Five for Friday: Internationalisation
Finnish innovations take many forms and sizes – imagine everything from dried grasshopper snacks to roof-building robots and energy created from used tires. Now it’s time to go global!
Organised by Team Finland, the annual Team Finland Day on 24 August brought together 600 Finnish companies with one thing in common: an interest in internationalisation.
“A product development process should never end with having a great finished product in your hand but with selling this product abroad,” says Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Kai Mykkänen.
The event sought to shine a light on gaining a foothold on global markets, with Team Finland’s expert network opening doors to international sales, export funding and funding from abroad.
Established companies were on hand to share their stories of making a global impact, along with those about to take their first steps on new markets.
Here’s but a handful of the companies that caught our eye.
First emerging in 1987, today this company is one of the biggest in the Nordic and Baltic countries, with a strong presence in Europe, Asia and US. Offering a wide range of research and consultation services in medicine, food and nutrition, the aim is to find efficient, safe and cost-effective healthcare products.
“It is worth first establishing yourself abroad, where the markets often are more open to new things, and then go back to the Finnish market,” advises managing director Tuija Keinonen. “The competition is tough, so you have think big and remove the typical Finnish modesty. Customers won’t knock on your door so you have to have the courage to go out there and network.”
In March, Medfiles took a bold new step and was bought by Japanese firm WDB Holdings. The company still has a strong Finnish identity and its European headquarters are located in Kuopio.
Also known as Entis, these five entrepreneurs are riding the nutritious and ecological insect wave and seek to put delicious Finnish creepy-crawlies on dining tables. They want to be part of a food revolution and are inviting everyone to join them.
For Entis, insects offers endless possibilities of variation and after only three months of operations they have managed to get onto the shelves of several retailers and have already received an order from abroad.
“Our plan is to first establish ourselves on the Finnish market and then take on Central Europe – but it can be changed of course,” says co-founder Samuli Tiskala.
This company’s values and goals make developing countries in Africa and Asia the perfect market. Nocart offers power management units, systems and power, producing environmentally conscious energy from a variety of innovative energy sources. These include waste from agriculture production or even used tires that often end up laying dormant in big piles.
Earlier this year you could read about the company’s success in, for example, Zambia.
“It is important to have contacts and presence in the country as well as patience – and then more patience,” says the managing director Vesa Korhonen. “We are all about new ways to create energy and when establishing yourself globally you have to be able to think about your plans and markets in a different way than in Finland.”
These revolutionary automatic production lines for the roof truss industry take care of 75 per cent of the building process.
“We have a unique product that does not require human labour,” says managing director Matti Lehtipuu. “This means that the machine is an efficient investment on a long term basis.”
Today they are just about to enter the North American and European markets and the Team Finland Day is a way for them to get hands-on information about the sales in these markets. For them, the US market is a perfect fit with some 1.2 million new building projects up for grabs.
Highlighting the unique produce that the Finnish nature has to offer, this blueberry soda is made of local blueberries and contains less sugar than normal soda.
“Finnish blueberries are filled with vitamins and antioxidants and we want to bring a new form of them to the global market that is different to how you normally consume blueberries,” says the production manager Patrik Pyöriä.
The company has (similarly to Entis) received a significant amount of help from Nuori Yrittäjyys to get going. After appearing at Team Finland Day last year, I’m Blue has since established itself in the Finnish market. Its goal is to now enter the global market via Thailand and Singapore, where they have established important contacts with ambassadors through the Team Finland Day event.