Nearly a hundred representatives of Finnish ministries and business organizations met at an event organised in Helsinki by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment with the aim to "discuss and address bottlenecks experienced by companies in their internationalization efforts".
According to the Ministry, the premise for participants was that "more investments are needed to drive internationalization of Finnish companies". And with this in mind, a programme for export and international growth, which is included in the Government programme, will be drawn up in collaboration with business organizations and companies.
Opening statements at the event were made by Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni and Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.
“This programme is one of the key priorities of the Government Programme because Finland depends on exports and on the international competitiveness of our companies. Companies are not yet fully aware of all the internationalization services available, which is why one of the objectives of the programme is to improve the regional, national and international availability and interoperability of internationalization services, and to eliminate any gaps between services,” Minister Kulmuni explained.
Grow number of export companies
The cross-cutting objective of the programme is to grow the number of new export companies and to increase the export volumes of existing companies. To reach these objectives, the programme has been divided into five interconnected work packages:
- Providing better financial services.
- Expanding the internationalization services available.
- Building digital and internationalization competence.
- Creating innovations and billion-euro ecosystems.
- Transitioning to a low-carbon society.
Need for skilled labour
Specific issues raised by the panel included companies’ concerns about the availability of skilled labour, challenges start-ups and SMEs experience with access to financing for internationalization, and companies’ digitalisation skills.
In the panel session, Aape Pohjavirta, Founder & Chief Evangelist at Funzi; Harri Mansikkamäki, International Business Development at Gofore; Otto Lindstedt Vice President at Finnvera; and Pipa Turvanen, Network Manager at Turku Talent, discussed the bottlenecks companies experience in their internationalization efforts.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, panel discussions will serve as a basis for further work on the export and international growth programme.
In addition, workshops and round table discussions will be held in November-December on topics such as RDI funding and ecosystems, service exports, digital and internationalization competence, and reference projects.