(TURKU, FINLAND) Initiated to support the growth and competitiveness of Finland’s maritime industry, the Maritime Accelerator programme for businesses will be implemented this year, too. Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku have already announced their participation in this year’s programme. The programme received positive feedback; it helps big, globally operating companies to find new co-operation opportunities in growth-seeking SMEs.
In the Maritime Accelerator programme leading maritime industry companies strengthen their competitiveness by finding partners among growth companies that bring new innovations to the industry. Started last year, the activities gained a lot of positive feedback from the participants. The discussions with potential new partners for this year’s programme are nearly completed. Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku have already announced their participation this year, too.
“Competition in the industry calls for continuous renewal, and introducing innovations created in other lines of business to maritime industry is one tool. Last year, the programme compiled a list of 500 internationally attractive growth companies, and through initial screening, interviews and workshops, both Royal Caribbean and Meyer each found two such growth companies with which they started co-operation”, says Jukka Laiterä, Senior Advisor responsible for the implementation of the programme in Turku Science Park Ltd.
According to Mr Laiterä, the principal partners of the programme gave a very positive overall rating on the first programme. The overall rating was 3.9 in a scale from 1–5.
“In addition to the new co-operation projects generated within the programme, and the positive spirit of working together, the partner companies said that they had also learned a great deal about their internal processes. Thus the second round gives the partners an opportunity to work even more efficiently e.g. in finalising the assignments and choosing participants in the final stages of the programme.”
Juhani Pitkänen, Technology Director of Royal Caribbean stresses the importance of the accelerator programme as a tool for development and renewal.
“Up to now, the cruise business has largely leaned on traditions, and the industry practices have been conservative. With rapid growth and fierce competition, the old ways of working are no longer enough to maintain our competitiveness. Through Maritime Accelerator we want to find a new innovative approach to develop our business, challenge our own thinking, and find new solutions for enhancing our competitiveness provided by partners outside the industry”, Juhani Pitkänen says.
The search for principal partners will continue until the summer. Then the themes will be determined, and Turku Science Park Ltd’s partner Avanto Ventures will look for hundreds of growth companies from around the world during the summer. Through interviews, meetings and workshops, December will show what kinds of new ideas and partners the leading maritime industry companies will have found within the programme.
Started in 2018, Maritime Accelerator is a business accelerator programme produced by Turku Science Park Ltd together with Avanto Ventures. Co-operation between last year’s finalists and partners still continues after the completion of the first programme.
Jukka Laiterä, Senior Advisor, Turku Science Park Ltd
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Sofia Tuominen, Program Manager, Turku Science Park Ltd
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Camilla Karhukorpi, Chief Corporate Venturing Programs, Avanto Ventures Oy
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Turku Business Region is the most dynamic cluster of business and innovation activities in Finland. The 22,000 companies, six universities, and an extensive co-operation network of different players in the region speed up the generation of new products and services as well as growth of business operations and local well-being.
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