The ultimate speed networking event was a success!

On the 27th of February the first in a series of ultimate speed networking events took place at Movenpick Hotel. This was an event organised in co-operation with eight other councils and 60 companies within construction, fit out and design sector met. Keep your eyes out not to miss the next opportunity!

FBC organised gathering for families of Finnish Athletes in the Special Olympics

On Sunday 17th of March, FBC met with some of the families who have traveled from Finland to the UAE to take part in the Special Olympics World Games. Everyone had a great time socializing at the Loop Bar in Bab Al Qasr Hotel in Abu Dhabi!

Head of International Innovation Partnerships at Business Finland

Busy week in deepening trade relations for FBC 

Last week of February was  busy week for FBC with multiple visitors and events in town to promote business also for the Finns. FBC Board was invited to attend a SME seminar organized by the Ministry of Finance.  Board members Kimmo and Riikka Kytösaari, Seppo Keränen (Business Finland) and Jaana Räsänen-Pentti attended the meeting. Many local and federal initiatives to strengthen operations for small and medium sized enterprizes were elaborated in the presentations. Mr. Mika Lautanaho of Business Finland gave a presentation on the Finnish innovation and r&d policy, targets and funding instruments.  He described the importance of SME funding through Business Finland through client estimates, that 2018 projects will generate 8.8 billion euros in turnover and 6.9 billion euros in exports. The target for Team Finland is to double R&D investments and exports of SME's by 2025. Other countries invited to present were Ireland and Sweden. 

Business Council corporate members were also invited to Business Finland to discuss with Mr Mika Lautanaho and Mr Seppo Keränen to discuss how to optimise and align Business Finland, Finland’s Dubai EXPO 2020 mission and FBC agendas in the wake of Dubai EXPO 2020. Many strategic and operative initiatives were discussed, such as the establishment of the Finnish HUB to support and summon activities under one umbrella and a physical space. FBC ws pleased to note the 'go get' -spirit we seem to share collectively.

Jaana Räsänen-Pentti

Honorary Chairman

New Commercial Counsellor at Business Finland Dubai Office

My name is Seppo Keränen and I started as Commercial Counsellor in Business Finland Dubai office on 1st of January 2019. My main responsibilities related to “Do Business with Finland”; innovation and export activities, as well full support to Visit Finland and invest in Finland activities mainly in the United Arab Emirates.

 I have travelled a long way with earlier Finpro and so I believe that I have extremely good understanding of the challenges our companies are facing in their growth path. During the years, my main tasks have included e.g. Head of India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA) region, program director of the education growth program; construction, logistics and machinery responsibility in regional consultative sales team covering IMEA and Central and East Europe (CEE) and account management in manufacturing, energy and environment fields. Before joining Finpro I worked e.g. for Rautaruukki Corporation (Iron and Steel) for many years in various management positions and also worked 3 years in same sector in Saudi Basic Industries (Sabic).

 Business Finland (BF) created on 1st January 2018 by the merger of two organizations: Finpro, which offered services for internationalization, investments and tourism promotion, and Tekes, which offered funding for innovation activities. Business Finland employs 600 experts in 40 offices overseas and in 18 regional offices around Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network.

 BF has new organizational structure and many new services for Finnish companies and research players in Finnish ecosystem. Focus is on the companies that seek international growth & research organizations in cooperation with companies. BF offers today competence & market knowledge, contacts & networks and funding.

 BF ecosystems is currently running a few national programs for Finnish companies in the ecosystem. Four (4) national programs are also focusing to UAE: Food from Finland, Health & Wellbeing, Smart Energy and Visit Finland (tourism). Program teams get support from the internal advisors, global network (GN) and external experts in the target markets.

BF has recently launched new database for external experts. Aim is to get more expertise for Finnish companies’ international business expansion. When companies need new customers, partners, sales channel development, digital sales and marketing, market research, Mergers & acquisitions, founding a company or build internationalization strategy – they will find good experts from Finland and target markets globally from the Expert Search:

 The next step is to have here in Dubai more wider “softlanding” services for companies entering and looking growth in the market.

 Finland will participate the Dubai Expo 2020. Currently there are already almost 30 Finnish companies as partners in the Expo-project and more to come. My responsibility in UAE is to be the first local link and support to our Expo team together with Finland Embassy in UAE, which is highly important asset to our work in all activities.

 Expo 2020 will organized in Dubai from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021. The theme of the Dubai Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” with three sub-themes of “Opportunity”, “Mobility” and “Sustainability”. The organizers are expecting 25 million visitors from all around the world. In Dubai Expo, unlike the previous World Expos, majority of the visitors (70 %) will come from outside the UAE. Aim is to get more businesses for the Finnish partner companies and the companies who are considering join the Expo. First job is to activate new companies and innovation system players towards ambitious growth in UAE.

We all together need to promote Finnish offering and share information regarding Finland and then challenge our companies and link them to business opportunities more closely in our everyday teamwork in UAE, utilize more efficiently wide internal and external competences and networks.  Finland has the most attractive and competitive innovation environment, as a test bed Finland. There are also new process with permit for foreign start-ups to enter Finnish market, where worldclass success stories created.  Task is to keep Finland as a wanted partner to innovate and grow globally.

