‘This award belongs to everyone who worked for the energy cluster’

Hanna Malkamäki, Anna-Kaisa Valkama, Marko Kuokkanen, Mika Konu, Tomas Häyry, Stefan Råback, Riitta Björkenheim, Kristoffer Jansson & Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma. EnergyVaasa
Hanna Malkamäki, Anna-Kaisa Valkama, Marko Kuokkanen, Mika Konu, Tomas Häyry, Stefan Råback, Riitta Björkenheim, Kristoffer Jansson & Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma.
3 min

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö recently honoured EnergyVaasa with an internationalisation award. “EnergyVaasa is the result of a long-term effort to which many people have contributed,” said members of the delegation that received the award.

A delegation of key people from the Vaasa region’s energy cluster recently received a prestigious award. We are talking about the Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic that President Sauli Niinistö presented to EnergyVaasa, the network of actors in the region’s energy cluster.

Tomas Häyry, Mayor of the City of Vaasa, says that the award is addressed to all companies and actors involved in the energy cluster.

“This is a recognition for all those who work or have worked for or within the Vaasa region’s energy cluster,” says Tomas Häyry.

Many people have contributed

If you ask members of the prize delegation about the background to the cluster, they will also shower you with names of people who should be allowed to take part of the honour. Discussions range from business representatives to officials from the public sector and the education sector.

Every decade and even every year seems to have had its own champions. Politicians and individuals have also contributed to the construction of this unique entity. All efforts have been important but are too numerous to mention in an article, and even in book form it is challenging to include them all.

Marketing may still be the key to the prize

But why is this particular team receiving the president’s award? This is because the organisations they represent, such as Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK and Technology Centre Merinova, are key players in the coordination of the cluster and the marketing of EnergyVaasa.

“As we have the world’s best energy cluster, we need to let people know about it,” says Stefan Råback, CEO of VASEK.

“The interest in the cluster has been there for a long time, but has increased significantly over the years as it has become better known both nationally and internationally,” says Mika Konu, CEO of Merinova.

In this context, Tomas Häyry also highlights the efforts of Vaasa Facilitas (also known by the name of its subsidiary Vaasa Parks, which is part of the operations).

Sauli Niinistö, Tomas Häyry, Mika Konu, Stefan Råback, Kristoffer Jansson, EnergyVaasa
Sauli Niinistö, Tomas Häyry, Mika Konu, Stefan Råback, Kristoffer Jansson.

More than 20 years of work

The more systematic marketing efforts and branding of the cluster go back more than 20 years. During this time, the cluster has grown strong despite standing up to the financial crisis, pandemic and energy crisis at the same time.

The latest aggregated figures for the companies in the cluster are impressive: 180 companies, 13,000 employees and a total turnover of €6 billion for the companies they represent.

“There are indications that this year’s growth figures will also be good for several of the leading-edge companies in the cluster,” says Mika Konu.

Exporting green solutions

Energyvaasa

Stefan Råback emphasises the importance of the cluster for the entire Finnish export industry. Operators in the cluster invest heavily in research and development, which is reflected in the products and services they offer. When it comes to things like the green transition, energy saving and sustainability, the companies are at the forefront.

“Actors in the cluster are able to offer solutions to many of the world’s problems,” says Mika Konu.

What makes the cluster special is that the companies are competitors in some areas while they co-operate and collaborate in others. Together they find strength and competitive advantage.

Annual recognition

The Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic has been awarded annually since 1967 in recognition of internationally successful Finnish companies and communities.

Particular attention is paid to competitiveness, internationality of business activities and profitability. It also emphasises responsibility, the effects on the development of Finnish skills and employment and investments in Finland.

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