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“here are many points of contact for electric, autonomous, and connected vehicles between the Western Sweden automotive cluster and multiple Finnish companies”, says Lars Hagebris (right), Senior Advisor at Business Finland.

Collaboration Behind Finnish Tech Success in Gothenburg

Finnish tech companies have found a new market and test arena for their innovations: the Gothenburg automotive cluster. A number of diverse collaborations are currently underway with vehicles of the future being the common denominator – all thanks to the collaboration between Business Region Göteborg and its Finnish counterparts.

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Finnish was certainly the predominant language at this year’s iteration of Business Region Göteborg’s Automotive Network Event. There were 26 companies in attendance along with representatives from Business Region Göteborg’s counterparts in Tampere, Oulu, and Helsinki, as well as one representative from Business Finland. Liisa Talonpoika, the Finnish ambassador to Sweden, also attended – an indication of how important the relationships are at both a diplomatic and business level. She spoke about the large number of workers who immigrated to and influenced Gothenburg in the ’60s and ’70s, and drew parallels to what is happening now: that Finnish companies are opting to invest in various ways and establishing themselves here. But that this is not really surprising.

We have a fondness for the region, and smart industry benefits from smart people. Our countries need one another and we will remain involved in this new development we are seeing, said Talonpoika.

Finland’s ambassador to Sweden, Liisa Talonpoika, attended this year’s iteration of Business Region Göteborg’s Automotive Network Event, along with 26 Finnish companies.

A match had been identified: In Oulu there were companies with interesting services and products suitable for the vehicles of the future, and in the Gothenburg automotive cluster there were OEMs, suppliers, networks and test arenas. Today the contacts are both broad and deep, several cities are involved and many plans are in motion. Since many of the Finnish tech companies are small startups or in a growth phase, they need help to make contacts and get introductions. In Gothenburg you have Business Region Göteborg, which has expertise and contacts, and in Finland there are Business Tampere, Business Oulu and Business Finland.

After last year’s networking event it became very clear to us that Gothenburg, as one of Europe’s two main automotive hubs, was incredibly interesting to the Finnish companies that participated. And that they in turn were not particularly well-known to the vehicle manufacturers here, but that there were many points of contact for electric, autonomous, and connected vehicles, says Lars Hagebris, Senior Advisor at Business Finland. Hagebris also mentions that, in discussions Volvo and Scania and others, he has heard that major companies are also interested in making contact with smaller, innovative tech firms, but are not entirely sure how to do so.

So we have an important function to fulfil and we recognise that there are benefits for large and small companies alike, he says.

New era of collaboration
Jukka Olli
from Business Oulu and Ari Lylynoja from Business Tampere assert that an ever greater number of companies in each city are gearing towards the automotive industry, along with burgeoning research, which, in the future, can be applied in the industry.

Many of them already have contacts in Germany, but I think that they find it easier to concentrate on Gothenburg, especially now that they have learnt more about how the vehicle cluster functions and how work is carried out here, says Lylynoja, and Olli agrees:

Nordic companies work well together, everyone is open and willing to share with and trust each other, without the fear of being exploited. I see it as a new era where collaboration and the sharing of ideas are central.

Networking has produced results
The close contact that Business Region Göteborg has had with Finland has produced results. Since last year’s event, some 60 Finnish companies have presented themselves in diverse networking contexts, four have started different types of official collaborations or enterprises, and around a dozen are in various stages of thus far undisclosed projects.

Last year’s networking event proved to be the starting point for a great many things, so this year’s event followed the same course: Lindholmen Science Park presented itself. Volvo Cars Tech Fund spoke about its investments, including in the Finnish company Forciot. Drive Sweden and Telematics Valley spoke about their activities and networking opportunities, and MobilityXlab described how they created an open collaborative environment by inviting, among others, two young Finnish companies to sit down with them and work together with six large players in future mobility.

In addition, a study visit was undertaken at Volvo Cars, which included a guided tour of the plant as well as Lindholmen Science Park. This was done to draw a comprehensive picture of what the automotive cluster has to offer and what is being done here. The one-day event also included a social dinner and panel discussion on the future of the automotive industry in relation to the US and China as well as the trade fair Vehicle Electronics and Connected Services (VECS).

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