Marketing Mikkeli & South Savo

This region has many strengths, and some unique dimensions. These strengths may be natural, historical, cultural, etc. Certainly this area has special natural beauty. It also has a unique and illustrious history, and is now a vibrant and ambitious modern community. In marketing the region we want to make the most of our strong points, such as those below:

Key Strengths of the Mikkeli / South Savo Region:
  • great natural beauty & resources of nature
  • multiple universities and their infrastructure
  • substantial inflows of tourists to holiday cottages
  • many investors in the region (who've purchased land, cottages, etc.)
  • energetic, hard-working & clever young people
  • etc...

How can we mobilize collaboration? Successful regional development is often (perhaps always) a partnership among assorted interests. Can the energies of our community be aroused and tapped as inspired people participate? Will Mikkeli & South Savo support a loosely-coupled distributed project, or must we operate rigidly and hierarchically? Most people understand that if traditional "project owners" assert control, much fun is lost, and grass-roots voluntarism & other resources may be redirected... where we can mobilize the inspired energies of many sectors, we all can win. Let's stimulate creativity!

Strengths & weaknesses of Mikkeli & South Savo
South Savo Nature
© 2008, "Mikkeli Muscle" My Mikkeli Poster Festival  

The below assortment of suggestions was collected in February 2008 from over 400 facts and ideas submitted by HSE Mikkeli "Destination Marketing" BScBA students. Statistical references cited are often web-based; most should be otherwise confirmed (original documentation is often in Finnish). Please consider this data a starting point for further comparison and research. [list still being compiled; more to come!]
  • Uniqueness of Lake Saimaa district. Not only is it unique in Finland but in the world as well. For instance, the special "Saimaa ringed seal" is only met in this region in the world.
    -- Suvi Saarinen

  • People: negative and pessimistic attitudes prevent development. Close-minded and somewhat intolerant people tend to complain about major & minor construction plans (worst case: re-planning of transportation in the centre of Savonlinna took some 40 years before government acceptance, due to complaints by individuals)
    -- Juho Mikkonen

  • "The Mikkeli region is situated amidst lakes and forests, making it a natural centre for wood refining. Other strong sectors include the graphics industry and foodstuffs. Mikkeli is also home to Europe’s largest veneer factory, as well as the largest gravure printing press in the Nordic region."
    -- Damien Ryan

  • A positive aspect of the Mikkeli area, based on personal experience, is that the locals are very friendly to each other and once you've had at least one discussion with your local shopkeeper you can share stories as if you would have known each other for a long time. These relationships give people a sense of belonging and safety after only a short period of staying here.
    -- Nina Harjulin

  • Like any other city, Mikkeli's charm struggles with homeless people during the summer. They can be found anywhere and everywhere, some of them even causing mishap such as putting washing powder into the local fountain in order to protest (which caused a week of cleaning for the whole city). They also have a tendency of attempting to sleep in story buildings elevators and halls; despite this they are usually fairly harmless. One of the most beloved bums actually passed away last autumn, which caused a sense of loss in almost everyone who lived in Mikkeli, as the place was not the same without him. If one wants to look at it from a positive aspect, one can only imagine how much they contribute to collecting bottles and recycling them.
    -- Nina Harjulin

  • Mikkeli has a rather small number of foreigners. This can be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on personal values/beliefs/perceptions. To me it is a disadvantage as lack of foreigners often implies a hostile and narrow-minded atmosphere/culture within the region. Diversity is the generator for innovation. For instance, according to a report on welfare in Mikkeli conducted by the city of Mikkeli (January 2003) the percentage of foreigners in the population of Mikkeli in 2001 was 1.26%. During 1991 and 2001 there was an increase of 1% in the foreign population share in Mikkeli according to the same source mentioned above.
    -- Suvi Saarinen

  • Mikkeli has unfortunately also built itself a reputation of being a fairly foreigner-hostile city. Many of the pizza/kebab places have experienced some sort of discriminative activity and some international students of color have been exposed to unfriendly conduct of behavior on behalf of the Mikkeli people. This may be due to the city still being fairly unused to foreigners and will hopefully pass away by time. Although Mikkeli still suffers from some "small-town" syndromes, it is well on its way to establishing itself as a home, place to study, vacation resort and as an international city. By the help of tourists, the Helsinki School of Economics International program, the University of Applied Sciences and small enterprises based in Mikkeli that are expanding, it can hopefully one day be seen as an attractive city by a wider population segment.
    -- Nina Harjulin

  • Mikkeli is the perfect destination for a nice quiet weekend alone. There are numerous forests and walking paths around the city whilst still being able to experience the normal pleasures of civilisation.
    -- Niall Herlihy

  • Mikkeli has its own Rodeo Drive. Some Mikkeli student housing is arranged on a street called Raviradantie; with some artistic freedom, the name can be translated into English as Rodeo Drive. The first house on the street even has a sign that says "Rodeo Drive". This can be used as a marketing tool, to give those looking for a place to study an ironically glamorous impression of Mikkeli.
    -- Määttä Tuuli

  • Mikkeli has Siiskonen!   Siiskonen Oy is a company that produces bread and other such foods, both salty and sweet. The products are only sold in Mikkeli and the Savo region. Their ruiskuoripiirakka – a pie of rice pudding covered with rye – is phenomenal, and not nearly famous enough. That is to say, it has more marketing potential than has been taken into use.
    -- Määttä Tuuli

