Several Finnish delegates, including Okko-Pekka Salmimies, Consul General of Finland, visited the Keweenaw Peninsula this month. Finland’s Ambassador Consul General, Business Finland, TVV, Finland’s Embassy U.S., Business Joensuu along with select Finnish company and academic leaders met with representatives from Finlandia University, FinnZone, and Michigan Technological University to discuss collaboration opportunities in bio-materials and battery research. Further, to hear about FinnZone support for Finnish companies seeking to locate in the Keweenaw for entry into U.S. markets.
For Okko-Pekka Salmimies and his delegation, the tour started in Hancock at the Finnish American Heritage Center with a welcome ceremony of about 80 people on Tuesday May 17 and proceeded to Houghton. The delegation visit concluded in Dearborn on Thursday, May 19. Tour stops over the three days included visiting Finlandia University, Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center and College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan State University’s Mass Timber STEM Building, Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, USCGC MACKINAW Icebreaker and Port of Detroit, among others. Finnish delegates do hope to visit the area with other companies again in the future to build an international bond across vital industries.
“We share many things with Michigan, when it comes to economy and society. Finland can offer world class research, science, but also front-runner companies. For cooperation with Michigan partners. We are especially looking for a strong interface between research and business.” – Okko-Pekka Salmimies, Consul General of Finland in Los Angeles
The other half of the Finnish group hosted by FinnZone included Huliswood, Brightplus, Aurora Powertrains, and Elyly who remained in Houghton, MI for the full week and met with a variety of local business owners to discuss possible partnerships and to explore locating their operation in the Keweenaw. These Finnish companies are involved in industries such as forest bio-materials, and advanced wood products and electric recreation vehicles.
“It means a lot for us Finns, because it’s a unique place to come. Where you can see Finnish flags, and we can hear people greeting you in Finnish. And it means that we have similarities not only in regard to the forests, but we also have the same interest, when it comes to increased sustainability and protecting the welfare. So we are hard workers, both Finns and Michiganders, so I think the table is set for even more prosperous cooperation.” – Okko-Pekka Salmimies, Consul General of Finland in Los Angeles
FinnZone is an attraction effort of METC SmartZone through the collaboration of three economic development organization, two academic institutions and an incubator/accelerator. FinnZone harnesses the resources from these six organizations to offer an unprecedented commercial soft-landing service solely dedicated to supporting Finnish technology companies’ entry into the North American Market.