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Higher education and competence are vital for Finland’s competitiveness

Homecoming Day focused on how to stimulate new economic growth.
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President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö spoke during the alumni day for the Aalto University School of Business on Friday, 22 August. The Homecoming Day event, arranged for the first time, was targeted to all graduates and former employees of the School of Business and its predecessor.

During his presentation, President Niinistö examined the role of the government in promoting Finland’s competitiveness. Among other things, he emphasized the responsible handling of public funds and the importance of investing in the future.

‘Everything is born as the result of either mental or financial investment,’ he said. ‘It is where the results are generated that is decisive. If investments are generated in Finland, this means work and prosperity for Finland will be achieved.’

President Niinistö raised the matter of courage in making investments as well: ‘Today’s debt will be tomorrow’s taxes,’ he noted.

A total of 600 people participated in the Leading the Way seminar and other Homecoming Day programme content. During the day, thought and attention were given to how Finnish society could be relaunched on the road to new prosperity and how Finland's competitive edge could be honed and promoted.

Know-how and competence the foundation for new jobs as well

Metsä Group President and CEO Kari Jordan drew attention to new types of thinking.

‘So that Finland is able to get back on its feet, entirely new types of thinking, action and know-how are required. A good example is bioeconomy, which offers us a tremendous number of opportunities. Know-how and competence are also the basis for the creation of new jobs in Finland,’ Mr Jordan declared.

Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University, also emphasized the importance of competence.

‘In order to re-establish Finland’s competitive edge, special effort must be made to ensure that Finnish know-how and skills are in the global vanguard, ’ she pointed out. Competent top experts create technology, business, services, world-changing art and scientific breakthroughs for Finland. A unique collection of graduates acting as the builders of our future from Aalto University and its predecessors were in attendance at the School of Business.

Sustaining growth: ambition and high goals

Professor of Economics Matti Pohjola inspired panellists Kirsi Piha, Risto Murto, Miki Kuusi and Sixten Korkman to take part in the discussion during the seminar section on the recipe for competitiveness and economic growth. According to Professor Pohjola, the achievement of new growth will require exceptional endeavour and creativity.

Kirsi Piha, Managing Director of the Ellun Kanat Strategic Communications Agency, believes in the development of know-how and expertise.

‘We should invest in intellectual capital. That doesn’t mean education alone, but the continuous updating of competence as well,’ Ms Piha proposed.

Miki Kuusi, the main organizer of the Slush conference, suggested on his part that the sustainers of growth would be perseverance and hard work.

‘The level of ambition must be elevated to a high position, and we should roll up our sleeves and get to work,’ Mr Kuusi stated. ‘We should have positive role models in what we do, in going forward and in growth creation. Finland also needs new types of international know-how.’

Ingmar Björkman, Dean of the School of Business, was quite satisfied with what the day had to offer. He vows to build the event into a recurring community forum which will convene the next time in 2016.

‘I’m glad we’ve been favoured with the President of the Republic as our guest, together with a house full of influential opinion leaders in Finnish economic life. Universities enjoy a central role in the discussion concerning the future of Finland and its competitive capability,’ Dr Björkman sums up.

Dean Björkman awarded entrepreneur and capital investor Riku Asikainen with the title of Alumni of the Year.

News revised 26 Aug. 2014

Read more:
Homecoming Day website (homecomingday.biz.aalto.fi)

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