Helsinki, Finland comes to Singapore to boost collaboration and match-make start-ups
Helsinki, the Finnish capital city is bringing its largest delegation of high-profile iconic technoprenuers (such as Mr Peter Vesterbacka - co-founder of Angry Birds), government leaders (including Finland's Minister of Transport & Communications - Ms Anne Berner) and global experts in education, transport, technology, healthcare and innovation to Singapore this week. In addition, it will be unveiling a slew of digital innovation and Regional HQ (RHQ) opportunities in Finland for Singapore companies and other companies in the region.
Led by the Mayor of Helsinki, Mr Jan Vapaavuori, this high-level visit organised under the theme of ‘Designing Better Life’, will be held from September 18 to 21, 2017, during the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH).
The visit comes on the back of Finland's centennial celebrations this year and the comprehensive economic reforms launched in Helsinki to improve the business environment and attract more foreign investors to Finland. Due to rapid global changes impacting the Finnish economy and its structural transformation led by the ICT sector, Finland has been cited as a model case of the global information economy.
Singapore's "Smart Nation" initiative for growth through innovation, technology and education presents a strong case for collaboration between the two countries.
To accelerate the growth of bilateral business partnerships, Helsinki will be unveiling its RHQ incentives to attract companies from Singapore and the region to set up their Headquarters or HQs in Helsinki and raise awareness of the country as a key gateway or springboard to the rest of Europe. Targeting the East-Asian markets, Helsinki hopes to use its events in Singapore to spotlight its excellent networking opportunities and Research & Development and Digital Innovation solutions and funding options in Helsinki, especially for companies wanting to break into the Russian and North European markets.
Finland today has attracted some of the biggest brand names in the world to set up headquarters there. These include Nissan, Rolls Royce and IBM Watson.
In addition, Helsinki has a very vibrant start-up scene which has attracted several start-ups and SMEs, including many Chinese and Indian companies to establish themselves in Finland. Finland has committed itself to be a great platform to help start-ups accelerate business. An example of a Singapore start-up in Finland is oBike, which is a homegrown smart bike-sharing company.
During the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH), a startup event Slush Singapore originating from Finland will be hosting its second edition here for 3,000 attendees, 200 investors and 300 start-ups.
Her Excellency, Ms Paula Parviainen, Finland's Ambassador to Singapore, said: “With our partners and over 100 Finnish companies taking part in the events during the innovation week, we want to show that a small country can be bigger than its size, it can have a positive impact, be heard, and be known for the good things it represents. We are looking for new partnerships in both public and private sector. Both Finland and Singapore have strengths and strong interests in the areas covered by our biggest business delegation to Singapore ever. Our goal is to see new joint business opportunities and innovation projects seeded and accelerated this month.”
Singapore is Finland’s largest trading partner in ASEAN and a regional gateway to Southeast Asian markets and beyond. Amongst the ASEAN countries, Singapore has the highest number of Finnish companies and the largest number of Finnish people in it. With more than 140 Finnish companies based here, Mr Vapaavuori is confident that this high-profile mission to Singapore will, not only further strengthen the business ties between Singapore and Helsinki, but also increase the opportunities for collaborations and investments.
He shared: "We believe there is still a lot of potential for both Singapore and Finnish companies to work together in building connections and we have always been very supportive of entrepreneurs and companies seeking to establish partnerships overseas. As Finland and Singapore have many similarities, particularly in the sectors of technology, healthcare and education, we hope that the business communities in both countries can come together to exchange ideas and cooperate."
While emphasising on the importance of healthcare, Mr Vapaavuori also announced that the City of Helsinki is currently in the process of bidding for the European Medical Agency (EMA) which will be relocated from London, United Kingdom after Brexit. If the bid is successful, the relocation of the Agency in Helsinki would bring about considerable benefits to Finland, in attracting business and leaders in healthcare to the city/country.
Improving Finland - Singapore Trade Relations
In 2016, Finland’s exports to Singapore totalled S$298 million, with more than half of it consisting of machinery, equipment and means of transport, as well as manufactured goods, chemicals, IT hardware and electronics products. Imports from Singapore amounted to S$158 million, with 80 percent of it also made up of machinery, equipment and means of transport. Revenue figures from companies registered in Singapore with Finnish ownership are in the billions. These include some of the leading companies in their sectors - such as Kone and Neste Oil which officially opened the world's largest renewable diesel plant in Singapore on 8 March 2011.
Mr Riku Makela, Counsellor, Innovation and Trade Affairs at Embassy of Finland in Singapore, explained: "Singapore and Finland have enjoyed a good relationship economically in the past and big Finnish MNCs have been in Singapore a long time. And in the last 18 months, we have seen a three- to five-fold increase in interest in Singapore from Finnish SMEs. Hence, I believe the investment numbers will also increase, with growth sectors especially in health, education and maritime technologies.”
Mr Makela also added that he expects at least seven deals to be sealed as a result of the slew of Helsinki’s “Designing Better Life" events in Singapore.
The deals or collaborations will focus on areas of mutual interest such as education, technology, healthcare and innovation.
During their visit here, the Finnish Minister Ms Anne Berner and her delegation will also meet top Singapore ministers and officials, including Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister of Transport, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and, Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, for Communications and Information and Health, and the Senior Minister of State/Minister in charge of GovTech (MCI) - Dr Janil Puthucheary.
Key Events with Global Cast of Experts/ Practitioners
There will be a series of inspiring and engaging events organised by Helsinki and Finland 100 (or "Suomi Finland/SF100") throughout the SWITCH Week. These events will unveil some of the best known global names in Finland – in education, innovation, design, technology as well as transport and healthcare.
