Lead markets are created in order to improve the operating environment and therefore provide businesses with the motivation and prerequisites to become trailblazers in world markets. The purpose of the European Union’s Lead Market Initiative for Europe is to promote demand for innovative products and services through a systematic policy, and to develop a process for improving the regulatory environment. Primary instruments for implementing this initiative include legislation, public procurement and standardisation, as well as labelling and certification.
The European Commission has selected six lead market areas, in which they aim to create lead markets in Europe:
These markets are highly innovative, respond to consumer needs and, in Europe, rest on a technologically and industrially solid basis. Compared to other markets, their operating conditions are more amenable to improvement by political means. The Commission has drawn up action plans for each of the six market areas for 2008 - 2011.
In the national innovation strategy, lead markets are viewed as a prime means of overcoming the modest size of the home market, cited as one of Finland’s weaknesses in comparisons of competitive ability. Under this strategy, Finland undertakes to create lead markets promoting Finnish innovation activity in selected areas within the EU, and to launch the necessary national measures.