City of Helsinki takes full ownership of Helsinki Business Hub

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2020-05-12 14:43

The cities of the metropolitan area and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council have jointly agreed on a reorganisation of the ownership and operations of Helsinki Business Hub Ltd (HBH). The ownership of the company, jointly owned by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, is transferred in its entirety to the City of Helsinki.  The other shareholders will sell their share of ownership in the company to Helsinki and the transfer will be completed at the turn of the year. As for the current year, and until the transfer has been completed, the operations of the company continue as previously planned.

Thanks to the arrangement, each city in the metropolitan area will be able to focus on their own strengths in their invest-in activities and make arrangements which facilitate an improved utilisation of the synergies within the cities. The cooperation between the cities of the metropolitan area and the Regional Council will remain important in the future. Compared to the joint ownership, the new arrangement enables it in a more profitable form, for example, through contractual cooperation.

Helsinki will initiate a project to find out how HBH's operations should be arranged in the future, in order for them to support the city’s ambitious strategy as well as possible. The project report will be completed by the end of 2020.

“HBH’s operations have been fruitful for Helsinki. However, in the changing world, the global competition between the cities for both investments and qualified professionals is becoming ever more intense. This is why Helsinki aims to strengthen its functions related to industrial policy and internationalisation, and to intensify the connection between these two areas. This does not prevent the metropolitan area from cooperating to attract investments; the forms of cooperation will just be different”, notes Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

“The international competitiveness of the metropolitan area, and hence, its ability to attract and keep knowledge intensive companies and jobs, is crucial for the success of the entire nation”, says Espoo Mayor Jukka Mäkelä. “Smooth cooperation between the cities will remain important in the future”, adds Mäkelä.

”The cooperation between the neighbouring cities and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council is important to Vantaa. As for the implementation, we think that it can be better achieved through contract-based, concrete projects than in the company form. We hope that the cooperation with companies, educational institutes and communities that engage in international activities in our region will also be intensified”, states Vantaa Mayor Ritva Viljanen.

”As an owner of HBH, Kauniainen has not tried to bring in direct foreign investment to Kauniainen, but found the operations of HBH favourable in making the metropolitan area attractive to foreign investors. The company has resulted in the creation of new investments, high-skill jobs and ecosystems that create new growth. In Helsinki, HBH gets a strong and stable owner, which ensures that the metropolitan area remains a competitive force in the competition between city regions in a world recovering from the coronavirus epidemic”, says Kauniainen Mayor Christoffer Masar.

“While the end of the incorporated cooperation is regrettable as such, the decision that has been made now creates new opportunities for strengthening the competitiveness and attractiveness of the metropolitan area and the entire Uusimaa region in the future”, emphasises Regional Mayor Ossi Savolainen

Helsinki Business Hub Ltd is a regional development and marketing agency owned by the cities of Helsinki (45 per cent), Espoo (23.5 per cent), Vantaa (19 per cent) and Kauniainen (2.5 per cent), as well as the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council (10 per cent). The company’s mission is to bring in foreign investment to Greater Helsinki, accelerate the business activities and internationalisation of growth-oriented companies and develop other business and innovation activities in the metropolitan area. The company is a non-profit entity, which does not pay dividends to its owners.