Today all brands look forward to grow beyond boundaries and hence they do all the things that pushes them close to huge success. Further planning to create growth opportunities, brands are aggressively investing to globalize their business. Companies are penetrating in different countries by establishing R&D centers, manufacturing facilities and offices to cater to the consumers across the region. Company like, Helsinki Business Hub has been aiding technology companies to globalize their business and expand their consumer base worldwide. In a recent exclusive conversation with DT, Mr. Sandeep Shah, Senior Business Advisor at Helsinki Business Hub shared insight about their overall operations and services.
DT: How do you see the Indian ICT industry and its growth in recent years?
Mr. Sandeep: India has been technologically advancing at a rapid pace. Over the past decade, the government’s encouragement and implementation of policies like “Digital India”, “Make in India”, “Start-up India” has helped the ICT sector become an instrumental contributor to India’s economic growth.
Indian government’s resolve to roll-out 5G by 2020 is a promising indication. With the back-end infrastructure being strengthened to ensure a smooth launch, its availability will transform ICT delivery platforms such as critical machine communication (CMC), and massive machine communication (MMC), which are pivotal in various industries.
The ingredients contributing to the success of Indian ICT Industry consist of many factors – entrepreneurial spirit, innovative attitude of Indians and commitment towards their work, especially in the IT industry, form a great basis for rapid growth and international success. This strong foundation is further strengthened by large pool of young, dynamic, highly educated working population. Indian companies who have succeeded in Finland with the help of Helsinki Business Hub have shared these qualities – strong aptitude and appetite for going global, eye for efficiency, and focus on creating truly competitive and innovative products with an intelligent, sustainable and scalable organizational culture.
DT: Please brief about your overall operations and services that you are providing across Indian subcontinent.
Mr. Sandeep: We, along with our India partner – PrEver Consulting, are in the business of helping international companies establish and evolve in Helsinki, Finland. We design growth opportunities for them and help strike the right balance between conducive platform, investments and legislative support.
Our aim is to help Indian technology companies across sizes and verticals gain access to solutions, partners, unique piloting opportunities, and the mature technology ecosystem of Helsinki. Besides working towards providing access to financing, innovation platforms, corporate and start-up collaboration, we also provide tailored fact-finding tours to ease companies into the new business environment.
Aiding Indian technology companies’ entry into Finland and neighbouring European markets is a gratifying experience for us and we have been fortunate to have been a part of their journey to an ecosystem brimming with opportunities.
DT: What support do you provide to Indian tech companies in scaling their businesses globally?
Mr. Sandeep: We customise recommendation for companies intending to scale to Finland. Following are the services provided depending on an entity’s ask and stage of growth:
- Access to innovation platforms – In collaboration with the public sector, academia and local business, we provide piloting open innovative platforms for new solutions.
- Matchmaking –
- R&D&I partner search – We provide support in identifying Finnish R&D&I partners who can make a difference to a company’s innovation initiatives
- M&A target scan– We help identify and evaluate strategic M&A targets relevant for a company
- Strategic sales partner/pilot cases scan– We aid identification and evaluation of strategic partnerships in the Finnish business ecosystem
- Start-up partners – We help break the ice with domain experts, VCs, accelerators, incubators, and industry associations
- Business Information – We ensure that our customers are updated with latest statistics and figures required to get access to market opportunities. Any foreign company intending to set-up R&D, regional headquarters or high-value manufacturing in Finland will benefit from this. Our focused expertise lies in ICT, Smart & Clean technologies and Health tech & Life sciences domains
- Access to financing – We intermediate a company’s contact with relevant public financing entities such as Business Finland, Finnvera, Finnish Industry Investment Ltd and Sitra. The financing instruments provided by these organisations are suitable for foreign companies looking to establish operations in Helsinki
- Access to deal flow – We work with international investors and help them identify and gain access to deal flows from Helsinki and Finland. We curate leads based on investor profiles, make introductions to relevant growth companies, and encourage visibility opportunities through positioning of the brand at key events. This service is relevant for ones active in Europe, with the ability to invest in Finland and are in their growth stage
DT: What all growth opportunities are there in today’s market ecosystem for India tech startups?
Mr. Sandeep: Helsinki’s start-up ecosystem has been thriving with AI, ICT, health, life sciences, and gaming coming to the fore-ground. This has gradually led to development of an ecosystem that is self-sufficient and incremental in its offerings to its players. With a conducive product ecosystem, supportive legislative, local-connectedness and availability of skilled talent pool, Finland is leading some of the world’s most inspiring technology innovation and developments.
India is home to ingenious start-ups with microscopic attention to needs that may have been missed or unregistered. Our aim is to help them make a swift move to global markets by helping them find glove-fit services, investors and platforms to mobilise their offering to the right target market.
We have also been focusing on start-up-corporate collaborations that have the potential to be instrumental in a start-up’s growth. We are actively engaged with some of the biggest corporates who are interested in supporting a company in its early stages of development and work towards facilitating their introduction and successive collaboration.
DT: What are the major challenges for companies who are looking to establish business in EU?
Mr. Sandeep: Our aim is to make the process of scaling to Helsinki and to Europe from Finland as seamless as possible and our services are designed to aid this evolution. It is our continual attempt to provide the best suited plan that meets a company’s needs and we also assist in their comprehensive understanding of business and innovation ecosystem of Helsinki. We invite interested Indian companies to visit Helsinki where we introduce an environment capable of accelerating product globalization as well as a comfortable location for setting up and scaling business operations.
Major challenges for companies who are looking to establish business in EU –
- Strong vision and appetite for going global
Companies need to have a strong vision for their future and should plan for their global footprint by leveraging their Indian experience. At the same time, there is need for keen desire to change, adapt and excel in a global setting
- Ensuring market and product-fit
Companies need to ensure that a major effort is in place to further develop their products and innovations in Finland to ensure its market relevance
- A determined focus on appreciating local customs and encouraging a global company culture
A plan and culture need to be in place where the company encourages people with different cultural orientations to work together and orient them for a common goal. To achieve global success, a company needs to localize while pushing for the common goal
- Challenges with regulations including immigration
Companies need to partner with local advisory entities including law companies to ensure that they are compliant with all necessary regulations. In addition to hiring locally, a plan needs to be implemented for transferring certain key personnel from India and accompanying it with a smart immigration process strategy to ensure growth and smooth operations.
We, at Helsinki Business Hub, match the client business interests and innovation capabilities with the right Finnish services and organizations. This includes close co-operation with Team Finland and other partners, including Business Finland – innovation funding, trade, and investment promotion organization, Espoo Innovation Garden, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University, and the University of Helsinki. The goal is to give visiting Indian companies a comprehensive view of the Helsinki business ecosystem and its opportunities. Furthermore, Indian companies get to meet potential partners and clients and acquaint themselves with platforms for testing and piloting their products. Our aim is to ensure that the companies are given the opportunity to connect with multiple stakeholders with ease. This helps the companies to save critical executive time and gain business critical information in a seamless manner, leading to carrying out of successful operations in Finland.
Every new country comes with its set of do’s and don’ts. Following are a few things to remember in Finland –
- Finns are modest but take pride in their history and culture, including technological and athletic achievements. They value trust and honesty and appreciate punctuality and being on time
- Finns value their reputation of living in an egalitarian country and hence, discriminatory jokes are not looked upon favorably