 Gulf area looks today very promising for all ‘small’ Nordic countries and now is the right time to link the forces together as much as possible and complement each other. I’m sure that at the near future the mutual Nordic Innovation center will be established also in UAE.

 Business Finland has had a remarkable role in the growth of Finnish businesses as well as in the investments that international companies make to Finland. Our customers see the funding from BF as their most important source for financing renewal.

·       Export of our customer companies increased by 24 % in 2018.

·       The SME companies that received financing from BF during 2014-2017 increased their turnover by 20 % whereas companies that were not our customers, increased their turnover by 13 %.

·       The amount of foreign investments increased by 44 % (in euros) last year as the 45 Invest in Finland customers invested over 475 million euros to Finland.

·       Visit Finland and the travel sector exceeded the results of the record-high year of 2017: The number of foreign visitors' overnight stays in Finland reached 6,8 million in 2018.

 Values in Business Finland are:

With Passion (innolla) – Think Big (isosti) – All Together (yhdessä) – With Sisu (sisulla)

Nordic Scalers

Many startups never reach their full potential. Even if they are on the right track in terms of growth, taking their business from 20 employees to 200 can be a daunting and difficult task, especially in new markets.

Nordic Scalers want to change this

After a Nordic wave of true global scale-ups and unicorns in recent years, we think the time is right for a program that supports a culture for scaling. The Nordic Scalers program aims to connect scale-up teams with each other and link them to experienced growth founders, corporates and VCs. To boil it down: one of the most resourceful Nordic networks.

The purpose is to enable the most promising scale-ups in the Nordics to grow into becoming the next global corporates like LEGO, IKEA, Nokia, Rema 1000 and Marel.

Download the presentation with further details from here.

Nordic Sundowner - Arab Health

Danish Business Council organized a January Sundowner. It was held at the consulate of Denmark, where all the dignitaries and nordic council members were invited to. CEO American Hospital held a speech, about his views of the healthcare in the region and also gave few hints, about the American Hospital Dubai future plans. 

Wonderful evening closed with drinks, nibbles and networking, which companies present found very beneficial. 

Next Nordic Sundowner will be held on 25th February by Finland, which will be about the Famous Finnish Education System. 

FBC Kick Started 2019 with Robin Mills’ Cutting Edge Energy Analysis

We and our economy are driven by energy and politics – they are intertwined in more ways than we can fathom. With shifting markets and new competitors not forgetting unpredictable political leaders, what is the outlook in our business environment? We had a pleasure to pick the brains of a true expert in the topic. Robin is an industry expert, author in energy & politics and columnist at the National.

 In his presentation Robin demonstrated that the future outlook for Middle East oil & gas exporters remains positive, but with shifting markets and new competitors it is vital to understand how will our playground develop short and long term.  Climate change puts growing pressure on oil & gas exports. Middle East countries and companies are adapting at varying paces and ways to future lower oil demand and prices. He forecasted how will electric vehicle markets develop here and elsewhere and how will renewables and gas change the global energy markets.  We learned how and why downstream in oil and gas will become as prominent as upstream. The geopolitical rivalry over oil and gas forms a complex geographic matrix with sometimes quickly developing global and regional incidents. Robin Mills’ brilliant analysis and insight makes the pieces click. Looking forward to hearing more. Be sure NOT to miss the next occasion!

Thank you Robin!





Robin Mills with Katja Boutou, Chairman and Jaana Räsänen-Pentti, Honorary Chairman (hosting Mills already for 3rd time for FBC!)

Robin Mills with Katja Boutou, Chairman and Jaana Räsänen-Pentti, Honorary Chairman (hosting Mills already for 3rd time for FBC!)

Oulu Region Business Delegation Visits Sharjah

Businesses, education and research institutions from the Oulu Region and the City of Oulu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Emirate of Sharjah from the United Arab Emirates on 15 January 2019. The MOU concerns the establishment of a Finnish innovation cluster in Sharjah.

 The MOU was signed by the Department of Educational and Cultural Services of the City of Oulu, BusinessOulu, OSAO Edu Oy, the Faculty of Technology and the Faculty of Education of the University of Oulu, Collaprime Oy, Flexbright Oy, Solved Oy and Ponkala Architects Oy.

The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a business seminar for the delegation. The seminar focused on investment opportunities in the construction, cleantech, healthcare and education industries. The circular economy and the principles of sustainable development were also prominent topics of discussion. The highlighted industries are spearheads of the smart specialisation strategy of the Regional Programme of the Oulu Region.

 The visit was organised by the Council of Oulu Region in response to an invitation by Sheikh Fahim Sultan Al Qasimi of Sharjah. The visit resulted in eight MOUs with the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park. The R&D&I park was represented in the signing event by CEO Hussain Al Mahmoudi. Hussain Al Mahmoudi underlined that the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park is in a stage of significant development. The newest premises in the R&D&I park were completed two weeks ago.

 The Council of Oulu Region signed a cooperation agreement in January 2017 with AUS Enterprises, a development company of the American University of Sharjah, and has been coordinating the cooperation for two years. Collaboration between public administration, education and business has been put into practice in a variety of ways. One area of collaboration has been educational service export projects in the region.

 Further information:

 Development Director Tiina Rajala, p. +358406854033,

 Manager of International Affairs Hanna Honkamäkilä, p. +358406854040,



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