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The development of the Tampere City Region? What inspiring work!

“Clear strengths, a diverse economic structure, the ease of living and everyday life – there are good starting points for the development of the Tampere City Region,” says Harri Airaksinen, who started as the CEO of Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Tredea in March.

Tampere – All Bright! Magazine spoke with Harri Airaksinen when he had been acting as the CEO of Tredea for few weeks and his calendar was auspiciously full of the economic development matters of the Tampere City Region. This is not a totally new situation for the man, who has worked in development for around twenty years now.

Right at the beginning of the interview, Airaksinen said that steering Tredea has been a natural continuation of his earlier career. It is also an exciting opportunity to make the experience and expertise he has gained available again, in particular for the Tampere City Region. So let’s start with the role of Tredea.

“I have approached it with the idea that we must be able to transform as an actor because, due to the structural change, the region faces new types of challenges. It has been easy to see that the Tredea team is fantastic, and I want to help them to make the most of their potential.”

“You also have to remember that Tredea’s resources are limited, so we cannot be involved in everything. We have to make choices and focus on strengthening the strengths to ensure that the activities will have a real impact.”

This leads us quite easily to the Tampere City Region’s areas of strength. There is no lack of them. Mechanical engineering, intelligent machinery, industrial digitalisation, 3D printing, cleantech, bioeconomy, creative industries, welness technology, urban development projects... This list is familiar to everyone who has kept an eye on where new business and globalisation are created.

“When you look at the region’s business sector, it includes technology-savvy companies, growth companies and companies seeking international expansion. As an economic development agency, Tredea needs to have something to offer to them.”

“We cannot expect quick profits. When one works with companies, the activities must be, on one hand, fast and reactive and, on the other hand, persistent and streamlined. Although companies may need answers to their questions very quickly, their own processes are long, and patience is needed to wait for decisions.”

The Tampere City Region provides good starting points for the development work: wealthy municipalities, a diverse economic structure, great companies, a strong export orientation, a good global connectedness and a compact size.

“A very delightful feature of the region has always been the close relationship between research and business activities. People are able to cooperate and set new things in motion quickly because people usually know each other and mutual trust already exists.”

A few more words about leisure...

Harri Airaksinen lives in the centre of Tampere and says he enjoys it; he praises, in particular, the ease of living and of everyday life. Everything is within easy reach, running errands works out fine and the opportunities to enjoy culture and sports are diverse and easy to find.

“My working days are usually long, so running and going to the gym help me maintain occupational capacity.”

Airaksinen says that he has been involved in horse trotting from a young age, so he is a frequent visitor at the Teivo trotting-track. When he hosts visitors, he may take them to admire the scenery of the Tampere rapids or the views from the ridges of Kangasala, for instance. And the best doughnuts can be found, as we all know, at the Pyynikki Observation Tower café.

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