In the broadest sense, a start-up refers to a young enterprise seeking growth, but only a small proportion of new enterprises are start-ups. Their economic significance has, however, grown and they play a key role in transforming new ideas into business operations, generating jobs and in the reform of the sector’s structures. So far, it has been difficult to accumulate information about start-ups and there is not currently a clear and systematic source enabling their temporal comparison.
Vainu’s service identifies approximately 2,300 enterprises in Finland that meet the requirements of the algorithm used by Vainu to identify start-ups. In the Tampere Region, the service recognises 245 start-ups (June 2017). Because the operation of the Vainu service is based on machine learning and a continuously developing algorithm, it does not enable simple comparison of data accumulated at different times.*
According to the data collected by Vainu, start-ups particularly operate in information-intensive fields. Of the start-ups operating in the Tampere Region, the majority are in the field of information and communications (66.9%): three start-ups out of five operate in the field of programming and its related consulting. The second largest group comprises enterprises engaging in professional, scientific and technical operations (18.4%). Third comes industry (6.9%). When compared to the examination of start-ups in 2016, the distribution of operational fields seems very similar.
The majority of start-ups recognised in the Tampere Region are located in the Tampere area. Four out of five start-ups have registered Tampere as their domicile (78.8%). The number of personnel is provided only for about half the enterprises, the majority being micro-enterprises, i.e. employing less than 10 people.
One indication to describe the situation of start-ups in the region is investments made by capital investors in initial- and growth-phase companies. Of course, companies attracting investments represent a fairly small group of start-ups. In the Tampere Region, information on capital investments targeting companies has been accumulated since 2012. By 2016, Venture transactions totalled EUR 38.5 million. In 2016, risk funding was allocated to the Tampere Region in the amount of EUR 8.4 million, distributed between 11 companies.
In 2016, funding allocated through Tekes’ “Young Innovative Companies” programme totalled EUR 3.4 million and was distributed between 10 companies in the Tampere Region. Two new companies based in the Tampere Region were selected for the programme in 2016. The share of the Tampere Region of 2016 YIC funding was approximately 14.8% and the share of new companies selected for the programme was approximately 5.5%. Both YIC and risk funding are characterised by large variations in euros between different years.