ELY Centre
“Team Finland can open doors for a company in their exporting country that would otherwise remain closed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ambassadors in the country enable contacts with the locals,” says Kaj Suomela.

Teamed up to help

As part of Team Finland, ELY Centre helps Finnish companies go global

When an expansion-minded company wants to go global, Team Finland steps in. It assists companies to head for the international market and to operate in their target country. Although internationalisation can be achieved without any help, Team Finland saves companies a lot of effort.

“We recommend that enterprises find out at least about risks through official routes. It will save them a lot of time and money,” says Kaj Suomela, the Director of the ELY Centre (Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment) for Ostrobothnia.

Suomela particularly urges companies to find out what kinds of contracts are advisable in the target country.

“Every country’s corporate culture has its own conventions. To succeed, you have to know what you’re doing.”

Team Finland brings state-funded internationalisation services all into one place. Team Finland operators in Ostrobothnia include the ELY Centre, TE Services (labour office), Finpro, Finnvera and Viexpo. These Ostrobothnian operators are the first in Finland to also work in the same premises, which makes cooperation easier. Team Finland is a service concept for excellent collaboration and working together for a common goal. Although this is a new way of organising things, these players have worked together before. What Team Finland has brought them is improved contacts abroad. With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ambassadors involved, making contacts in the target country becomes much easier.

Any company can communicate with Team Finland, which will find out what kinds of opportunities the company has to make it in the international market. Their member institutions will investigate whether there is a demand for the company’s products or services and whether its finances allow it to seek internationalisation. In Ostrobothnia, there are many subcontractors for large companies, and Team Finland is helping them to advance themselves in order to expand their client base.

“Our absolute spearhead is Clean Tech. We have tremendous competence in that field in Finland,” Suomela says.

Although internationalisation requires a great deal from companies, Team Finland is not there just for large operators. Many small companies are heading for neighbouring markets, such as Sweden and Norway. These companies also need help.

Despite the deteriorating employment situation, Team Finland in Ostrobothnia has no shortage of work. New companies are cropping up, especially around the energy cluster. Wind power is another field that has generated a lot of business over the last few years.

“Employment in this region is still the best in Finland. Ostrobothnia has a great combination of industry and agriculture,” Suomela reflects.

The ELY Centre is also responsible for rural development. This includes development of SMEs in the countryside and also agricultural farm units.

THE ELY CENTRE

www.ely-keskus.fi/pohjanmaa

kirjaamo.pohjanmaa@ely-keskus.fi

Tel. +358 295 028 500

Business sector: Promoting entrepreneurship, the functioning of the labour market, preservation of a thriving countryside, competence and Tekes services (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation).

Employees: 175

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