What is InnoBus?

The cooperation between South-East Finland and St. Petersburg has a long history. Starting 2002 the concept of St. Petersburg Corridor - the heart of northern dimension - has been initiated and after a series of projects finalized with intergovernmental agreement signed on March 22 2007. The agreement was signed by the Governor of St. Petersburg and three chairmen of the Unions of local authorities of South-East Finland. The agreement highlighted 5 main directions of cooperation including innovation and business cooperation. At the same time, under the coordination of the municipality of Lappeenranta, the following infrastructure was set up:
  •  Finnish-Russian Innovation centre as the coordinator of innovation dialog between the regions
  • European-Russian InnoPartnership as the business cooperation company providing services for Russian and Finnish companies in cross-border area, and
  • Finnish-Russian Innovation University as the platform for cooperation between Universities and R&D Groups
The results of these efforts were presented on national Finnish, federal Russian and EU levels as a practical cooperation on the regional level. As a feedback, European and Russian policy makers have updated the dialog on innovation cooperation and modernisation issues supporting the First EU-Russia Innovation Forum, which was strongly supported by EU Commision and Governments of Finland and Russian Federation.

InnoBus cooperation 

Innovation and Business Cooperation -project is continuing this well developed cooperation with more specific goals and work packages. InnoBus - Innovation and Business Cooperation is a 3 year project that started in July 2011. 14 partners of the project work to facilitate and strengthen the EU-Russia cross-border cooperation by developing and introducing new tools for entrepreneurs, research institutions and governmental actors to develop their operations. The overall objective of the project is to enlarge the cross-border innovation and business cooperation by introducing new tools and services based on the modern approaches in EU-Russia cooperation. Project aims to improve the general business and innovation environment, especially in the field of internationalization and modernization in the cooperating regions by:

  • Enlarging the cooperation between Universities in EU and Russia regions 
  • Improving the support and development possibilities for the innovative companies 
  • Stimulating the conventional companies entry to modernization process 
  • Developing the basics for innovative services on G2B level on cross-border regions
  • Ensuring sustainability of the regional cooperation
In 5 work packages high-level experts are developing business and innovation platform further for efficient cross-border innovation and business cooperation. 

Main outputs of InnoBus

  • Benchmarking reports about successful cases of innovation cooperation and modernization partnerships between European and Russian companies 
  • Guidelines about internationalization of innovative companies and modernization of businesses. 
  • Self-assessment tools (SAT) for SME’s - both innovative and conventional. 
  • Group of companies and experts trained to serve the beneficiaries of the project after the end of project cycle. 
  • Products and services for universities will be developed and tested and a new cooperation and communication platform will be designed. 
  • Workshops, seminars, conferences and forums will be organized to promote the results of the project activities, initiate discussions on the project goals and objectives.
  • Companies will get the necessary consulting, advising and coaching assistance from the trained pool of experts. 
  • Special recommendation to enhance innovation and modernization cooperation between EU and Russia will be gathered and delivered to the decision makers in Russia, Finland and European Union 
  • E-services will be designed and piloted providing the most asked services from regional governments for entrepreneurs and citizens acting and living in cross-border regions 
  • Number of products will be developed and piloted during the project realization period and will be available for the companies and organizations after the project is completed 
  • The concept of European-Russian Innovation Corridor (ERICO) will be worked out, précised, promoted and presented to the policy makers as the model for European-Russian Innovation cooperation 
Target groups and beneficiaries of InnoBus
  • Local authorities of the cooperating regions targeting to the economic development of the region with specific focus on support of innovations, R&D and university cooperation - focusing to the local authorities who are implementing the innovation development and business development of everyday activities. 
  • Universities and research groups interested in development of international cooperation 
  • Innovative SME’s focusing on internationalization of the business 
  • Conventional companies interested in the improving their business by implementing new services and tools as well as modernizing the business and technology processes 

Project management, monitoring and evaluation

To ensure the effective management of the project, Wirma Lappeenranta Oy has appointed a dedicated project management group consisting of leader organisations of work packages. This group will regularly review the situation of the project. Overall coordination and management of project activities including marketing, reporting and other administrative duties related to project are mainly the responsibility of Wirma Lappeenranta Oy. 

