The pilot programme, held in Finnish, aimed to help SMEs build new business from data. Fair data sharing is seen as a new competitive advantage.
Journey of change towards long-term development of competence, competitiveness and well-being
What is it all about?
The IHAN business programme was intended for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aiming to help them create new business with the help of data. The programme language was Finnish, and its duration six months, from August 2020 until February 2021.
The application period for the IHAN business program ended in June 2020. All applicants were notified of the selection decision by e-mail. More information on the selected companies can be found on the Finnish site and in this news item, published in August 2020. Read more about the results and the future of the pilot programme in a news item, published in January 2021.
1. You will learn how to transform your company’s business operations with the aid of data
During the programme, the company will find answers to several strategic questions, such as:
- How do I develop new data-based products and services together with my customers and partners?
- What kinds of skills does my company need for the transformation?
- How can I involve my partner network in business development?
2. Leading specialists will spar with you and your company
The best fair data economy specialists in Finland will provide sparring and help your company create new business with the aid of data according to your company’s development needs. Their specialities include service design, business models, technology architecture, legal and contractual affairs, and financing, and they will ensure that the development ideas created during the programme are implemented in practice.
3. You will get a chance to develop new data-based products and services and implement them in practice
Services will be developed with a customer-oriented approach using service design methods, in which customer feedback is taken into account in the early phases of development. This ensures that the service truly solves the customer’s problem.
4. Your company’s growth and development will be measured and assessed during and after the programme
After the programme, all participants will have a clear view of what was achieved. Sitra’s co-operation partner will create an impact assessment for every participating company.
Who can apply?
The company must be willing to transform their business operations. Creating value together with the company’s partners lies at the core of the programme. The company must have reasonable financial means for making investments in business development as well as time for participating in the programme activities.
The company must be de minimis eligible. De minimis support allows the use of public funds for supporting companies’ business activities.
Read more about the business programme pilot scheme:
- application instructions (available in Finnish only)
- rules and selection criteria (available in Finnish only)
- co-operation agreement template (available in Finnish only)
- programme introduction materials (available in Finnish only)
After reading these materials, if you are interested in applying for the business programme, provide us with your contact details and we will send you the participation application and the de minimis notification form by email. The above-mentioned materials will also be included as email attachments.
You can also find more information about the business programme by watching the following webinar recording (in Finnish):
IHAN-yritysohjelma pähkinänkuoressa 2 – kysy ja kuule! webinar, held on 20 April.
Why is the programme being organised?
The goal of the programme was to test the IHAN project’s tools, materials and lessons learned together with SMEs. During the programme, we helped Finnish SMEs create services that comply with the principles of the fair data economy. In these services, data sharing that is based on trust and the individual’s consent is considered a competitive advantage.
The training materials developed during the business programme will be made publicly available for further development and general use during spring 2021. Our goal is that as the concept evolves as many parties as possible can either make good use of the lessons learned or teach others.
Note: The original application period for the business programme was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic and the changed operating environment.
What was done and achieved?
The six-month programme was built around six modules (Leaps):
- Leap 1. New beginning: determining the customer profile, building a preliminary version of the new business model and identifying data repositories and potential partners.
- Leap 2. Together: creating a customer value promise, promoting the new business model and launching the data network co-operation.
- Leap 3. Transformation: specifying the business model in more detail with the aid of testing and creating a skills map.
- Leap 4. Start moving: creating a transformation plan and a preliminary architecture description for the solution.
- Leap 5. More speed: implementing the transformation plan, testing the business model continuously and implementing the development proposals on the skills map.
- Leap 6. Onwards: developing the service continuously, completing the transformation and monitoring the results.
In practice, the results of the programme included, at the minimum, a validated business model and a viable plan for creating new business.
During the Leaps, each participating company committed to taking part in six workshops, seven company-specific business sparring meetings and three service development meetings as well as to carrying out numerous tasks that promoted the achievement of the programme’s goals.
Each company chosen to the programme had to book an authorised participant from the company for at least 2 days per week for six months (a total of approximately 45 working days).
The IHAN business programme included an extensive set of training materials (available in Finnish) to benefit the facilitators of similar business programmes.
Sitra led and co-ordinated the execution of the IHAN business programme in co-operation with four partners. Sitra acquired strategic business development and service design consulting services from the following companies: Futurice, Innovestor Ignite, KPMG and Taival Advisory.
Various participants will carry out programmes according to the IHAN business programme concept and make the programme widely available to other SMEs as well. For example, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment contributes to ensuring that the pilot programme continues to be used. For information about future programmes, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the continuation of the IHAN business programme can be found in the news article published on 28 January.