South Savo is the southernmost region in East Finland, and it is also a part of the Southeast Finland. The region is just a couple of hours drive from the Finnish capital Helsinki and around four hours by train from Saint Petersburg. The region´s total area encompasses around 19,000 km²; it is Finland´s eight largest region with approximately 146,000 inhabitants. The region consists of fourteen municipalities three of which are towns Mikkeli, Pieksämäki and Savonlinna.
Wood, technology and service industries are the most important branches of industry and largest employers in South Savo. The population of South Savo nearly doubles every summer when summer residents and vacationers come to the region to enjoy of the wide range of cultural attractions and international festivals and games or just easy living in a clean, safe and pleasant environment.
Moreover, South Savo is well-known for the lake Saimaa, which is the fourth largest lake in Europe, with its countless islands, vendace and rare species of Saimaa ringed seal. The region has over 30,000 kilometres of shoreline, and the lake Saimaa is also connected to the Baltic Sea by Saimaa Channel.
The Smart Specialization Priorities of South Savo
New forest biomass products and production processes
South Savo´s local strengths are abundant forest resources, well-growing forests and unused raw material potential. In fact, South Savo is Finland´s most significant region when it comes to timber production and utilization of timber resources. The goal is to further increase the use of forest energy resources and raise the utilization of renewable energy, as well as to raise the degree of processing. In this specialization theme, the goal is to obtain a higher processing value from forest biomass by growing fast-growing trees for different usage requirements and developing new high value-added products from forest biomass.
Clean water technologies and concepts
The quantity of fresh water is only three per cent of all the water in the world. Currently, 25% of the fresh water used goes to the needs of industry, which are predicted to continue to grow. The market related to the processing of water and wastewater is growing strongly, and the industry's value network becomes more diverse alongside this. These global growth prospects in the water sector are the base for South Savo's development goals. Treatment expertise of process water can be applied to, for example, mine water both domestically and abroad the need for water treatment increases as the demand for more minerals grows at the same time as the environmental regulations are tightened. South Savo already has strong industrial and urban wastewater treatment expertise, RDI activities in the environmental sector and significant projects that support them, as well as companies in the environmental sector. South Savo is already one of the national leaders in the field, and the goal of the local actors in the near future is to expand into international business
Food purity and safety of the food chain
South Savo´s position in our country's food production is undisputed. The region has significant special know-how related to the food and foodstuffs cluster. Creating innovative cooperation models in the whole food chain is important to increase their profitability and efficiency. Therefore, we need innovative logistics and distribution solutions and network business models. Smart food safety solutions cover new kinds of so-lutions that promote food safety and the traceability of foodstuffs, as well as the identification of the origin of raw materials, whether they are programmes, applications, services, operating models, packages or communication solutions. The goal is to create new business with food safety innovations.
The common denominator for all the top priority areas is digitality. In above priority areas digitality refers to making production and service processes more efficient. Digitalized processes produce more manageable information that enables new kinds of services, processes and business built on top of information can be produced with digital processes easier than before. Digitality especially modernizes service business activities and means that the possibilities of the Internet can be adopted into wider use. This brings real-time global markets and competitive opportunities close to the region's actors. These must be seized so that innovative business activities can be developed. Service innovations supporting service business, with which the actors´ joint user-oriented service processes are created, are centrally related to all three priority areas. These top priority selections form the core of South Savo´s bioeconomy.
More information on Smart Specialization in South Savo here (pdf).