In a year dominated by the global coronavirus pandemic, health care became the world’s number one priority in 2020. As governments took drastic action to close down economies in order to reduce social contact and save lives, the world was plunged into the deepest recession since the Second World War.
Businesses are now counting costs and wondering what recovery could look like. Oulu’s health tech companies believe in the power of high-tech innovation. They focus on collaboration with international partners to develop new markets. Many of them are exploring new business opportunities in the Netherlands. To support their efforts, OuluHealth organized an online event, Health DigiBooster, on 16 December 2020.
Oulu – a leader in digital health
Oulu is the biggest city in northern Finland, surrounded by untouched Arctic wilderness. It’s a successful technology city, often referred to as the northern Silicon Valley. It has a relatively young highly-educated population, and a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, supported by world-class university research.
Oulu is Finland’s second largest health technology hub. It’s home to OuluHealth – an ecosystem that brings together health and social care providers, academic community, researchers, information technology experts, businesses and the city of Oulu itself. Its goal is to link and share expertise in wireless information and health technologies, support research and health innovation and create new business opportunities.
Oulu’s heath tech sector enjoys steady growth
With sales increasing by 41,1%, Oulu’s Health and Life Science sector has been growing fast in the past five years. In 2019, revenues totalled 550 million EUR and exports grew by 8,7%, totalling 162,1 million EUR.
Health DigiBooster builds a bridge between Finnish and Dutch tech businesses
Participating at conferences and exhibitions can make it easier to enter new markets. For that reason, six health companies from Oulu appeared at the OuluHealth stand at the Innovation for Health Conference and Exhibition in Rotterdam in February 2020. Business contacts between Finnish and Dutch partners were established, and follow-up action was planned.
However, later in the year most action had to move online due to COVID-19. OuluHealth’s biggest virtual business-related event in 2020 was the Health DigiBooster, organised in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Dutch region of Twente. It was a perfect opportunity to e-meet and network for companies from Oulu and Twente. It provided valuable insights into the Dutch and Finnish healthcare sector, helped participants to explore new collaboration opportunities and highlighted the unique nature of testing and developing products and services at the OuluHealth Labs.
Heidi Tikanmäki, Key Account Director for Health and Life Science at BusinessOulu, is cautiously optimistic that following the success of the Health DigiBooster, networking between Finnish and Dutch businesses will gather speed in 2021:
“Even though it is still impossible to organize live events, companies are looking for business opportunities. New ideas need cooperation partners, business connections should be established, and new deals need to be made. I hope that the first edition of a digital seminar, Health DigiBooster, offered participants an opportunity to gain knowledge of a new health market and helped us spread the word about Oulu’s expertise in digital health. We are looking forward to the second part of this event in April. It will be focused on strengthening the cooperation and networking, also with hospital representatives from both countries.”
The seminar was an excellent opportunity to showcase health solutions developed in Oulu to Dutch partners.
Oulu innovators blow their trumpet
Oulu has hundreds of health and life science and IT businesses, eight of which made a presentation at the Health DigiBooster online event:
Medanets has developed an app enabling nurses to create digital records at patients’ bedside and share them real time with colleagues.
Monidor has adevice that gives a clear visual image of intravenous therapy, preventing inaccurate doses being accidentally administered to patients.
Code-Q has a speech recognition software that enables people to control a computer screen even if they can’t see or touch it.
Nukute provides high-tech medical solutions for remote monitoring and diagnosing of respiratory illnesses and conditions via tracheal listening of the human respiratory system, combined with highly evolved cloud-computing and AI.
ProWellness Health Solutions offers web-based solutions to link up hospital and community care in order to improve the quality of life for patients living with chronic diseases.
Screentec’s uses printed electronics to manufacture custom disposable medical electrodes. The company’s products include visors and other PPE used on the frontline in the fight against Covid19.
Nucu has invented a device that slips into a baby’s bedding and simulates soundscapes such as the mother’s heartbeat.
NE Device SW is a software developer whose products include a monitor to accurately measure a patient’s breathing outside ICU.
For more information about the event, go to https://www.ouluhealthevents.com/book-online
Have a business idea? We help you to make it happen
BusinessOulu, which is responsible for implementing the city’s industry policies and providing companies with development services, provides extensive free services to health-tech enterprises. You can get practical advice on how to start a new business, where to get finance from and how to apply for it. Also sparring to companies in all stages regardless of their size and stage they are in is available. Additionally, BusinessOulu offers a wide range of business courses and supports companies from the region in growth and internationalization.
Text: Joanna Seppänen, Health & Life Science, BusinessOulu and Erika Benke, BusinessOulu