From the 6th to the 9th of June 2023, the Chamber of Commerce, in close collaboration with the Luxembourg Embassy in Copenhagen accredited to Finland, and the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg organized a trade mission to Helsinki, Finland led by Cindy Tereba, Director International Affairs at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.
Finland is not only a strong player among the Nordic countries but also the happiest country in the world. Finland also comes first in UN sustainable development comparison and amongst the top three in Open for Business. The trade mission was organized in order to explore the Finnish market further, to revitalize exchanges and allow Luxembourgish companies to seize new business opportunities.
On the first day, the delegation from Luxembourg composed of representatives from 12 companies active in the field of Sustainability, Smart Cities, HealthTech and CleanTech arrived in Helsinki and were greeted with a networking reception, hosted by and at the office of Christoffer Waselius, Honorary Consul of Luxembourg in Finland. Mr. Waselius, H.E. Henri Schumacher, Ambassador of Luxembourg to Finland, and Cindy Tereba kicked off the mission with their welcome words. The evening was a first occasion for the delegation to network over a sparkling drink provided by Bernard Massard.
At the heart of the second day of the mission to Finland was the FiBeNeLux Summit, hosted by the FinChamLux together with the Chamber of Commerce, the Embassy of Luxembourg to Finland and the Finnish Embassy in Bruxelles. With 110 attendees from the BeNeLux and Finland business world as well as from public and private institutions, the conference provided participants from these respective markets with opportunities to collaborate, connect and exchange contacts.
The Summit focus on the theme of how small countries can make an impact together. What are the obstacles and opportunities within the sectors of HealthTech,CleanTech,Smart Cities and Mobility? How and where can innovation and business collaboration between and among Finland and the Benelux region be increased to maximize sustainability? These were some of the many questions and themes that were addressed and discussed, in presentations and within dynamic panels, during the Summit. Some of the keywords and concepts that emerged were the importance of collaboration, connection, trust and the need to work together in new ways to turn challenges into opportunities. Also, as highlighted in the keynote by Asta Raami, PhD, the crucial role intuition plays in this, as well as for innovation in general, in order to tap into our inherent potential. The overall sentiment that emerged was that this is the beginning and not the end of what will be many more discussions and future international business collaborations between different types of players in these regions.
The breakout sessions in the afternoon discussed the sectors of focus with the panelists comprising experts and entrepreneurs from CleanTech, Sustainability, HealthTech and Smart Cities and Mobility. The Summit then ended with tailor-made B2B meetings and matchmaking opportunities to create synergies amongst the company representatives.
A networking reception with welcome words by H.E. Jouko Leinonen, Ambassador of Finland to Luxembourg, H.E. Henri Schumacher and Cindy Tereba, closed this rich day.
Day three was kicked off with a visit to Viikki Innovation Campus and the campus-based Helsinki Think Company. The Luxembourg delegation got to experience the Finnish innovation ecosystem through presentation and pitches from locally based HealthTech startups, while Finnish participants were presented with an overview of the Luxembourg ecosystem by Cindy Tereba and sectoral insights from Jenny Hallen Hedberg, Head of International Relations at Luxinnovation. The group continued to Fortum: one of the cleanest energy producers. Heli Antila, VP Biobased Solutions, presented how Fortum is branching out into Bio-based solutions to find more sustainable long-term vision for the energy sector.
The day then ended with a presentation at Kone: the world’s leading elevator producer. Sustainability and smart solutions for the net-zero future are the basis of Kone's long-term vision which has also recently been ranked as the 19th most sustainable company in the world. A short elevator ride to the top floor gave a view not only of Helsinki but also of the detailed craftsmanship that is behind the operation of elevators.
The visits of the two iconic Finnish companies provided the group with a comprehensive knowledge of their state-of-the-art technologies as well as their engagement in sustainability and were a fitting closure of this trade mission.