The Mehtimäki Well-being and Sports Testing Center - Creating New Business, Services, and Entrepreneurship
The project is funded by Just Transition Fund (JTF). The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland, City of Joensuu (coordinator), Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Sport Institute of Eastern Finland.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment estimates the size of the entire sports industry to be at least 5.5 billion euros (Statistics Center 2023). Significant growth has occurred in several different industries; in services, tourism, sports events, entertainment and experience services. During the years 2013–2018, for example, the number of companies in the sports sector has increased by more than 30%. (eSignals, Haaga-Helia, Häkkilä, Lehmusto 14.03.2020). The development of the sports and wellness business is one solution to the upheaval in North Karelia’s economic activity.
North Karelia’s regional Just Transition Fund (JTF) transition plan states: ‘At the core of the measures is the diversification and renewal of business operations. The creation of new jobs, the development of functioning companies and the founding of new companies are therefore of paramount importance. As a result of the challenges of the regional economy and the paucity of options for business activities, new ways and experiments are also needed to renew business activities in the region’.
The Mehtimäki project boldly seeks growth by creating a new kind of platform for sports business, learning and research. The Mehtimäki project is responsible for promoting the growth of companies and creating new jobs by creating a platform for exercise and well-being that enables the creation of new services and business opportunities. The platform also enables the creation of research-oriented businesses and student-oriented innovation activities. The platform creates multidisciplinary research and learning environment for the fields of exercise and well-being. The operation is physically located in the Joensuu Arena. The implementers of the project are the City of Joensuu, Sports Institute of Eastern Finland (ISLO), Karelia Ammattikorkeakoulu Oy and the University of Eastern Finland.
The project responds to the focus of the Joensuu City Strategy (2021–2025) and the ”Sports City Joensuu Program”.