Finland featured prominently in an international forum on enterprise innovation held recently in Shanghai, China this year. Experts and officials from Finland, the country of honor at this year’s Pujiang Innovation Forum, shared their experiences in developing a knowledge-intensive economy.
Jan Vapaavuori, Finland’s minister of economic affairs, said innovation can’t be taught as it is about creating something that no one has done before.
However, the environment can be improved to promote cooperation and encourage creativity, said Vapaavuori.
“We believe that investment in people, knowledge and innovation is the key to future success,” Vapaavuori said.
Delegates addressed obstacles that can thwart innovation — including inefficient resource allocation, incomplete innovation policy and financing.
Ma Hong, deputy director of the Shanghai Financial Service Office, said China’s financial resources are dominated by large banks which are biased toward big enterprises, leaving small companies starved of cash.
To address this, Ma said, Shanghai has introduced a slew of measures to support credit-starved small businesses.
These include financial subsidies to encourage commercial banks to lend to technology firms, increasing micro-credit companies and promoting the use of intellectual property as collateral for credit.
Taking advantage of becoming an international financial center and with the establishment of Shanghai free trade zone, the city will continue to build a financial service system that keeps abreast of developments in science and technology, Ma added.
Shanghai is committed to supporting enterprises in their efforts to create innovative products and services, Mayor Yang Xiong said on October 26.
“Shanghai has always attached great importance to encouraging innovation among enterprises, actively supporting them in terms of technology, management and business model,” Yang told the Pujiang Innovation Forum.
Speaking at the opening session of the two-day event, Yang said that two-thirds of investment in the city’s research and development comes from enterprises.
At the same time, more than 60 percent of national engineering and technology research centers and around 80 percent city-level research centers are dependent on enterprises.
The annual forum — an initiative by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the city government — is an international forum dedicated to research on innovation strategy and policy.