The US government is opening a USD 125 million business building in downtown Helsinki. The space is a one-of-a-kind tool to enhance trade and investment between the United States and Europe at the center of the rapidly developing Northern European market.

In tough economic times, investments must be super-strategic. The US government has made its choice. It went for a new concept in the perfect location. The grand opening of the Helsinki-based “Innovation Center” is scheduled for February 26.

From the start, Ambassador Bruce Oreck envisioned a venue to promote a robust economic agenda with America’s regional partners.

The Innovation Center is an ideal place to talk about the cutting edge in a beautiful, environmentally friendly setting, he continues.

By its very concept, the building will inspire companies to reach for the cutting edge.

Besides hosting offices of its personnel, the soaring glass building will be the embassy’s primary location for meetings, information sharing, press availability and cultural programming: an open space!

We want companies to feel that the Innovation Center is an easy extension of their own offices, where they can convene competitions, exhibitions, and meet partners, Oreck says.

The Embassy also looks to partner with businesses on social issues, through the companies’ corporate social responsibility activities.

But there is still more to it. The building is extremely energy efficient, showcasing American and Finnish cleantech solutions.

LED and OLED lighting technology has been used throughout. The building boasts Marmoleum flooring and 3M light in its multi-purpose room. It is also the first embassy in the world to use district cooling and heating.

In fact, the Innovation Center is on track to become the first embassy worldwide to receive LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council.

This new exciting hub is a study in timing and vision.

In 2010, the Embassy closed its crumbling 100-year old office building. Ambassador Oreck took the opportunity to fully renovate the house and, in addition, construct a new building, reinventing the way a US mission interacts with the market it serves.

The US investment into Helsinki in a time of spending cuts and shrinking missions is a powerful statement.

The word “regional” figures often and strongly, as the ambassador and embassy spokespeople describe their ambitious undertaking. They refer to Finland’s location and growing clout at the center of 80 million consumers.

The highly sophisticated and well-functioning Finnish market is, indeed, a beneficiary of its 800-mile boarder with new WTO member Russia, the drive in the nearby Baltic countries, the established Scandinavian markets, and the rapidly developing business opportunities in the Arctic.

For anyone interested in evaluating the opportunities for themselves, Ambassador Oreck makes a generous offer:

With the help of our partners, the new space can be a tool to harness the region’s economic dynamism. That’s why we are happy to welcome visitors to the Innovation Center. Just contact the embassy and we’ll arrange a visit, he says.

That should be a great place to start as you set out to conquer Northern Europe!

To get a complete market overview, you can combine your visit with an orientation session with AmCham Finland. Our Welcome Mat and S2 membership are designed to make you an instant insider.

For more information, contact Outi Toivanen-Visti.