This time, the companies recognized by the regional development company Turku Science Park represent the region’s traditionally strong spearhead industries, which have also received support and services from the development company and the region’s institutes of higher education.
This year, the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Turku prizes were awarded for the 18th time. The tradition began in the early 2000s with the European Day of Entrepreneurs, which was celebrated in Turku along with a host of other European cities. In recent years, it’s been standard protocol to hand out the award as part of Turku’s Europe Forum.
The prizes were awarded in three categories, as is tradition.
In the Brave Move category, the recipient company is not afraid of breaking down barriers, but in a clever and determined fashion; it renews its operations and maybe even its entire branch of industry. With bold decisions, the company acts as a successful pioneer through periods of change, and shines as an inspiring example, producing new expertise, products, concepts and services.
The prize was handed out to Langh Tech Ltd., based in Kaarina’s Piikkiö. The company has developed and produced solutions for scrubbing sulfur from ship exhausts for ten years. Constant development, responding to customers’ various needs, and exceptionally functional solutions have made this family enterprise one of the most significant companies in its market in the world. Langh Tech has proactively followed the maritime industry’s progress, taking into account all of the ever-tightening environmental regulations. The company’s own sulfur scrubber is currently either in use or has been sold to over 100 ships, and 38 ships use Langh Tech’s solutions to augment their use of competitor tech. Langh Tech is an excellent and successful example of how bold innovation can make one a significant market-leader while leaning on one’s own strengths and constantly developing them. At the same time, Langh Tech is a valuable example of how the small country of Finland can produce solutions for global challenges.
In the Born Global category, focus is on global success. The recipient company is part of the global market, and much of its production is exported abroad. The company has, from the very start, been able to combine design, production, and marketing successfully. Wide-ranging collaboration with customers, distribution channels and even competitors is the key to the recipients success.
The award was given to CH-Bioforce, founded in 2016. The company has developed an entirely novel way of processing biomass, which enables the separation of all three of its main ingredients –cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin – and use them as material in, for example, packaging, textiles and the chemicals industry. CH-Bioforce’s technology makes it possible replace oil- and food-based raw materials in innumerable applications. The company’s innovation will revolutionise the industrial raw materials base and that way the entire process of bio-based product manufacturing globally. CH-Bioforce’s pilot plant is located in Raisio’s Smart Chemistry Park, which is the site where produced materials have been widely tested with universities, research institutions and other partners. Regional university expertise is a major factor in the enterprise’s success, especially Åbo Akademi’s chemical engineering research.
In the Growth in Sight category, the recipient company’s operations have to predict future growth. The company uses its own operations to create growth and development opportunities for other companies as well. Their growth concept also acts as a bold example for those looking to start new companies.
Raisio Ltd., representing the best of our food industry, has undergone a huge process of renewal. Raisio has been doing painstaking work and boldly invested in new innovations – the well-known Benecol brand, which is based on the cholesterol-lowering effect of plant stanol esters, has been supplemented in the company’s international market presence with the updated Elovena brand and oat-based products. This summer, a production plant focused on snacks and oat drinks was constructed in the city of Raisio. This 45-million-euro investment is the company’s largest single investment in organic growth in decades, and at the same time, one of the Finnish food industry’s biggest in recent years. The new products open up new markets for Raisio Ltd.. They also ensure that Raisio is seeing a lot of growth based on sustainably produced plant-based foods.