The forest industry in South Karelia is top quality. Because of the forest industry, the relative proportion of export is exceptionally high. Southeastern Finland is the Europe’s most important forest industry cluster, and two large Finnish paper industry companies UPM and Stora Enso have centralized their research and development there. The bio-economy is also thriving: In 2015, the world’s first bio-refinery was set up in Lappeenranta.
Lake Saimaa on the Finnish East Coast
Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT, supports strongly the business life, and its strategy aims at solving the world’s most pressing problems. The strengths of the university include new sustainable development operating models, green growth enterprises, supporting the growth of small and medium-sized companies, knowledge in environmental and energy matters, and knowledge of Russian trade and culture.
The proximity of the Finnish-Russian border is vital to industry and commerce in the region. Trade and services in particular have developed significantly thanks to Russian shopping tourism. The importance of tourism has greatly increased in the 2000s throughout the Saimaa region.