Bio-based technology is an example of the cutting edge expertise in Savonlinna. Photo: Mari Rasku

The World’s Next Silicon Valley


The next Silicon Valley has unmatched potential for a world-class product development and testing environment for the forest and technology industry, significant R&D projects, top experts, bioproduct technology education and a scenery like no other.

When thinking about where to find a concentration of technology companies and workforce talent, one usually visions Silicon Valley in California. However, there is another high technology innovation hub in the world when it comes to the fields of bioproduct and fiber technology, wastewater purification, environmental safety, wood modification, electronics and 3D printing of biomaterials. It integrates clean nature, clean water, research, education, companies and innovation together.

A real gem in a place you might not expect to find it

There is a world-class Technology Innovation Centre situated at the heart of beautiful Lake Saimaa in Savonlinna, Finland. The Technology Centre consists of Xamk’s FiberLaboratory, 3K-Factory of Electronics, the Natural Resources Institute Finland’s laboratory and a great number of international companies of high technology and wood processing sectors.

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences is currently Finland’s largest UAS in the field of RDI and there are numerous research and development projects ongoing annually. There are different types of research and product developments done, as the following examples indicate.

Automatic hand sanitizers to fight COVID-19

The importance of hand hygiene has been emphasized this year during the spread of coronavirus. Automatic hand sanitizer machines have been emerging all over the public places recently. The original design of this one particular machine dates back ten years ago, originally influenced by the swine flu pandemic. The machine was developed at 3K-Factory of Electronics. The hand sanitizers are now manufactured in Savonlinna and delivered at the accelerating pace to hinder the spread of COVID-19.

Another example of product development and research is an environmentally friendly method for capturing and storing carbon dioxide, developed by the FiberLaboratory. This method has a lot of potential when it comes to improving air quality and facing future environmental challenges.

All for the future

In addition to providing a unique location for high technology businesses, Savonlinna Technology Innovation Centre has gathered together international top-level professionals. Due to a diversity of R&D projects, the possibilities are endless for companies, researchers, experts and students of any major.

The Xamk FiberLaboratory’s activities have also expanded into education in bioproduct technology, which creates expertise for future processes. The Technology Innovation Centre combines the skills of Xamk, Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and comprehensive cooperation networks, making a difference to the future.

New technologies and sources of growth in bio-based technology (BioGrowth) project is funded by South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. Additional information:

Writer Juha-Pekka Ontronen

Writer works at Xamk FiberLaboratory as a Project Specialist.