“Tampere Region. It’s All Bright! So what makes Tampere so special? Sun-bathed lakes and lush ridges, local bakers’ butter-eyed buns, fresh urban nature, animated and at the same time peaceful environment, welcoming like a small village with a cosmopolitan atmosphere.”
(Smart Europe Project: Tampere Assessment Report 2013, p. 3)
In spite of its innovativeness, Tampere is far from a hard-boiled business city; its image among Finns is actually very convivial. Tampere is the number one centre for theatre, with tens of professional theatres which gather their audiences from all over the country. The city has been labelled home to so-called Suomi-rock (“Finnish rock”) since the 1970s. The national TV channel (TV2) is most of all renowned for its programs targeted at children and teenagers. The local amusement park has the second largest number of annual visitors in the country. It must be as a result of these and other factors that, all through the 2000s, Tampere has time and again been positioned in the first spot in polls asking about the most preferable city to migrate to. The city is characterized by a combination of an inspiring climate of innovation, high educational status and the Nordic style of welfare.
And the future will be…?
If we first look back at the 1990s, there was a recognized problem of low entrepreneurialism regarding knowledge-intensive businesses and especially their lack of growth orientation. Promising firms either remained rather small and lacked global market ambition or were sold to foreign owners, and the real growth took place somewhere else. However, this did not matter that much during the period of dominance of large companies. Now, when it matters, the future looks bright even to the eyes of sceptical observers: in 2015, there are approximately 200 firms that fulfill the criteria of a growth firm. This, more than any other fact, tells that what used to be a major weakness of the local innovation environment has become a future asset and a guarantee of industrial renewal.
Tampere’s innovation tradition is very much alive and kicking.