Iisalmi — the world’s first rush free regional city in 2025 

Rush has a negative impact on our wellbeing. The more you pick up the pace, the worse you feel.  Rushing is not good for people, nor does it improve the quality of work. If we want people and businesses to thrive, it is essential to identify and eliminate unnecessary rush. In Iisalmi, we recognise these facts. We want to lead the way in creating a rush free zone, and aim to reduce our stress footprint to net zero by 2025.  

Studies [1] show that a growing number of Finns feel that they are constantly in a hurry and stressed at work. This phenomenon is not restricted to Finland; it is a global concern.  Being in a rush and under a lot of stress for long periods of time can eventually make us sick. In response to the growing pressures of working life, the City of Iisalmi together with its By Iisalmi business partners decided to declare its intention to be the world’s first rush free regional city by 2025.  

“Iisalmi is known not only for its successful businesses, but also for its laidback and relaxed lifestyle. Companies such as Olvi, Ponsse and Genelec have discovered that it is possible to pursue an international career while enjoying the natural beauty of the Ylä-Savo landscape and the warm and welcoming atmosphere of a regional city. Our goal is to make the zero rush mindset a visible part of our overall operating culture,” says Terho Savolainen, Director of Economic Development of Iisalmi.  

Joining forces to create miracles in working life  

Juhani Niiranen is a Cluster President at Hanza AB, a global company that modernizes and streamlines the manufacturing industry. His recipe for a rush free workplace consists of an atmosphere of trust, a good work-life balance, and the mentality of pulling together that is so embraced by the people of Iisalmi.   

“A good team spirit and an atmosphere of trust play an enormously important role in terms of coping at work. In Iisalmi, a good team spirit is not limited to individual workplaces; we have a great relationship with other companies operating here. We regard each other as partners rather than competitors,” Niiranen says. 

Flexibility and freedom of choice improve job satisfaction  

Flexibility and employee inclusion are excellent tools for making work feel more meaningful.  Ways to increase flexibility and inclusion include modifying tasks to better suit the employee’s current life situation, or providing additional training in the workplace. 

Giving employees an opportunity to have a say about their own work and influence decisions made in the workplace improves job satisfaction. Simply knowing that your own actions make a difference makes you much more committed to your work. At Hanza, we always try to offer flexible working hours when our employees’ personal circumstances require it, and in addition we want to provide both variety and training opportunities at work. Many of our employees started out working in production and have gradually worked their way up to managerial or specialist positions,” Niiranen explains.  

Nature helps to get your mind off work  

As a regional city set amidst unspoilt nature, Iisalmi offers a unique combination of international business and career opportunities with quiet relaxation in the great outdoors. It’s easy to switch off from work when you are always within easy access to parks and recreational facilities.  

In Iisalmi, you are always close to nature. For me, the most effective way to switch off and unwind is to jump on a snowmobile in winter, or go boating on Lake Paloisjärvi in the summer. You might think that being close to nature means you are really far away from everything, but that’s not the case. It takes me about an hour to get from home to the departure gate at the airport.  My favourite place for relaxation after work is the hot tub in my backyard,” says Niiranen. 
Iisalmi is an active and lively regional city with easy access to a range of sports and recreational activities, as evidenced by Iisalmi’s third place in its size category in the LIVCY Most Liveable Cities ranking (Ramboll 2022).  Iisalmi ranked highest in the sports services index: Nationally, the top three locations in this category were Helsinki, Espoonlahti and Mikkeli, followed by Iisalmi in fourth place. Sports services cover all local sports facilities, gyms, courts and fields for ball games, swimming pools and beaches where you can swim. In Iisalmi, easy access to sports services is one of the factors contributing to residents’ everyday work-life balance and overall wellbeing. Iisalmi offers a wide range of other leisure activities in addition to sports.  

Tips from locals on how to de-stress and unwind: 

  • There are many ways to de-stress during the work day. If I have a phone meeting, I go outside and take a walk in the fresh air while taking part in the meeting.  — Noora Lankinen, Manager, Global Spare Part Operations, Normet Oy 
  • As soon as I get off work, I go out in the woods for a bike ride or to go skiing. In Iisalmi, you can enjoy an instant change of scenery as there are numerous cycle routes and ski trails with starting points in the city centre. — Krisjanis Jurans, Technical Support Specialist, Ponsse Oyj 
  • A dip in the lake, preferably at your own beach. Doing something different in a different environment helps to get your mind off work. — Katri Savolainen, CEO, Engineering Company Savolainen Oy 

Read more about the world’s first rush free regional city: 

Audra Shallal, Vice President of Corenvest; EBAN

The process of raising money for a business venture begins with a great pitch. The « elevator pitch » is an extremely concise presentation of an entrepreneur's idea, business model, company solution, competitiveness and marketing strategy delivered to potential investors. The workshop, conducted by a seasoned entrepreneur/business angel and an expert in Pitch Coaching, will highlight some of the key steps involved in presenting an effective pitch and will provide attendees with inspiration, effective tools, and increased awareness of the challenge of entrepreneurship in today’s highly competitive business environment.

x The construction of a powerful one-minute pitch.
x Identification of Key Elements investors require in a 10-minute presentation.
x The process of Fine-Tuning Investor Ready Skills to pitch to investors in the marketplace, engaging them to want to know more about your project and the potential of being interested in possibly investing in your company.

