APAC ambassadors visit Espoo Innovation Garden to meet local startups

“If you can sell something in Finland. You can sell it in Australia,” said Lars Backström, Ambassador to Australia at the Growth markets: ASEAN, India & Australia event.

With a full house and over 50 companies represented, Innovation House Finland in Otaniemi, Espoo was buzzing on 16 August. The reason was simple: Finland’s ambassadors to APAC region along with Business Finland experts had come to Espoo Innovation Garden to meet the local companies at the Growth markets: ASEAN, India & Australia event.

“We’re delighted that so many Espoo Innovation Garden companies came to meet the ambassadors and to get valuable insights on how to make it in APAC markets. It was great to organise this event together with Team Finland and Innovation House Finland – we were able to bring our local companies together with the right people who can and really want to help them succeed in the markets,” said Glenn Gassen, Director, Innovation, Growth & Invest In at Espoo Marketing Oy.

The main message from the ambassadors was clear: APAC is the region for growth, and Finnish companies really should go there! Australia, for example, has had 28 years of constant growth. Meanwhile, Indonesia, a somewhat unknown market in Finland, has become the 14thbiggest economy in the world. It is expected to be 4thby 2030, according to Business Finland Director Jyrki Härkki.

Similarly, the relatively smaller markets in the APAC region offer clear opportunities. Whether it’s the demand for all things high-tech, better education, need for sustainable solutions to fight climate change or due to the fast pace of urbanisation and digitalisation, Finnish companies offer what is needed.

For startups, Thailand may be the place to look at. According to Ambassador Satu Suikkari-Kleven, Thailand wants to be the regional hub for startups while many big companies are also there to look for investment opportunities. Singapore, said Ambassador Antti Vänskä, is surprisingly similar to Finland – with great opportunities in, for example, digitalisation, education, energy and health.

Of course, it won’t be easy to make it in the APAC markets, big or small. Many of the ambassadors emphasised that while the demand is huge in their respective countries, competition is very tough. And you really need to be present in the markets.

But, remember, you’re not alone. Team Finland network exists to help Finnish companies succeed in international markets. And the whole point of Growth markets: ASEAN, India & Australia was to bring the Espoo Innovation Garden companies face-to-face with the people from the network. Looking at the enthusiasm of the ambassadors and the turnout of local companies, one thing’s for sure. Team Finland network really wants to tell the numerous great stories from Espoo abroad.