Responsible partner for Project management is the Lead Partner Wirma Lappeenranta Ltd.

University Cooperation

A model for cooperation between Finnish and Russian Innovation Universities (FRIU) has been developed in the past, and with this project the existing cooperation model shall be revised and improved. During this project specialized benchmarking research will be organized, discussed and implemented Based on this benchmarking several services in this context will be developed. A group of experts will be selected and trained. A specialized FRIU magazine focusing to the EU-Russia educational and R&D –issues will be published. In order to ensure the sustainable development of the FRIU the number of the cooperating universities will be increased during the project realization period. For that reason the number of the promotion events is planned including both specially organized events and the events organized either by the participating universities or third parties. For networking reason the participations in major European events are planned.

Responsible partner for University Cooperation is Lappeenranta University of Technology. Participating project partners are SPb State University of Economics and Finance, SPb Polytechnic University, SPb State University of Aerospace Instrumentation, Bonch-Bruevich SPb State University of Telecommunications and SPb State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics


Modernisation of businesses and internationalisation of innovative companies

There exists a strong need for innovative companies to go international. The Project will study the best available European experience in supporting the internationalization efforts of the companies, adjust and implement them in cooperating regions. Specialized products and services for companies going international will be developed during the project realization period. A group of innovative SME’s will be selected, trained and provided with concrete tools to support the internationalization process, including guidelines and tools for funding the internationalization process and for protection of the intellectual property rights (IPR). The international practices on IPR protection issues will b
e presented in special guidelines. 

A concept for modernization of conventional companies will be developed based on the European and Russian experiences. During the project pilot companies willing to modernize their operations will be selected. For these companies specialized self-assessment tools on modernization issues will be developed and tested. A pool of experts in modernization issues will be selected and their services will be matched with the needs of the modernization pilot companies. These experts will utilize the knowledge by providing the tailored products and services for pilot companies using SAT for initial assessing the needs and designing the modernization plan. 

Responsible partner for Modernisation of businesses and internationalisation of innovative companies is Miktech Ltd. Participating project partners are Wirma Lappeenranta Oy, Commitee for Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade, European-Russian Innopartnership, SPb State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics and Aalto University School of Economics Small Business Centre.

eServices to cross-border region

Development of governmental e-services for citizens and businesses are most important factor on improving the internationalization processes. During the project the research on most-asked e-services will be studied. The result of the stu
dy will be discussed during the workshop. Based on the research and workshop feedback, two most demanded services would be identified. During the project realization period these services will be designed and piloted to the group of companies.

Responsible partner for eServices development is Commitee on IT and Communications of SPb. Participating project partners are SPb Information and Analytical Centre, European-Russian Innopartnership and Kouvola Innovation Ltd.

Project promotion and relations

The project will organize and carry out the series of the specialized events as well as increasing the permanent presence in the targeted regions. In order to provide the sustainable development of the cooperation on the regional level, two offices will be supported during the project realization stage. Office in St. Petersburg will be based on the Suomi-talo and the South Carelian office will be based in the premises of the Lead Partner. The offices will promote the innovation cooperation, disseminate information and work as contact points for innovative companies operating in the project region. Experiences of innovation cooperation in cross-border region will be promoted also to the decision makers in Russia, Finland and European Union.

Two big EU-Russia Innovation Cooperation (ERICO) events will be organized during the project realization period. The main purpose of these events is to initiate the new EU-Russia cooperation space on innovation and business development (modernization) fields. The events will highlight existing cooperation in above-mentioned fields and support the EU-Russia “from bottom up” concept meaning from real practice to policy level both in EU and Russia. These ERICO events will be powered with specialized
Cross-Border Innovation Exhibition and Matching Events.

Responsible partners: Wirma Lappeenranta Ltd and European-Russian Innopartnership