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What makes Helsinki a Health Capital?

11.08.2021

Health Capital Helsinki is an organization whose name speaks for itself: Helsinki (the capital of Finland) is coming into the spotlight as one of the world’s leading health centers. Its ambitions are based on the country’s superb reputation in health care fueled by strong support by the Finnish government, skillful handling of health and social data, and continuous innovations.

 

Thanks to its advanced healthcare system, Finland is considered one of the healthiest countries in the world. The Helsinki Metropolitan region is home to HUS Helsinki University Hospital, a top five hospital in Europe providing secondary care to 2,000,000 patients. High-quality cancer care and a number of other demanding specia­lized care services at HUS Helsinki University Hospital are also available for foreign patients in collaboration with Orton private hospital.

Another good example is the new HUS Children’s Hospital opened in 2018 that uses cutting-edge technologies and is designed to account for the needs of young patients and their families.

 

HUS Children’s Hospital in Helsinki

HUS Children’s Hospital was designed to account for the needs of young patients and their families (photo by Jussi Hellsten).

The Health Capital Helsinki project was launched by the city of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki in 2015 based on the joint vision of promoting innovations in healthcare and the need to support startups, create business ecosystems, and attract investments. The project is sponsored by the cities of Helsinki and Espoo, HUS Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Aalto University, and Laurea, Metropolia and Haaga-Helia Universities of Applied Sciences.

 

Booming startup scene

Health Capital Helsinki works with public research and educational institutions and regional business developers as well as private companies and investors from all over the world.

Interest in startups has been a trend already for many years in Finland. In the Uusimaa region where the Finnish capital is located, there are about 100 startups related to medicine and healthcare, and even more (around 400) throughout Finland.

According to Juha Paakkola, director of Health Capital Helsinki, such interest is also fuelled by the global situation with COVID-19. The pandemic has put healthcare and digital health in focus resulting in a 180% increase in investments in health startups in the Uusimaa region. At the moment, there is a steady interest both from Finnish investors as well as international ones.

Health Capital Helsinki sees its mission in helping startups grow successfully by e.g. mentoring and matchmaking. Health Capital Helsinki organizes offline and online events to introduce startups to investors and potential corporate partners. Health Incubator Helsinki is a key operator, providing mentoring and development support to young startups.

What is the secret behind the success of health startups in Finland? Of course, high-quality affordable public health care with high coverage and private narrow-profile clinics are an important factor. Yet, the key element are people who care about their health, safety and well-being willing to live a longer, healthier and better life in a well-developed digital infrastructure. No doubt, this is supported by a high education level and national mindset.

 

Maria01 campus for tech teams in Helsinki

Maria 01 is an entrepreneurial community and a selection-based campus for tech teams in Helsinki (photo by Jussi Hellsten).

Digital disruption

Following the imperatives of the time, healthcare is focused on disease prevention and overall digitalization of supporting processes.

Technological drivers of future innovations include AI and mobile technologies (5G / 6G) that empower new solutions used in home care, remote monitoring, self-diagnosis and telemedicine. New medicines and treatments are based on new technologies in molecular medicine research, such as the mRNA technology in the COVID-19 vaccine. Genetic and health data are also a very valuable source of discovery and innovation in Finland.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 became one of the most successful years for Helsinki Business Hub in terms of accepted startup applications from various countries. Experts explain such increased interest by the fact that entrepreneurs got a chance to take a break from doing business in the real world and create plans for the future that included entering the Finnish market with a medical startup.

For more information about Health Capital Helsinki, please contact Senior Business Advisor Maria Melnikova at maria.melnikova@hbh.fi (ru, en).

Read more about the startup environment in Finland