The Republic of Finland, a member of the European Union, lies in the north of Europe. Finland borders Sweden in the west and Russia in the east. Some 5.2 million people live in Finland. Finnish territory covers 338,000 square kilometers and includes 60,000 lakes. The whole country is covered in a blanket of snow in the winter, but summers are warm and beautiful. The population of the metropolitan area of the capital, Helsinki, including suburban cities of Espoo and Vantaa is one million.Finland’s GNP per capita totaled EUR 25000 in 2004, which was close to the mean for the European Union.
Finland is a modern and progressive country with good social services and highly developed and specialized industries. The most significant industries deal with metal and engineering products, forest products and products of information technology like mobile phones. Finnish high-tech exports grew over the ten-year span between 1989 and 1998 from 1 billion to 7 billion U.S. dollars. Main trade partners include Sweden, Germany, Russia, UK and USA. About 95 percent of the Finnish households have cell phones, 65 percent own a personal computer and 52 percent have an internet connection.
International evaluations of Finnish innovation activities and competitiveness have shown that Finland ranks in these fields among the first ones in the world. Finland is among the first nations in the world in domestic patent applications per population and number one in high tech patents. The Finnish know-how, invention activity, networking and the various programs and funding for advisory services, evaluation, patenting, product development and commercialization of inventions are on a high level when compared internationally. Finnish Government and corporations both invest heavily in research and development – currently a combined total of 3,5% of Finnish GNP, or near 5 billion USD. Cooperation between public and private sectors as well as networking are very good and important. Thus, Finnish companies have experienced that innovation activities combined to active management and good networking give good and competitive results.