From an investor’s perspective, there has been a need for an up-to-date overview of the Finnish economic climate. What are the facts on the ground? What is changing, and how? Putting various indicators together, what is the big picture?
Member company August Associates realized that, while Finnish economic indicators and business mood are improving, it is a complex issue to illustrate. Is it really improving overall because exports are up? Should I believe it because it feels like it’s improving?
They decided to put together a Finland Fact Pack in cooperation with Amcham Finland to provide the information a company might need as a starting point for potential business here.
The Fact Pack is for country managers, company owners and others who pitch for investments. It provides the numbers that show a stable and growing economy with a reasonably priced, highly educated and skilled workforce living in an incredibly tech-savvy nation.
We spoke with Tomi Ere, Partner at August, and Le Thuy, Analyst at August and creator of the Fact Pack, about processes for solving complex problems and, of course, facts (and opinions) about Finland.
August’s business model as a top-tier strategy consultancy firm is based on intimate customer relationships and deeply rooted, local knowledge. Companies hire August to help them define pragmatic and fitting solutions to their business issues by adding experience, external thinking and analysis of markets, competitors, trends and more.
Business issues, often being rather complex problems related to lack of growth or insufficient margins, are then broken into more manageable pieces, which are framed carefully by asking the right questions. Often, August puts together a fact pack focused on the problem, as they have now done for investing in Finland.
Le Thuy moved to Finland from Vietnam seven years ago. “In describing the Finnish economy through a collection of facts, I’ve benefitted by having international experience. I can be critical but, at the same time, can also show my true appreciation for how things are done in Finland and what the country has to offer to foreigners like me,” she says.
“There were a lot of pessimistic articles in the media about the Finnish economy for some years, but suddenly, the sentiment shifted. We wanted to see if the facts corresponded with this change in mood,” Tomi says.
“The Finnish government has made some strong moves to make Finland a more appealing place to invest,” Tomi adds. “The results are starting to show: Nordea moved their HQ based on firm reasons, some of which are reflected in the Fact Pack.”
What is the main takeaway?
“It’s that Finland’s competitive edge for investment is strongly related to the tremendous level of know-how, for example in the ICT sector, which has been highly integrated into various industries, like mechanical engineering, to boost efficiency,” says Le.
Apart from the hard numbers – taxes, labor costs, industry break-down, tech savviness, etc. – what else does the fact pack communicate? What cannot be communicated by facts?
“Finns are very educated with a high level of expertise. That is reflected in educational standings and the high use of public libraries, for example,” says Le. “But people are humble about it. That’s harder to show. Also, there is trust in the public sector, business and other individuals. If you say something will happen, it does.”
These cultural tendencies are also important for investment, business success and quality of life, but are more difficult to put into a graph or succinct text. You’ll just have to come to Finland and experience it for yourself.
To download your copy of the August Associates and Amcham Finland Fact Pack, click here.