Level Up Lapland ESF+ project

The gaming industry is the biggest cultural export industry in Finland. It is a growing and international industry with a total turnover of over 2 billion euros in Finland (2020). The country’s gaming industry is largely concentrated in the capital region, other cities in southern Finland and the area around Oulu. The goal of this project is to boost the creation of gaming companies in Lapland.

Since 2017, the Lapland University of Applied Sciences and the University of Lapland have together organized an annual game development course, where student teams create games. There have been around 60–90 participants on the course, and its popularity has grown year by year.

Many of the teams partaking in this course have produced games with commercial potential. However, the universities have lacked the resources and know-how to help them commercialize them. The number of companies that have emerged from this course has remained small.

The project at hand develops a course that focuses especially on the business aspects of the gaming industry. The participants get entrepreneurial skills and support in planning and creating a company, as well as access to networks in the national gaming ecosystem.

The project also increases the skills and knowledge of the partner universities’ staff, enabling them to continue offering these studies after the project and guide students interested in starting a business in the gaming industry. After the project, the studies will remain in the universities’ curriculum as elective studies.

The course is organized in Rovaniemi, but it includes parts that can be attended remotely. The project also organizes an open event to increase interest in the gaming industry. The project also aims to increase business developers’ knowledge of the gaming industry and their ability to help clients that are planning business operations in the industry, as well as companies that have already been established.

The project strengthens Lapland’s start-up ecosystem, especially with regard to the gaming industry. This has the potential to increase the number of gaming companies in Lapland and decrease the migration of gaming industry experts from the region, as well as to make Lapland more attractive to gaming companies. In the long term, the project supports the renewal of Lapland’s business life and financial well-being.

Project duration

Project partners
University of Lapland (Project leader) and Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Budget and funding
The total budget of the project is € 497 343. The project is funded by the European Social Development Fund Plus / North Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. Total EU and State funding € 397 874.