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Sointu Borg on puhuja, yrittäjä, ekonomi sekä media- ja somepersoona. Isomman yleisön tietoisuuteen hän nousi voitettuaan realityformaatti Diilin vuonna 2021. Soinnun rajoja rikkova ja räiskyvä asenne hakee vertaistaan! Terävä, sensuroimaton ja huumorilla höystetty ulosanti kuuluvat naisen tavaramerkkeihin.Sointu kuuluu tällä hetkellä Suomen kysytyimpiin ja mielipiteitä herättävimpiin henkilöbrändeihin. Hän omaa runsaasti kokemusta juontamisesta, kameran edessä työskentelystä, puhumisesta sekä

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Join us for an insightful presentation on the important role of teamwork in fostering intellectual property (IP) within growth companies and startups. This session will look at how different roles - from technical to creative to business strategists - each contribute uniquely to IP creation. How technical experts innovate with unique technologies and software, creatives enhance branding and design, and strategists develop game-changing business models and trade secrets. The focus will be on the synergy between these diverse roles and how their collaboration is key to building rich and powerful IP assets. This presentation aims to inspire companies to unlock the full potential of their teams, driving IP success and fostering business growth.

Suvi Julin, Lawyer, Patent Attorney, European Trademark and Design Attorney

Suvi has wide-ranging experience in the field of intellectual property and technology law. She advises clients on a variety of contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters including trademarks, designs and patents as well as in copyright, contractual, employee invention and privacy matters.

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Elias Aalto is one of the founders and the original product lead of Wolt. He's also a co-founder of Qvik – a digital agency that has grown organically to over 120 experts. Prior to them, he designed and developed early games on the iOS, claiming the first Apple Design Award in the Nordics for his game Wooden Labyrinth 3D.

After exiting Wolt, Elias has concentrated on bringing up his daughters and dabbling in angel investing. Recently he joined Shark Tank Finland as one of the sharks on the show.

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Join us at the Kuopio Health Side event @Tahko SLP - where health meets innovation, and opportunities abound! Kuopio Health side event is aimed at investors, startups, entrepreneurs, R2B teams, and of course ecosystem members. The event offers a unique opportunity for networking and making new contacts with actors in the same field. Sit down with investors or exchange ideas with other attendees and hear what's new in the industry.

Side event is open4all, but requires registration: Kuopio Health side event @Tahko SLP - Kuopio Health


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Juho Pesonen is a professor of tourism business and deputy head of the department at University of Eastern Finland Business School. He is a member of the Tourism Business research group and the director of the International Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management. Prof. Pesonen completed his Ph.D. in marketing at University of Eastern Finland, focusing on market segmentation in rural tourism. Now his research focuses on understanding how tourism businesses can survive and thrive in the digital and sustainability transformations. Prof. Pesonen also has the title of Adjunct Professor of digital marketing at University of Turku. He has widely published his research in dozens of peer-reviewed academic journals and has edited several books in the tourism field. He also holds several board positions in companies and associations.

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12.00 Tervetuloa!
Antti-Jussi Pitkälä, puheenjohtaja, Kuopion alueen kauppakamarin kauppa-, matkailu- ja palveluvaliokunta

12.05 Kasvua kansainvälisestä matkailusta – Markkinat, yhteistyö ja myynti
Heli Saari, Area Manager, Visit Finland

12.25 Pohjois-Savon Matkailu Oy – Maakunnallinen yhteistyö kilpailuetuna
Pekka Vihma, hallituksen puheenjohtaja, Pohjois-Savon Matkailu Oy

12.55 Navitas Yrityspalvelut – TBC
13.10 TBC

13.25 Data kansainvälisen matkailun vauhdittajana
Juho Pesonen, matkailuliiketoiminnan professori, Itä-Suomen Yliopisto

13.40 Kestävä matkailu – Kulttuuriperintömatkailu kansainvälisenä vetovoimatekijänä
Kirsi Piirainen, projektipäällikkö, Iisalmen kaupunki

13.55 Loppuyhteenveto
Antti-Jussi Pitkälä, puheenjohtaja, Kuopion alueen kauppakamarin kauppa-, matkailu- ja palveluvaliokunta

14.00 Tilaisuus päättyy.

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14.30 Welcome!