The main events and the key speakers include:
Smart & Clean Cities (organised by Finland 100 and Helsinki) on September 18, 2017
Helsinki is a global pioneer in offering services and creating new businesses through smart mobility solutions. The Finnish smart mobility scene is very vibrant with many new service and solution providers focused on autonomous vehicles, car sharing, integrated mobility and smart transport. To spotlight on some of the latest smart mobility solutions, Helsinki's team of business experts will share about R&D possibilities, product development opportunities, unique transport platforms, global expansion, tertiary and research collaboration, funding, talent and partnerships to help Singapore companies tap into Helsinki's smart mobility ecosystem.
Slush Singapore (by Slush Singapore) with Finland Pavilion on September 19, 2017
Slush Singapore is the premier start-up launch pad of Southeast Asia – bringing together investors and entrepreneurs and innovators across the globe. To be held for the second time in Singapore, Slush 2017 will present outstanding speakers such as Taizo Sun, the founder and CEO of Mistletoe Inc, Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder and Chairman of Transferwise and Valenzia Yap, the CEO and Founder of PolicyPal, a digital platform using artificial intelligence to simplify and digitise insurance for thousands of people.
Health Tech Finland (by Finland 100 and Helsinki) on September 20, 2017
Finland positions itself as the Land of Future Health, with an array of unique strengths in technological application areas such as wearable devices and sensor technology, IVD, monitoring and imaging supported by information and wireless technology. Helsinki has an established digital infrastructure, lively start-up environment, and excellent capabilities in medical technology and engineering which supports development of future digital health solutions.
One of Finland’s universally-recognized brand names, Nokia Technologies, has collaborated with Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) and University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine to spawn innovative solutions for outpatient care and to foster mutual research and development. This collaboration will focus on developing remote patient monitoring solutions. Mr Visa Honkanen / Director of Strategic Development, HUS – The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa will be here to share more about the latest in digital healthcare.
One of Singapore's biomedical start-ups AEvice Heath – the winner of the Slush Pitching Competition 2016 will also be sharing its experience and how it can leverage on Finland's well-established healthcare infrastructure to accelerate its product development. AEvice Health creates a wearable monitoring device for asthmatic patients through its patented technology.
Intelligent Maritime and Ports (by Finland 100 and Helsinki) on September 20, 2017
Digitalisation is a key driver for the maritime sector – creating new value while saving costs and resources to improve competitiveness. The aim of this event is to usher in new strategic partnerships between Finland and Singapore to seize these opportunities. The event brings together companies and expertise to display Future Shipping including autonomous shipping and the latest developments in data-driven maritime business.
Sauli Eloranta, Senior Vice President, Technology Management and Innovation for Marine (Marine R&D Centre for Remote Control & Autonomous Ships and Artificial Intelligence) and Ville Tolvanen, Digitalist Group will present insights into autonomous shipping and maritime operations of tomorrow.
Several companies in this sector such as Aeromon, ASANTech, Cargotec, Controlthings and Digitalist Group and Fleetrange are expected to be here in Singapore for the event.
Future of Education (by Finland 100 and Helsinki) on September 21, 2017
The two Super Powers in Education will come together in this event to offer practical solutions to encourage lifelong learning. The event will explore a wide variety of perspectives, from education to digital learning, and social media applications to smart school buildings and creating conducive learning environment that encompass social media applications to help deal with the emotional, psychological and physical aspects as well as the challenges of education today.
Held at the GEMS World Academy campus in Yishun, the key speakers are: Ms Kirsti Lonka, Professor for Educational Psychology, University of Helsinki and Mr Peter Vesterbacka - a respected and well-known Finnish entrepreneur, Founder of Rovio (Angry Birds) and Brand Breaker at digital games company – Lightneer. Keen to attend the above events, please visit www.myhelsinki.fi/designingbetterlife for further information and contact details.
About City of Helsinki
By decree of King Gustav Vasa of Sweden in 1550, the city was founded at the mouth of river Vantaa. From there, the city was moved further south to its present location in 1643. Helsinki has been the capital city since 1812, three years after Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire.
Helsinki continued as the capital after Finland gained its independence in 1917. Today, Helsinki is the centre of the Helsinki Region, a functional urban region of about 1.4 million inhabitants and 753,800 jobs.
Helsinki is a modern city, with half a million residents, nicely situated by the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is the center of Finland’s administrative, educational and cultural life. It is also the finance and business center of the country.
Helsinki is a city full of contrasts: light and white in summer, and dark, but full of warmth in winter; modern and cutting edge, yet steeped in fascinating past; cosmopolitan and compact capital where form follows the function, where both sea and deep forests are just a stone’s throw away. Helsinki is unique among the Northern European cities. The lifestyle in the second-most northern capital city in the world is full of contrasts and activities also in the form of hundreds of events and friendly people.
Helsinki’s identity has been formed by cultural influences from both the East and West. Over 450 years of history, several architectural layers and the impact of different periods can clearly be seen in the city. The beauty of the surrounding nature blends seamlessly together with high-tech achievements and design, while old traditions mix with the latest contemporary trends.
Social media: #myhelsinki and #designingbetterlife
About Suomi Finland (SF100)
Suomi Finland 100 Singapore is an organisation working closely with the Embassy of Finland running over 30 events in Singapore this year. The events are planned around four main themes: healthcare and well-being, education, innovation and design. The main goal is to greatly strengthen the knowledge of Finland by building bridges that would boost cultural and university exchange programs, tourism, business and investment opportunities with Singapore.
Social media: #SF100SG"
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