  • When trying to make Mikkeli attractive to those who are considering coming to live here, one has to somehow make it seem like there is more to Mikkeli than there actually is. Apart from the occasional play, hockey game, or movie, there is nothing to see here long-term. On a Saturday night, it may even be difficult to find a place to have a drink – and all candidates can be checked out in fifteen minutes on foot.
    -- Määttä Tuuli

  • Mikkeli has data on history. For those interested in tracing back their family lines, Mikkeli has the old archives of the areas that were given over to the Soviet Union after the war. Thus, it is a town frequently visited by those who were born for instance in Karjala.
    -- Määttä Tuuli

  • The National Library of Finland, Mikkeli (I heard about this library from my roommate who visited there for class). Finland has two of this type of library, one in Helsinki, the other in Mikkeli. The library preserves old documents, music, newspapers, etc. through digitalization. As the library invites experts in that advanced field, it will be good for the local economy.
    -- Yun Jeong Hwang

  • Visulahti theme park is a nationally-known tourist attraction that brings people to Mikkeli from other parts of the country. Unfortunately it's open only during the summer. From last year there's also been a summer festival in Visulahti which proved to be rather successful.
    -- Jukka Kylliäinen

  • Visulahti attracts some 180,000 visitors in 2½ months.
    -- Tiina Tykkyläinen

  • Visulahti has been widely advertised ... but in reality, it has not been made quite attractive enough. The only thing welcoming people to the park is a huge plastic dinosaur on an empty parking lot.
    -- Määttä Tuuli

  • In the district there are many schools and universities which offer education for students in all age. You can find 28 comprehensive schools, a few upper secondary schools and a vocational college. Furthermore there are universities like the Helsinki School of Economics and the Mikkeli Polytechnic which has the largest number of polytechnic students in Finland. Some other small schools are also operating in Mikkeli. In summary, there are many students living in Mikkeli which generates a youthful character in the city and creates much knowledge, so that Mikkeli is an interesting talent pool for companies.
    -- Tobias Walle

  • Safe town for families with children or the elderly to live in, but there isn’t much targeted for teenagers.
    -- Heidi Hänninen

  • Perfect destination to experience the Finnish cottage culture...
    -- Heidi Hänninen

  • Mikkeli Cathedral: capacity of 1200 seats.
    -- Mickaël Charles

  • Mikkeli / South Savo's 2008 income tax (19.50%) is considerably higher than the average income tax in Finland (18.55%).;29;60;498;114858;129741;129987
    -- Antti Mattila

  • The growing season is relatively short (about 5 months) compared to other European countries.
    -- Antti Mattila
  • South Savo Nature
    © 2008, Suvi Saarinen, My Mikkeli Poster Festival  

  • People in Mikkeli use relatively more alcohol than people in Finland on average. This is a threat for people’s well-being and health.
    -- Minna Rantala

  • Investing in property in the lake Saimaa region seems to be quite profitable as demand rises and supply falls. In other words, as protecting the unique nature of Saimaa has become the top priority for the local government, they want to limit the effect of human activity on the environment. Thus, as less and less building permits are granted and more nature conservation areas are established, the value of property is rising sharply. For instance, according to the National Land Survey of Finland the average price of waterfront property in Finland rose by 18% in the year 2006. The growth is expected to continue further.
    -- Suvi Saarinen

  • "Lack of own university"
    [Editorial note: though Mikkeli is a large university center, older universities from elsewhere have Mikkeli branch campuses; the Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences (MAMK) or Polytechnic, has seemingly yet to become a wholly accepted part of the university sector]
    -- Minna Rantala

  • "The Mikkeli University Consortium is a recently established networked academic community, founded on the provision of scientific research and university-level teaching and interaction with surrounding society. Its strength is derived from the considerable scientific expertise of the four Finnish universities that established the Consortium and enable it to fulfil regional needs. The Mikkeli University Consortium strives to integrate its know-how of nature and the environment with technological and entrepreneurial expertise... (from) Mikkeli-based units of four Finnish universities: University of Helsinki, Helsinki School of Economics, Lappeenranta University of Technology and University of Kuopio."
    Mikkeli University Consortium
    -- Hanna Väkevä

  • Harness racing is organized in Mikkeli around the year. It is one of the most popular sports people watch in Finland but at the same time unique and exotic to many foreign travellers. A world record was set at Mikkeli race track in 2002, and the St.Michel trotting race is particularly famous around the world.
    -- Susanna Ollila, Antti Mattila, Hanna Väkevä & Petri Lassi

  • Mikkeli has one of the best hockey teams, Jukurit in the first division.
    -- Matias "coolMASA" Hyyrynen

  • Kesämaa (Summerland) in Punkaharju is an adventure park with dozens of activity areas for the whole family, including for example a 100-metre water slide and a heated swimming-pool.
    -- Hanna Väkevä

  • An attraction of Savonlinna is the world's northernmost medieval stone castle Olavinlinna that nearly 200,000 people visit every year.
    -- Suvi Väkeväinen

  • Mikkeli has the third highest taxes in Finland. A family earning an average salary pays 12,677EUR of taxes per year. This is 1368EUR more than for the equivalent family living in Helsinki.
    -- Suvi Väkeväinen

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