Suupohja Development association
Local Action Groups (LAG's) help develop their operating area by funding local rural development projects and granting support for small rural entrepreneurs and communities. They aim to increase the competitive capacity of their region and to make it a more attractive living environment by delivering LEADER funds. The acronym LEADER stands for Liaisons Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale, which is European Union's initiative for rural development.
Suupohja Development Association is one of the 54 LAG's in continental Finland. SKY (short for Suupohjan KehittämisYhdistys, which means Suupohja Development Association in Finnish) is a registered association that operates in the sub-region called Suupohja. This area includes the municipalities of Kauhajoki, Isojoki, Karijoki, Teuva and Kurikka (Jurva area and downtown):
- the number of inhabitants is 36.000
- the area is 3 588 km²
- the population density is 9,4 inhabitants per km²
- around 2 900 companies, 1 500 farms
SKY was established by the local people of the Suupohja region in 1996. Executive manager with his staff does the operational work and the board makes decisions about the financing.
The board has 15 members : 5 represent the municipalities, 5 local communities and 5 are private people.
In addition to LEADER work, SKY has projects in the field of village movement and environment planning. The staff gives advice on filling out a community investment money application and helps young people make their dreams come true by financing youth projects from its own funds.
The sub-region called Suupohja is located in Western Finland in the province (region) called Etelä-Pohjanmaa (South Ostrobothnia). The distance to the Finnish capital, Helsinki, is 300-350 km and to the centre of the province, Seinäjoki, 60-100 km. The sub-region of Suupohja includes five municipalities: Isojoki, Karijoki, Kauhajoki, Kurikka and Teuva. Suupohja is a province with ca 36 000 inhabitants.
Characteristics of the area:
The scenery varies from flat open terrain and farmlands to the more hilly areas in the southern parts of the region. In Suupohja region there are also forests, peatlands and small river valleys. Protected areas: -Lauhavuori National Park - Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park - Isojoki - UNESCOs Project Aqua River. Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark has submit application to UNESCO Global Geopark.
The province is characterised by entrepreneurship. The commercial structure of the area is dominated by strong primary production portion. Three primary industries are materials handling and logistics systems as well as furniture and foodstuffs industries.
The region has four ski resorts (for example Snowpark Parra and Sotkanrinne Ski Slope) for cross-country-skiing, two for slalom and two national parks with routes for walking and other excursions. The region also has bowling saloons, a tennis hall, a golf-course and several sports centres and playing-grounds.
The national parks of Lauhanvuori and Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas, along with numerous other recreational areas provide a chance to get acquainted with the ridges and forests formed by the Suomenselkä water shed. The scenery typical to this province is unique in Ostrobothnia.
Culture, tradition and scenery have all contributed to the development of the tourism industry with the assistance of good co-operation between local municipalities.