the practical work of educational establishments
  4. Establishing a shared material bank to share good entrepreneurship education models and practices
  5. Promoting versatile entrepreneurship education expertise, the methods used and the materials used
  6. Securing continuity of entrepreneurship education support functions

The joint provincial development will create a path for students into working life where entrepreneurship is a potential career option.

Parties involved in the implementation of the project: University of Oulu Martti Ahtisaari Institute and Faculty of Education, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Centria University of Applied Sciences, the Federation of Education in Jokilaaksot, the Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education, the city of Oulu, the town of Kuusamo and the municipality of Pyhäjoki.

Expert organisation: Villinikkarit Oy

Contact person: project manager Leena Eskola, leena.eskola@oulu.fi, +358 40 090 6103


SoteYBoost – Social and health care entrepreneur booster (SoteYBoost)

Main financier: European Social Fund (ESF) via the North Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

Project administrator: Oulu University of Applied Sciences; party involved in the implementation of the project: University of Oulu, Kerttu Saalasti Institute, micro-entrepreneurship research team

Operating period: 1 April 2015 - 31 April 2018


  1. Studying special characteristics linked to the growth of social and health care industry companies and creating a training programme (responsible party: University of Oulu, Oulu Southern Institute)
  2. User-based development of the services offered by social and health care sector companies, taking into account wellbeing at work (responsible party: Oulu University of Applied Sciences)
  3. Digital media training for social and health care sector companies and promoting the use of electronic systems (responsible party: Oulu University of Applied Sciences)

Contact person: project researcher Anna-Mari Simunaniemi, anna-mari.simunaniemi@oulu.fi, +358 50 466 2832


Evidence-based health promotion @work (Promo@Work)

Funder: Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland

Coordinator: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health; partners: University of Oulu / Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu/Department of Information Processing Science, University of Tampere/School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cologne

Period: April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2019

The aim is to produce evidence-based guidelines for WHP by combining different aspects of health promotion. An intervention will be planned to test if a tailored eHealth intervention based on persuasive technologies is more effective than tailored

WHP counseling for micro-entrepreneurs in a cluster randomized controlled trial. For evaluating of WHP activities, indicators of successful process and effects, including financial measures, will be studied and developed.

Contacts at MicroENTRE: post-doc researcher Anna-Mari Simunaniemi, anna-mari.simunaniemi@oulu.fi, + 358 50 466 2832 and research manager Matti Muhos, matti.muhos@oulu.fi, +358 400 407 590

More about the project: https://www.ttl.fi/tutkimushanke/promo-at-work/ (in Finnish)


The growth and export experimentation network of Oulunkaari arc and Koillismaa region - OK#GrowthNetwork

Main funder: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Council of Oulu Region

Project Administrator: Joint Municipality of Oulunkaari, Co-operation with the University of Oulu, Kerttu Saalasti Institute Microenterprise Research Group MicroENTRE and Naturpolis Ltd - Nordic Business Center

Duration: 1.8.2016 - 30.6.2019

Objective 1: Establishment of an enterprise-driven growth and export experimentation network.

Objective 2: Experiments promoting the commercialization and growth of microenterprises.

Objective 3: Implementation of cost-effective export experiments .

Objective 4: Commercialization, growth and export openings, as well as the dissemination of experiences and best practises.

The project is committed by 50 micro-enterprises that also fund the project.

Contact: Project researcher Martti Saarela, martti.saarela@oulu.fi, 040 559 6996


Business model innovation and internationalization of process industry SMEs (ProcessSME)

Project funding. The project is funded by Interreg  V A Nord 2014-2020.
Project period is from 1st September, 2016 to 31st August, 2019.  Budget for EU-funded part (Sweden + Finland) is 1 343 321 euros and the Norwegian part is 419 512 euros.

Project partners. Project is coordinated by Lapland University of Applied Sciences. Other project partners are Luleå Tekniska Universitet, Norut Narvik, Industriellt Utvecklings Centrum Norrbotten AB, University of Oulu, Nivala-Haapajärvi Subregion Association and Industrial Park in Nivala.

The main objective of ProcessSME project is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs whose customers are found within the process/mining/energy/oil/gas industries.

The project provides support for SMEs in finding the needs and opportunities, developing new business models, building European partnerships, applying for EU-level funding, and further to develop SMEs products and services.

Project partners from Finland, Norway and Sweden will work together with 80 SMEs to develop business models, participate in EU-level project proposals as well as other border-crossing business activities.

Read more http://process-sme.eu/process-sme/processsme-project/  


The MindBusiness

Funder: Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland

Project Administrator: University of Oulu, Faculty of Education. Partners OAMK, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute MicroENTRE

Duration:  1.4.2017-31.12.2019

The MindBusiness project develops a new operational model to advance practices for entrepreneurship thinking in higher education. Earlier projects have focused on enhancing the development of business ideas and supporting startup companies. However, the early phase of entrepreneurial thinking and higher education student activation has been lacking support until now. This is the main aim of the MindBusiness project. The core idea is to inspire students’ entrepreneurial awareness, supporting their self-identification of their own potential and prompting their entrepreneurial capacity.

