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Pohjan Akka – development of female and family entrepreneurship in the Republic of Karelia and Kainuu through cooperation with Russia
Funded by Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood Programme 2001-2006

Objective of the project

The goal of the joint project was to improve the opportunities for female and family entrepreneurs in the Republic of Karelia and Eastern Finland to utilise their location on the border region and to increase their capacity to operate with their affiliates on both sides of the border.

Main activities

• Provision of training for entrepreneurs, officials and immigrants responsible for business activities on both sides of the border on topics such as creating a business plan, marketing, pricing, customer service, business law and taxation, • Provision of Finnish and Russian language training for entrepreneurs, • Assembling a publication from the most significant contents of the project’s training period • Company-specific coaching, • Educational and contact-making trips, creation of cooperation networks, and active communication on both sides of the border.


The preparedness of entrepreneurs in terms of their ability to engage in business across the border was developed through training on both sides of the border. In Russia, training was provided by both Russian business experts and specialists in Finnish business from the perspective of cooperation with Finland. On both sides of the border, the training event topics included creating a business plan, marketing, pricing, customer service, business law and taxation. Entrepreneurs, assisted by instructors, created concrete business plans for their companies during the training in Russia. In addition, the training in Finland included customer service training for Russians, which helped contribute to their ability to work in Finnish tourism and service industry companies. As well as business-related training, there was also a focus on language training: In Finland, ‘Russian for the service industry’ courses were held for entrepreneurs where, in addition to language lessons, students were encouraged to communicate in Russian. Similarly, Finnish language courses were held in Russia. There were a total of 48 course participants in Russia (40 entrepreneurs and 8 officials). A total of 41 different training periods were organised in Finland. 180 participants took part in the sections targeted at companies and 120 in the sections intended for immigrants. The contact-making trips included several company visits and collaboration meetings where new contacts were made and concrete cooperation opportunities were planned. The contact-making trips also offered the entrepreneurs a good opportunity to market their products and services. The trips also helped to reduce the cooperation-hindering prejudices on both sides of the border. The projects also organised cooperative meetings between local officials responsible for business activity in Finland and Russia, which created a foundation for knowledge of the neighbouring country’s operational area and methods and for creating a cooperation network. This, in turn, promotes entrepreneurship and business cooperation. At least 5 different cooperation networks were created during the project. The entrepreneurs made beneficial contacts and picked up ideas for developing their business activities during the project. In addition, cooperation between officials and entrepreneurs was developed within and between regions. A ‘Steps Towards Entrepreneurship’ publication, based on the project’s key content, was created in Finnish and Russian for the use of new entrepreneurs and local officials.

Basic information