Oulu is a rapidly developing North European Centre of growth. The sixth largest city in Finland with a population of ca. 127 000 people it is growing fast as the economic and educational centre of northern Finland. Oulu is the home of some 8000 businesses, with an average net increase of some 150 firms early. Also commonly known as the Silicon Valley of the North, Oulu is the home of the oldest Technology Park in the Nordic Countries (founded in 1982) and declared itself the City of Technology in 1984. Today, 12 000 people within the region are working in the high-tech industry.
The Oulu region is, as seen above, considered a new type of industrial district with some special characteristics. The local authorities, university, research institutes, Technology Park and the network interdependence between large enterprises and SMEs play an essential role in the new development. These are features commonly connected to the concept of regional innovation system of Oulu.
The development and success of the Oulu innovation system has been mainly connected to the development of mobile technology and its implementation and application on various other fields of business. The most essential factors of success behind the so-called Oulu model have been the close and innovative co-operation and forming of innovation chains between high tech-companies (especially Nokia), the Technical Research Centre of Finland/Oulu Unit, the University of Oulu and local authorities.