HOUGHTON, MI – A Finnish business delegation will be coming to both the Upper Peninsula and Southeast Michigan this year to explore new investment opportunities in med-tech, mobility and advanced wood products.
In late spring or early summer of this year, FinnZone in Houghton will be hosting a delegation in the U.P. of up to seven small and medium enterprises from Finland, in association with JAMK Institute of Bioeconomy and sponsored by Business Finland. The companies represent sectors such as med-tech, mobility, and advanced wood products.
Finnish partners Marko Luoma of XPort and Markku Paananen of JAMK have helped lead this opportunity. Some of these companies plan to evaluate the opportunity to establish a presence in the Houghton-Hancock region, while others are seeking to explore partnerships and distribution channels as a means of accessing the U.S. markets.
In March, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will be hosting a delegation visit by Finland to Southeast Michigan to explore initial areas of cooperation in batteries, smart mobility, and maritime sectors. The Finnish delegation will be led by Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs and Team Finland, with participation of government leaders, academic researchers and industry. From the U.P., FinnZone, Michigan Technological University and Jim Kurtti, Honorary Consul of Finland have also been invited and will join the event.
“Michigan, particularly the U.P. has so many Finnish-Americans, similar climates, forest resources, complementary industry and tech sectors, and environmental priorities that it just makes sense,” said Patrick Visser, founder and co-director of FinnZone. His mother is of Finnish descent.
“The U.P. has always been connected with Finland through our shared heritage and values, but now that relationship is deepening and even expanding across the entire State of Michigan.”
FinnZone recently acquired a new client, Mesensei– a Finnish-based software company, led by Tuukka Ylälahti, CEO. FinnZone will help with a pilot project in the U.P, the first for Mesensei in the U.S. for its new “Community Design” technology product, which looks into how a community should be structured to increase the value of participation for its members and the impact of the community as a whole.
Finally, FinnZone and Michigan Capital Network are exploring the possibility of a $10 million (U.S.) investment fund to invest in U.P. technology companies and Finnish SME’s willing to establish a subsidiary in Michigan. Investments in Finnish companies would focus on the ‘Series A’ capital needed to expand into the U.S.
“This is what the Finns have told us they need, and if a fund were combined with FinnZone commercialization services, it would make the U.P. and other areas of Michigan very attractive. We are also looking at regulations to see if the fund could include investors from Finland, which is preferable” said Visser.