New Entrepreneurship and Smart Communities

We conduct development projects in national and international networks on smart communities and new economic activities.

Rural areas and small-sized cities in particular are facing challenges of being able to maintain services and workplaces, as well as having access to skilled employees, and preserving the overall vitality of the regions. The development towards a digitalised society may bring a solution to many of these challenges, however flexibility and an ability to accommodate change are needed. We help rural regions to grasp the opportunities and develop solutions collaboratively by bringing regional actors together into smart communities, which are able to turn the challenges into regional competitiveness.

We work also actively within the area of entrepreneurship development in general. Our development projects contribute to strengthen the success and employment of the industries in the region, as well as to advance the development of novel innovations based on regional areas of special expertise.

Development projects


CAROTS in short

The objective of CAROTS is to establish a new type of SME – Commercial Analytical Research Organisations (CAROs) – providing services in various fields. CAROs will help enterprises to benefit from knowledge and potential of scientists and research facilities in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). They will facilitate access of companies to advanced research infrastructures (ARI) and to scientific expertise needed to solve analytical tasks in areas like e.g. New Materials, NanoTech or Life Sciences and thus significantly expedite innovation.

The goal of CAROTS is to initiate a test bed in the BSR for a new type of intermediaries between industry and ARIs. CAROTS aims at involving private capital – by investing in CAROs – in the collaboration between industries and publicly owned analytical facilities.

Although a few CAROs already exist in Europe, we see a high potential for additional enterprises of this type. CAROTS wants to improve conditions for this type of industrial research start-ups along with greater visibility, better knowledge transfer and by attracting entrepreneurs and venture capitalists for support.

Implementation time: 1/2019—12/2021 

More information: Mikkö Grönlund / Tuomas

Logo of CAROTS project.Interreg and EU Regional Development Fund logos

Previous projects

BalticSatApps – Speeding up Copernicus-based innovation in Baltic Sea Region

The European Copernicus Programme provides Earth Observation (EO) data free of charge on an open-access basis. The Copernicus services are based on satellite and in situ observations, and cater to even near real-time data needs. The services provide global data which can also be used for local and regional needs. The data can, for example, help to make visible different phenomena affecting Earth, such as climate change and urban development. The three-year BalticSatApps project has focused on the development of novel innovations leveraging this data and has covered and supported the whole chain of new service or application development from needs to solutions, and from there to commercialisation. The project has been conducted in close collaboration between the project partners from Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russian Federation, and Sweden.

The BalticSatApps project started by approaching the user and developer scene of EO data. The results show that land, climate change and marine are the most demanded application areas for the users of EO data.

Based on the findings, the project proceeded to conduct innovation competitions and hackathons in EO. At the same time, an acceleration programme in EO was being developed and piloted in Estonia, Poland, and Finland for the first time after the first hackathons. After further innovation contests and hackathons, the acceleration programme was organised for the second time. Through the acceleration programme, the project has contributed to the founding of 10 new startups and supported them on their way to commercialise satellite data.

The project has also fostered collaboration with the Russian Federation within the thematic area of EO. In addition to information and training events arranged there, a Russian interface for Copernicus data was developed. The Interface integrates Copernicus and Russian satellite data sources, and it is possible for anyone to test it with the help of the instructions presented on the BalticSatApps website.

Tartu Observatory (EE), Tartu Science Park Foundation, (EE), Finnish Meteorological Institute (FI), Turku Science Park Ltd (FI), University of Turku (Lead partner, FI), Cracow University of Technology – Technology Transfer Centre, Institute of Geodesy and Cartography (PL), Krakow Technology Park (PL), Non-commercial Partnership – European-Russian InnoPartnership (RU), St. Petersburg State Unitary Enterprise – St. Petersburg Information and Analytical Centre (RU), and Swedish National Space Board (SE). 

The project is coordinated by the Brahea Centre at the University of Turku, and involves as well the Department of Future Technologies and the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Turku.

Imlementation time

Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020, Russian Federation; European Neighbourhood Instrument, Regional Council of Southwest Finland, and University of Turku

More information: Tuomas Ranti / Johanna Aaltonen /

Press release of the University of Turku: 


Baltic TRAM

Baltic TRAM (Transnational Research Access in the Macroregion) was an international project which seeked to strengthen the relationship between analytical research institutions and business, and linked expertise to concrete industrial needs. The project operated in the Baltic Sea Region during 3/2016-2/2019.

Baltic Tram Project page

Closing of the Baltic TRAM project and lessons learnt