GHP and AmCham have during this year conducted dozens of in-depth interviews with country managers and managing directors of international companies operating in Finland. The interviews were part of the ROI Finland program, where the objective is to support foreign-owned companies in expanding their business in Finland.
The one overlaying conclusion of the interviews is that the managing directors of the foreign-owned companies are eager to improve the Finnish business environment in order to make it more attractive for growth and re-investments.
The below topics were identified as specifically relevant to foreign-owned companies. We will take on these issues and also see them as initiatives for us to guide and direct our investor development operations and services for 2012 and onwards.
Developing a collaborative community for foreign-owned companies
Finnish companies are well represented by domestic industry associations, which give them a strong national voice. Foreign-owned firms have however, up to this point, not been adequately represented.
AmCham Finland will create a forum to meet this need. The forum will provide an opportunity for executives of foreign affiliate companies in Finland to discuss areas of common concern and develop policy recommendations that will be advocated through AmCham’s existing channels, such as the Policy Committee.
Making the most of the Finnish innovation system
Finland’s $12 billion-per year innovation system ranks third in the World Economic Forum’s 2010-2011 global innovation index. Finland excels in capacity for innovation, quality of scientific research institutions, company spending on R&D, university-industry collaboration in R&D, government procurement of advanced technology products, availability of scientists and engineers, and utility patents per capita.
Though excellent, the innovation system can be difficult to access. In particular, companies with limited operational resources in Finland find it challenging to navigate.
In 2012, we will strive to ensure that select international companies that we engage with in our investor development activities can take full advantage of this world-renowned system. We will together with the companies find better ways to make use the innovation system as a means to drive growth, development and expansion. We will develop a closer network of contacts within the Finnish innovation system and connect companies with the relevant and correct entities.
Promoting Finland as a great place to do business
Finland is famous for its transparency, education system, straightforwardness, and low levels of bureaucracy. Finnish infrastructure excels in terms of physical transportation as well as telecommunications. Utilities are competitively priced and function well, as does the society as a whole. The metropolitan area has also seen an increasing amount of foreign direct investment (FDI).
The need for fact-based, easy to use and disseminate materials on Finland as a business environment were mentioned several times in the interviews. Country directors quite often a need for such material to better market this country and the opportunities it offers to the their international peers and also headquarters.
In 2012, we will share with you a compact set of fact-based material about the Finnish business environment, featuring an outlook on Finnish key business ecosystems, economic indicators, and key hotspots for doing business in Finland, as well as a special focus on the Helsinki Region. The material has been specifically developed to communicate the relative strengths of Finland as a place to do business.