Contact person: project researcher Leena Eskola, leena.eskola@oulu.fi, 0400906103. Read more: http://www.oulu.fi/mindbusiness-en/


Pohjois-Savo micro-enterprise growth network (#MikroGrow)

Main funding: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo and Pohjois-Savo Development Fund
Project coordinator: Development Company SavoGrow Oy. Partners Town of Iisalmi, City of Kuopio/Business Services, Navitas Kehitys Oy and micro-entrepreneurship research team of the Kerttu Saalasti Institute at the University of Oulu (MicroEntre). Duration: 1 April 2017-31 Dec 2019


  • Main objective is to gather a network of 120 micro-entrepreneurs and related research, develoment and training organisations from Pohjois-Savo Region dedicated to increase growth and export through brief testing of new ideas and methods. Aim is to attract an even number of participants from the whole region (30+30+30+30 companies/region: Ylä-Savo, Kuopio, Varkaus, SavoGrow operating region).
  • Quick trials of commercialization and growth for micro-enterprises.
  • Cost effective export trials.
  • Distribution of experiences and success stories.

    Contact person: Project Manager Laura Vänskä, laura.vanska@savogrow.fi, 0207 464 656
    Further information: www.savogrow.fi/mikrogrow


Creative solutions

Main funding: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, State funding

Duration 1.8.2017 – 31.7.2019


To promote the growth of the creative industries, support is needed, especially in sparsely populated areas. High level of training and expertise of the creative industry entrepreneurs are strengths of business, as well as good products. A large number of companies are micro-enterprises with weak business expertise. The home market is small, the distribution channels are weak and uneven value chain.

The aim of the Creative solutions project is to implement training program in commercialization and business expertise areas, especially for entrepreneurs and businesses in the creative industries personnel.

The novelty value of the project in the implementation area is the promotion of entrepreneurship in the creative industries by the training package. The value added by the training entity is the new method of implementation, where the training content will immediately be applied as pilot experiments in participating companies. The implementation of pilot experiments will be conducted so, that at least two companies work together with the project staff. Experiments

are documented and the results obtained will be distributed to a wider audience for use.

The project has four Work Packages.

Work Package 1: Training entity implementation plan and support of the implementation

Work Package 2: The commercialization of the creative industries and business training program

Work Package 3: Commercialization and business pilot experiments

Work package 4: Project management, administration and communication

Training will be conducted taking into account the special characteristics of sparsely populated area making use of virtuality (distance learning) and co-development. The goal is to get participants do experimental interfaces as part of the training, and enlarge their networks in the creative and other industries. In addition, the project aims to spread the good experience of the network.

Contact persons: project researcher Heli Kurikkala 040-8261444, heli.kurikkala@oulu.fi and project manager Tuomas Anttila 044-4457007, tuomas.anttila@nihak.fi


Energy mine

Main financier: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Council of Oulu Region

Coordinator: Geological Survey of Finland, partner: University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute

Operating period: 1.9.2017-31.8.2019

Bedrock heat energy provides a carbon-free solution to the energy source of buildings and thermal networks especially in the latitudes of Finland, but so far only the near-surface heat source has been exploited using thermal wells reaching a maximum depth of about 500 m. The aim of this study is to examine possibilities to utilize bedrock heat of the depth range 500 – 2500 m using Pyhäsalmi mine as the research target. At this depth-range, heat content of the bedrock is larger than near the surface, also new more effective methods for heat collection can be developed and tested in underground conditions. The energy strategic aim is to study methods and feasibility to utilize the energy obtained. Can the obtained heat flow be exploited as a part of local energy system of Pyhäsalmi municipality, are the local results reproducible elsewhere at sites with corresponding underground constructions or is it possible to develop a general concept from the results obtained. Third aim is to study possibilities to develop new business opportunities.

Contact person: post-doc researcher Katariina Ala-Rämi, katariina.ala-rami@oulu.fi,  p. 050 350 9471  and specialist researcher Lasse Ahonen, lasse.ahonen@gtk.fi, p. 0295032522


The Network of microenterprises in Lapland

Funding: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via Regional Council of Lapland

Coordinating: University of Lapland, co-operating: University of Oulu, Kerttu Saalasti Institute, research center Micro Entre, Lapland university of applied sciences and Digipolis Kemi

The aim of this project will be reached through four work packages:

- Establishment of an enterprise-driven growth and export experimentation network.

- Experiments promoting the commercialization and growth of microenterprises.

- Implementation of cost-effective export experiments.

- Commercialization, growth and export openings, as well as the dissemination of experiences and best


- New knowledge development of micro-enterprises, and sharing the new knowledge in the networks.

There are about 60 companies in the network in Rovaniemi and Kemi-Tornio areas.

Operating time: 1.11.2017-31.10.2019

Contact: Project researcher Kati Vehmas, University of Oulu, kati.vehmas@oulu.fi, p. 050 4127456


Sales is a King

Main financier: European Social Fund (ESF) via the North Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
Project administrator: Nivala-Haapajärven seutu NIHAK ry, project partners: University of Oulu/Kerttu Saalasti Institute/Micro-entrepreneurship research team, Haapaveden-Siikalatvan seudun kuntayhtymä, The town of Raahe/ Raahe District Business Services, Centria University of Applied Sciences.
Operating period: 2/2018 – 12/2020.

Overall project goal is to develop business capability, sales performance and selling competences of the participating companies from southern parts of Northern Ostrobothnia. Project tasks include organizing workshops for company sales managers and sales personnel, as well as company specific workshops to whole organization. In addition, new kind of cooperation between companies, municipal business services and different kind of educational organizations is developed during the project.

Contact person: post-doctoral researcher Mirja Väänänen, mirja.vaananen@oulu.fi, +358 40 832 1003



Last updated: 12.9.2018