Espoo is once again the Finnish Capital of Innovation – among the top six in the European Capital of Innovation Awards

Published: 24.8.2020 9.20Updated: 24.8.2021 4.59

The City of Espoo made it to the top six in the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) Awards of the European Commission. The title of the European Capital of Innovation 2020 was awarded to Leuven from Belgium. The winner was announced on Thursday, 24 September 2020, during the EU Research and Innovation Days.

Espoo also made it to the top six in 2019, now equalling the best Finnish result of all time. Espoo’s success has earned the city a prize of EUR 100,000 for the promotion of local innovation activities.

Doing things together, in line with the Make with Espoo approach, is Espoo’s strength. Espoo has a long tradition of network-based innovation work.

Espoo’s excellent performance in the iCapital competition shows that the city is an attractive innovation and operating environment for companies developing new solutions as well as for educational and research partners. In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the work covers social, cultural, economic and environmental sustainability. The aim is to find solutions to sustainability challenges in cities, including climate change mitigation, inclusion, employment and economic recovery.


“Espoo is committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals by 2025, five years before the deadline. This is a good agenda for innovation work with companies and educational and research partners. It supports Espoo’s economic competitiveness and sustainability,” says Mayor Jukka Mäkelä.

The organisations in Espoo’s innovation network include Nokia, Fortum, Neste, Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland as well as numerous other companies and communities.

“In addition to companies and educational and research partners, we need Espoo residents to take part in our development work. We provide services that support the well-being and daily lives of our residents. If we want our services to be resident-oriented, residents need to be involved in our development work. We are successful in everything that people get involved in,” Mäkelä says.

The City of Espoo will use the prize money especially to support the innovation activities of children and young people to strengthen a sustainable future.

In addition to the winning city of Leuven and Espoo, the other finalists were Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Helsingborg (Sweden), Valencia (Spain) and Vienna (Austria).


Youtube video: City of Espoo - one of the six finalist cities of iCapital 2020(extrernal link)

  • Sustainability