Arctic Investment Platform (AIP)
Latest News (updated January 2023)
The AIP project was able to create a fruitful dialogue between the European Investment Fund and the participating regions – Arctic Investment Platform 2020-2022 in brief
The Arctic Investment Platform (AIP) Implementation project 2020-2022 aimed to meet the common challenges of the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) of Finland, Sweden and Norway regarding access to finance. The project explored the possibilities of establishing a cross-border investment fund of funds for growth-oriented SMEs. The project was implemented as a joint initiative of Regional Council of Lapland, Regional Council of North Karelia, Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia, Regional Council of Kainuu, Region Västerbotten, Region Västernorrland, Region Jämtland Härjedalen, Troms and Finnmark County Council, and Nordland County Council. The main activities of the AIP project included cooperation and dialogue with the European Investment Fund (EIF) regarding the AIP fund-of-funds structure. A Market Study on the AIP was prepared by the EIF , too.
The AIP project was able to create a fruitful dialogue between the European Investment Fund and the participating regions – and across and within the NSPA regions – to explore the feasibility of a cross-border fund-of-funds concept. AIP also revealed new opportunities for the NSPA regions by adding to critical mass of actors with cross-border initiatives, as well as by adding to national and international visibility. The industrial green transition that currently takes place in Nordic Arctic, gives an additional boost to initiatives like AIP to support growth -oriented companies. There is still, however, some unreadiness in launching a larger scale cross-border investment fund in the NSPA , at least at a short notice.
The AIP project provides the NSPA region with several major lessons in promoting access to finance for growth-oriented SMEs . The joint actions to promote access to finance are of utmost importance in order to improve the competitiveness of the NSPA regions. Cross-border innovative actions by growth-oriented SMEs create knowledge-based job opportunities, too. Moreover, it is highly important to broadly reach regional and national stakeholders and to properly introduce the cross-border fund-of-funds concept created by the AIP. Thirdly, the issues raised by the EIF Market Study on AIP provide valuable insights on e.g. deal flow, and need for competence upgrade.
The dramatically changed geopolitical situation in 2022, caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, affects the development of the NSPA regions and their capital markets. The AIP cooperation plays a significant role in a changed geopolitical situation.
Presenting the AIP and the work by the European Investment Fund (EIF) in NSPA Forum, Skellefteå, Sweden on Thursday 24 March 2022
For more information and registration visit NSPA Forum event website https://www.nspa-network.eu/news/2022/01/invitation-nspa-forum-2022-registration-open/
New Project Management
From the 15th of January 2021, the project will be led by Kristiina Jokelainen (Founder and CEO of SmartNorth Oy) and Jukka Teräs (Founder and CEO of Norrum Oy), who take over after Regional Council of Lapland’s Johannes Lith, as he moves to work in the European Parliament.
The implementation project has gotten off to a good start during its first months, with clear and shared working methods and ambitions established among the project partners. The new project management has followed earlier work in the Arctic Investment Platform cooperation closely and is well prepared to ensure that the established ambitions will be achieved.
The Regional Council of Lapland will continue to hold the administrative responsibility over the project. The contact point for these kind of queries, will from now on be Kaarina Mäcklin.
Implementation Project kicked off
Following a successful feasibility study and road map project, the AIP Implementation Project has been kicked off under the coordination of Regional Council of Lapland. The work of the project will be done in close cooperation with regional development organisations of 9 regions in the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA), which have committed to financing the project: Nordland, Troms & Finnmark, Jämtland Härjedalen, Västernorrland, Västerbotten, North Karelia, Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu as well as Lapland.
The results of the feasibility study and road map project will function as a starting point for the implementation project. The main objective of the new project, which will run until the end of 2021, will be to facilitate the launch of a functioning Arctic Investment Platform in the year 2022. For this purpose, a detailed action plan, approved by the project’s Steering Committee, will be followed. The Steering Committee consists of one member from all participating regions.
Updates about the project and public material related to it will be posted on this page throughout the project.