14.35 Orion - A short description of the phenomenon

14.40 Pitch 1

14.50 Pitch 2

15.00 Pitch 3

15.10 Pitch 4

15.15 Closing words

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13.30 Welcome!

13.35 Kemira - A short description of the phenomenon

13.40 Pitch 1

13.50 Pitch 2

14.00 Pitch 3

14.10 Pitch 4

14.15 Closing words

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Ennakoinnin, markkinatuntemuksen ja käyttäytymisen muutosten ymmärtäminen ovat avainasemassa, kun innovaatiotoimintaan integroidaan sidosryhmiä, uusia teknologioita, käyttäjälähtöistä suunnittelua, datavetoisia tuotteita ja palveluita sekä asiakaskeskeistä strategiaa kestävän kasvun tavoittelemiseksi. Lähestymistapa edellyttää poikkitieteellistä osaamista ja kykyä hyödyntää eri alojen mahdollisuuksia, jotta voidaan kehittää innovaatioita, jotka vastaavat asiakkaiden tarpeisiin ympäristöä ja yhteiskunnallista vastuuta kunnioittaen.

Innovation Practitioners Communityn Antero Kivikoski ja Janne Pulkkinen johdattavat osallistujat tämän hetken keskeisimpiin kysymyksiin innovaatiojohtamisen saralla. Käytännönläheiset esimerkit ja monikulmainen keskustelu tarjoavat tuoreita näkökulmia oman toiminnan kehittämiseen.

klo 8.45 Kahvit ja verkostoitumista.
klo 9.00 Avauspuheenvuoro – Kuopion alueen kauppakamari ja Itä-Suomen yliopisto
klo 9.10 Innovaatiojohtamisen uusi aika – Innovation Practitioners Community ry Janne Pulkkinen ja Antero Kivikoski
klo 10.50 Päätöspuheenvuoro – Itä-Suomen yliopisto vaikuttavuusjohtaja Minna Hendolin
klo 11.00 Tilaisuus päättyy – Kuopion alueen kauppakamari

Tilaisuus on maksuton ja avoin kaikille aiheesta kiinnostuneille. Workshop on osa Kuopion alueen kauppakamarin Pohjois-Savon elinkeinoelämän TKI-toimintaympäristöselvitys -hanketta (A91005, Etelä-Savon ELY-keskus).

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How to Rock Your IPO  - Everything You Need to Know about going public

Join us for an insightful conversation with Päivi Pakarinen from EY and Minna Korpi from Nasdaq and learn about the benefits, criteria, challenges, and
preparation of going public. Going public is a major milestone in companies growth path, but it also involves a complex and rigorous process that requires careful planning and execution. If you are interested in learning more about the IPO journey, you are invited to join us for a fireside chat with two experts who will share their insights and experiences on this topic.

  • You will hear from Päivi Pakarinen, IPO Leader at EY Advisory, and Minna Korpi, Director in Listings at Nasdaq Nordic, who will explain the key steps and best practices of going public in the Nordic markets. In this fireside chat, they will discuss the advantages, requirements, challenges, and preparation of the IPO process.
  • Don't miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights from Päivi and Minna, who are both experts in the field of IPOs. They will share their knowledge and tips on how to prepare for and execute a successful public offering.
  • The fireside chat will be held in Finnish

Kuinka menestyä IPO:ssa – kaikki mitä sinun tarvitsee tietää listautumisesta pörssiin Tervetuloa mukaan mielenkiintoiseen ja ajatuksia herättävään keskusteluun EY:n Päivi Pakarisen ja Nasdaqin Minna Korven kanssa ja opi listautumisen hyödyistä, kriteereistä, haasteista sekä valmistautumisesta.
Listautuminen pörssiin on merkittävä virstanpylväs yritysten kasvupolulla, mutta se on myös monitahoinen ja tiukka prosessi, joka vaatii huolellista suunnittelua ja toteutusta. Jos olet kiinnostunut oppimaan lisää IPO-matkasta, tervetuloa kuuntelemaan kahden asiantuntijan näkemyksiä ja kokemuksia aiheesta.

  • Kuulet Päivi Pakarisen, EY:n listautumispalveluista vastaavan partnerin, ja Nasdaq Nordicin asiakkuusjohtaja Minna Korven ajatuksia pörssilistauksen tärkeimmistä vaiheista ja parhaista käytännöistä. Keskustelussa he keskustelevat listautumisprosessin eduista, vaatimuksista, yhtiöiden arvostuksesta, haasteista ja valmistelusta.

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Student track idea contest is a great opportunity for students and their early-stage business concepts to get sparring and coaching for their business ideas. Top cases will pitch in the final, which will be held in Hophaus Tahkovuori. The best contestants will be rewarded. More about Student track idea contest.

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