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An informative meeting at Finnvera

The morning seminar was kindly opened by H.E. Mr. Åge Grutle, the Norwegian Ambassador to Finland. He said that the Nordic region is stated as the most integrated region in the world and Finnvera is showing a good example by expanding with an office in Oslo.

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Mr. Markus Laakkonen, based in Oslo as the new Regional Director of Finnvera Norway said he had in a very brief time already been contacted by hundreds of Finnish companies. The environment has changed and Mr. Laakkonen specifically points out changes in bank regulations. Since year 2008 new bank regulations has made it difficult for companies to get loans. He also explains that Finnish companies has far had the role of subcontractors on the Norwegian market. The competition has significantly increased which means that Finnish companies need to approach the industry directly. He stresses the importance of building a relationship and thrust. This is expected to take time, says Mr. Laakkonen.

The recently merged infrastructural planning company Sitowise has over 40 years’ experience of being on the market. A few years ago, the company emerged to the Norwegian market with assistance of Finnvera. Senior adviser and CEO Mr. Jaakko Rintamäki says he sees many similarities in the business culture in respective countries and urges Finnish companies to go to Norway. He mentions that the competition is strong but one should not be frightened by that.

Mr. Janne Tuulos, partner at DLA Piper Finland presented a brief overview of the function that a law firm may have in the process of companies expanding to new markets.

NOFI Chairman of the Board Mr. Klas Blomqvist summarized the speeches and concluded that there is still plenty of unfinished business to be done when it comes to enhanced business between Finland and Norway. NOFI takes a very active role in shortening the gap between the countries.