Interreg Nord financed feasibility study project: Aims achieved, road map & cooperation agreement ready
The Arctic Investment Platform feasibility study and road map project has been a common effort of the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) of Finland, Sweden and Norway to explore the potential and demand for setting up a structured funding cooperation between the regions involved. The Interreg Nord financed project, which was running from 1.1.2019 to 30.9.2020, was led by the Regional Council of Lapland with Norinnova AS, Region Västerbotten, Region Norrbotten and Business Oulu completing the group of project partners. The project benefited greatly from advisory support provided by the European Investment Advisory Hub.
Objectives of the project achieved
The main objectives of the project were to analyse the demand and feasibility of a structured funding cooperation between the NSPA regions, propose a framework for such a support system, provide a tangible roadmap for the set-up of such a support system and ensure credible resources to engage in a dialogue with the institutions relevant to the set-up of such a system.
The demand and feasibility analysis was led by European level experts in close cooperation with regional contact points in all NSPA regions. Surveys to financiers, SMEs and cluster organisations formed a central part of this work. The findings of the study are in line with reports and studies by organizations such as the OECD and the European Commission. The study supports the establishment of the AIP, while providing a framework and road map for the launching of it. The framework and road map has since then been updated based on stakeholder consultations. While working on the study and developing the final version of the framework and road map, the project also kept all relevant institutions informed about where the project was heading. The project has therefore answered all the set objectives.
Concrete road map ready to be implemented
All NSPA regional development organisations as well as other key stakeholders were closely consulted in the process leading to the road map. The latest version, which will also function as the building block for the continued Arctic Investment Platform cooperation, can be found here.
Future cooperation in practice
A Cooperation Agreement between regions has been prepared in parallel to the final updates on the road map ahead. By the end of October, 9 NSPA regions (Lapland, Central-Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, North Karelia, Västerbotten, Västernorrland, Jämtland Härjedalen, Nordland and Troms & Finnmark) have decided to sign the agreement and thereby continue the cooperation based on the propositions laid forward by the feasibility study and road map project. This cooperation will run until the end of 2021 under the name Arctic Investment Platform Implementation Project. The aim of the project is to prepare for having a functional Arctic Investment Platform from the beginning of 2022.
Feasibility study and road map project
The aim of the Arctic Investment Platform (AIP) feasibility study and road map project was to make use of top-level European experts and join the forces of the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) of Finland, Sweden and Norway to:
- Analyse the demand and feasibility of a structured funding co-operation of the NSPA regions to boost the investment capacity of the regions SMEs;
- Propose a framework for such a support system;
- Provide a tangible road map for the set-up of such a support system if deemed feasible;
- Ensure credible resources to engage in a dialogue with the institutions relevant to the set-up of such a system (incl. regional stakeholders, national funding agencies, financial institutions, European Investment Bank (EIB), European Commission and national ministries in each of the three countries).
A more structured investment co-operation can take many different forms depending on the market gap or need it aims to fix. These gaps and the demand for new or more structured support systems between the NSPA regions needed to be explored in depth. The results will form the basis for construction of a new or enhanced investment support. We refer to such cross-border funding/support structure as the Arctic Investment Platform.
The Arctic Investment Platform project was funded by the Interreg Nord program, the regional development organisations of Lapland, Oulu Region, Kainuu, North Karelia, Pohjois-Savo, South Savo, Västerbotten, Norrbotten, Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, and the city of Oulu. The project was coordinated by the Regional Council of Lapland and was being implemented from 01.01.2019 to 30.9.2020.
Partner organisations in the project were:
- Regional Council of Lapland (Lead partner)
- Region Västerbotten
- Business Oulu
- Region Norrbotten
- Norinnova AS
Before the Interreg Nord project a pre-feasibility study was conducted via a shorter AIP project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and coordinated by the Regional Council of Lapland. The pre-feasibility study focused on the investment gaps and barriers in the NSPA regions of Finland, Sweden and Norway and provided the basis for the Interreg Nord project.
Public events, presentations & other visibility
Presentation of Arctic Award nominated project’s results on Interreg Nord webpage and social media (20 October 2020)
Cross-border investment opportunities in the Arctic, 14 May 2020 (Online)
Official side event to Arctic Frontiers, 28 January 2020 (Tromsø, Norway)
- Programme – Brighter Future Arctic Investment Opportunities
- AIP presentation – Brighter Future Arctic Investment Opportunities
EU Arctic Forum, 3 October 2019 (Umeå, Sweden)