Finnish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which took part in Finpro’s ICT industry growth programs, grew rapidly in 2016. Themes of the growth programs covered latest digital trends, ranging from the Internet of Things (IoT) to Smart Retail. All four programs reached solid growth rates both in revenues and in trade.
Finnish digital know-how sells well globally. In 2016, Finpro’s ICT industry growth programs recorded on average a whopping +111 percent revenue growth. Meanwhile, the comparable number for export stood at +174 percent.
Positive results were also evident in terms of employment. The growth program companies added altogether 768 new jobs in 2016.
The results were found in an annual survey by Finpro’s ICT industry. 155 of the total 212 growth program companies answered the survey.
“When it comes to digital skills, Finnish companies are among the best in the world,” says Hanna Marttinen-Deakins, Head of Industry, ICT & Digitalization at Finpro. “The success of 2016 portrays incisively the international potential and aspirations of our companies. Our companies’ offering is highly competitive in the global market place. Finnish companies are sought after business partners not least because of their solid technological competence but also because of the problem solving and trust engineering abilities.”
“The high growth figures are also a result of a focused and strategic approach over a longer period of time,” says Marttinen-Deakins. “The work we have done earlier is becoming visible in the results of 2016. In the end, internationalization is a long-term business; building a solid international footing requires patience and consistent work. So far, we have achieved a lot, but there is still plenty of work to do. The international potential is huge and there are many strategic business partnerships to be built by our Finnish companies”
Wide variety of methods from peer learning to trade missions
At the growth program level the ways and means for international growth were multifaceted.
For instance, eCom Growth program, focusing on digital trade and smart retail, arranged over 60 events for 1600 participators. In addition to direct customer meetings, the growth program organized peer learning events and various theme trainings, which covered the likes of analytics and conversion optimization.
“As the global interest in Finnish and Scandinavian design continues strong, we shipped to nearly 80 countries and saw our international sales grow triple-digits in 2016,” comments Teemu Kiiski, the CEO of Finnish Design Shop. “The growth was fueled by continuous development process focusing on both the back-end and front-end as well as implementing new marketing solutions.”
Meanwhile, Connectivity from Finland growth program sought international growth with country-specific trade missions. Through these trade missions, Finnish companies had the chance to create new customer contacts in the program’s main target markets, which were in Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. As of now, the aforementioned markets are investing heavily in new telecommunications infrastructure, which holds a considerable potential for Finnish connectivity offering.
“In 2016, our turnover grew to 43 million euros from 3.5 million euros of the previous year,” says Jerry Raatikainen, the CEO of Uros Group. “For our company, internationalization is a vital condition. When resources are limited, we have to focus on things that really matter. During the last year, we have taken part in around ten events. Some of these have been in cooperation with Finpro.”
In 2016, Capitalize Your Knowledge growth program (CyK) had a primary focus on Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark. Especially Germany is a truly good fit for Finnish IoT experts, as local industrial companies and SMEs have a strong demand for IoT solutions. For CyK, the main event of 2016 was, probably unsurprisingly, the massive annual industrial exhibition Hannover Messe in Germany.
Finally, Intelligent Vehicle and Mobility growth program (MaaS) carried out a multitude of direct meetings with international customers and took part in a number of main industry events, such as TU Automotive Europe in Munich and Smart City Expo in Barcelona. For MaaS, the main target markets were naturally in Central Europe, Japan and the United States.
“The focus of Foreca’s growth strategy is on international B2B business, especially within the digital media, road weather and automotive industries,” says Petri Marjava, Sales Director at Foreca. “As of now, our globally qualified weather service is trusted by the likes of Microsoft, BMW, TomTom and Yandex. We have actively taken part in Finpro’s growth program activities for a little less than two years.”
Hanna Marttinen-Deakins, Head of Industry, ICT & Digitalization, Finpro, +358 40 3433348, firstname.lastname@example.org