The Chamber of Commerce is its members
The Central Finland Chamber of Commerce, which has operated as an independent chamber of commerce since 1930, has had a significant impact on the development of Central Finland. It has worked determinedly to support the entire company field in Central Finland, and the results are now reflected in the region's exceptional growth. The driving force behind the Chamber of Commerce is a network comprised of member companies that looks boldly to the future and creates new, successful ways of doing business.
Even though the decline in the export trade during this decade has been trying on the economy, the future is now looking bright. The economy of Central Finland is growing in all sectors and sub-regions. Companies in Central Finland are making significant investments, and new jobs are being created in completely new fields of industry, thus reducing unemployment. The metal and biotechnology industries, for example, are growing steadily, and it is estimated that the new bioproduct plant, which will be constructed in Äänekoski in 2017, will create about 1,250 new jobs in the region. The export trade increases by 500 million every year.
The Chamber of Commerce's basic policy is corporate-led development, and in the center of all operations are the needs of business life and companies. The Chamber of Commerce works to promote free competition and fair play and supports entrepreneurs for example by organizing training and building networks. The ideas are born in their own environment, and many of the innovative approaches come from active members of the Chamber of Commerce.
Cooperation is highly valued in Central Finland, and people and companies dare to be different. Leaders are trained using new forms of cooperation, such as working together with the ice hockey team JYP from Jyväskylä. The sparring program Kasvu Open, which accelerates the growth of companies and has now turned into a national phenomenon, originated from the cooperation between a business school professor and the Chamber of Commerce.
10 years ago, companies showed little desire for growth, but the change in attitudes at the turn of the 2010s has made companies hungry for growth. This year, 420 companies around Finland were chosen to participate in Kasvu Open, and companies that have benefited from Kasvu Open's sparring include the rapidly growing Naava, and BioGTS, which has grown over 900% in three years. Another inspiring growth story from Central Finland is the Nordic Business Forum, which intends to expand into Sweden and Norway.
New possibilities for growth are now being sought in tourism. The Chamber of Commerce works persistently in the ongoing Stopover Central Finland project, the purpose of which is to attract foreign tourists, especially from Central Europe and Asia, to Central Finland, which has been profiled as the sauna region of Finland. The long-term work has paid off and brought four FinRelax awards for well-being tourism to Central Finland.
The upcoming social and healthcare reform poses a challenge for Central Finland's business life. The intention is to help smaller, local operators in addition to the big national and international health companies. A shortage of skilled workers also presents challenges for companies in Central Finland. The Chamber of Commerce plays a significant role as an ambassador between educational institutions and working life. Constructive cooperation is the key to success in the region of growth.