Otaniemi Technology Hub
Otaniemi is the largest technology, innovation and business hub in Finland and in Northern Europe (according to the number of companies and R&D centers located within its vicinity).
Otaniemi is physically located in the City of Espoo (Finland’s second largest city) and within 8 km (15 minutes by car) from the center of Helsinki, Finland’s capital.
Otaniemi features a mix world-class research organizations, academic institutions and over 800 companies from start-ups to multinational corporations operating around a compact 2×2 kilometer campus, including the global headquarters for Nokia, Kone, Fortum, Neste Oil, Huhtamaki, Tekla and Rovio’s Angry Birds. Within 15 minutes there are additionally over 8,500 ICT cluster companies, over 12,000 Knowledge Intensive Business Services companies. Just counting ICT and KIBS, there are over 140,000 high value add jobs – all within 15 minutes.
Twice selected by the EU as one of the most innovative regions in Europe, Otaniemi is a community of over 32,000 people with 16,000 students and 16,000 technology professionals from 110 different countries. There are 5000 researchers within walking distance.
History – Where It All Started
As late as the 1940s, Otaniemi was used for agriculture. In 1949, the Government of Finland purchased the lands of Otaniemi manor for use as the campus of the Helsinki University of Technology – TKK (now a significant part of Aalto University) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The famous architect, Alvar Aalto, who was the professor or architecture was given the task of designing an American style university campus, where everything is in one place. First to be built was the student campus of TKK, which also served as one of the Olympic Villages in the 1952 games. Several thousand students currently live in Otaniemi.
Otaniemi, which has grown up around TKK and VTT, is the core of Finnish science and technology activities. The area is architecturally unique, boasting buildings designed by leading Finnish architects including Alvar Aalto, Heikki and Kaija Sirén, and Reima and Raili Pietilä. Otaniemi is a prime example of how physical proximity and interconnectedness foster collaboration and innovation between public and private organizations. Inside the area one can find multiple critical masses for disruptive innovation creation, and it helps that Otaniemi has so many different cultures and sciences mixed, universitites and corporations mixed. Tiede-Taide-Talous or Science-Art-Business.
Otaniemi Today – Bridging Innovation and Business
Otaniemi is known internationally for its leading expertise in ICT thanks to Nokia.
Nowadays, Otaniemi boast Rovio’s Angt Birds as its latest success story. Furthermore, additional cutting-edge technology clusters at Otaniemi include including mobility-based software and webware, as well as nanotechnology and microelectonics.
Companies, technology centers and universities do world class research in a close-knit community that encourages collaborative R&D and commercial collaboration.
Otaniemi also hosts a number of multinational corporations like such as Kone, Fortum, Neste Oil, Microsoft, Bayer, LG Display, Samsung and over 100 other foreign companies. Hundreds of networking and matchmaking events and activities are organized, to help generate new opportunities between key players at Otaniemi and potential Finnish and international partners. Virtual incubation and startup creation activities at Venture Garage, Startup Sauna, VTT Ventures and Spinno Enterprise Center help create between 40 and 70 new startups every year. Risk financing events, such as Technopolis MoneyTalks and MoneyTalks Forum help raise risk financing. In last five years over 180 startups have delivered pitches at these events. Nearly 50% of them have scored!
Toward the Future – Aalto University, T3 Strategy and Beyond
The all-new Aalto University has started operations in Otaniemi with TKK being transformed intothe Aalto School of Science and Technology. This unique concept merged three top Finnish universities; the University of Art and Design Helsinki (TaiK), the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and the Helsinki School of Economics (HSE), to encompass new joint research and teaching programs.
Aalto University’s first Factory called the Design Factory has already started operations in Otaniemi as well as the Aalto Venture Garage for entrepreneurial students.
The state and private sector have jointly invested an endowment of 700 million euros in the new university to support its activities. The goal for the new university is to be one of the leading institutions in the world in terms of research, education and innovation in its selected niches by 2020.
A brand new Metro will take you from Helsinki to Otaniemi and points West in 2015.
By 2030 there will be 15,000 new jobs and 300,000 new m2 of commercial space. According to city of Espoo’s T3 strategy plans Otaniemi will be integrated into the neighboring Keilaniemi and Tapiola districs creating a unique campus that combines research, art and business.