Nokia and Microsoft have teamed up to fund up to €18 million in a mobile application development program at Aalto University in Helsinki. Together the two companies will each invest up to 9 million euros into the program, called AppCampus, over the next three years. The program has been set up to foster the creation of applications for the Windows Phone ecosystem, as well as the Nokia platforms including Symbian and Series 40. The program will begin already in May of 2012.

This movement is clearly to get young Finnish entrepreneurs thinking about opportunities on Windows Nokia phones. As a foreigner in Finland I expected the Finns to “own” the WP7 platform more than I’ve seen them express (the most recent example being Rovio saying they would not develop AngryBirds Space for the WP7 platform, then retracting that statement). But obviously small and large Finnish developers are looking at the same market choices as the rest of the world.

Within the AppCampus program, mobile entrepreneurs will receive comprehensive support, training in mobile technology, design and usability, and funding to create innovative new mobile apps and services. I am under the impression the program is only available for Aalto university students. Edit: we received word that the program is intended for “everyone both from Finland and outside of it, and not just for Aalto Community.”

The Finnish Prime Minister, Jyrki Katainen, was at the launch event today where he said, “Finland is an early-adopter market, and the significance of national education and technology innovation is deeply rooted in our culture. As a result, there is a growing appetite for entrepreneurship among the younger generation at Aalto University and beyond. The partnership between Microsoft and Nokia is a critical investment in this growing ecosystem and represents an exciting opportunity and access to global markets for our local startup community.”

“Through our technology transfer and Aalto Venture Garage activities, the Aalto University community has been able to help catalyze the creation and growth of more than 30 companies during the past two years, with a number of them having mobile applications,” said Will Cardwell, head of the Aalto University Center for Entrepreneurship, which will be charged with managing the program.

“The people and ideas we work with hail from all corners of the world, and our partnership with Microsoft and Nokia will further strengthen our global network. This program will provide a unique opportunity to turn application ideas into real business with the support of world-class partners and coaches.”

More information can be found on the program website.