Last week, Helsinki Business Hub, together with PREVER Consulting and Business Finland, organized an event in Mumbai to showcase the possibilities of Finnish business and innovation environment. In addition to presentations showcasing Finland as a tech superpower and Helsinki as the most connected city in the world click here to see the presentations, we naturally wanted to hear the other side of the story: Executives from Indian high-tech companies who have themselves set up a company in Helsinki shared their experiences and opinions.
Although Finland might be a nation of peace-loving people with great poker faces, we do not lack contrast in the eyes of Indian entrepreneurs. Here are some of the most interesting points raised by the Indian companies in the panel discussion:
Small country with big markets
Mr. Prashant Pansare, Managing Director and CEO of Inteliment Technologies, raised the fact that Helsinki offers access to developed markets, ideal for aspiring global entrepreneurs. In a country of 5.5 million people, companies are encouraged to think outside the borders from the very beginning. Thanks to its location, Helsinki offers a great point of access to 27 million people on the Nordic region, 100 million in the Baltic Sea region and 743 in Europe. Additionally, Helsinki offers active and swift daily connections to the US.
Structured yet innovative
Mr. Shobhit Mathur, Co-founder of Analytics Quad4 and eRx Solutions, voiced a sentence that might seem like an impossible combination. However, the structured approach makes Helsinki a city where everything works, and businesses can focus on the productive side: innovation. Organized public support systems, world-class research and education, a city functioning as an open testbed, and long heritage in collecting data all enable individuals and companies to not only ideate new but to put the ideas into practice.
Cheaper than India for innovation
One of the boldest claims came from Mr. Alok Kumar, Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting Group, who said that as the productivity and quality of outcome in R&D&I functions in Finland is higher than in India, the overall costs are not necessary higher. In a combined cost-quality assessment of high end ICT R&D, Helsinki was found to beat other most European hubs. The funding opportunities provided by Business Finland innovation funding were also raised when assessing costs. Funding options are equally available for all companies, Finnish and foreign owned, as long as the company is set up in Finland.
Cold country, warm people
As Slush, the world’s leading startup event organized in Finland put it: nobody in their right mind would come to Helsinki in November (except for the 20,000 tech enthusiasts attending the event). Our weather, especially in the winter, is an experience in itself. But, as Mr. Kunal Pandya, CEO & Managing Director of NCrypted Technologies, well mentioned, we compensate it with a warm touch in business affairs. Dealing with Finns was said to be like dealing with a group of friends where everybody knows everybody and connections are easily made. Top that with a lot of helping hands and honest discussions, and you got yourself a rather pleasant business environment.