The Mehtimäki Well-being and Sports Testing Center Investment
The project is funded by Just Transition Fund (JTF). The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland and Karelia University of Applied Sciences (coordinator).
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment estimates the size of the entire sports business sector to be at least 5.5 billion euros (Statistics Finland, 2024). Significant growth has occurred in various industries, including services, tourism, sports events, sports-related applications, entertainment, and experiential services. For example, between 2013 and 2018, the number of companies in the sports sector has increased by over 30% (eSignals, Haaga-Helia, Häkkilä, Lehmusto, 14.03.2020). Developing the sports business is one solution to the transformation of economic activities in North Karelia.
The Regional Just Transition Plan for North Karelia states: ’The core of the measures is diversification and renewal of business operations. The creation of new, alternative jobs, the development of existing businesses, and the establishment of new businesses are therefore of paramount importance. Due to the challenges in the regional economy and the limited alternative options in economic activities, new ways and experiments are needed to renew the region’s business operations, create jobs, and strengthen the connection between these measures and business incubation and knowledge-based development.’The Mehtimäki investment boldly promotes growth by creating a regional platform for sports business, learning, and research through designated investments.
The investments equip the mobile well-being service development and research infrastructure, as well as a permanent measurement and testing environment in Joensuu Areena. Alongside the investment, a development project is implemented, with the City of Joensuu as the main implementer. The result is a hybrid environment that serves sports business and well-being industry for the entire region, providing digital connectivity to different parts of the North Karelia region.