By the summer of 2017, swipx has developed to the point where it offers more than 5000 software solutions, grouped in 12 categories and over 200 business processes. Due to the company’s success on the Danish market, they decided to open a new subsidiary in Helsinki, Finland.
So why Finland and not for example Sweden or Norway which both are much bigger markets?
1/ Finland at the outer border of Europe
While we live in a virtual world where distance shouldn’t play a role in how we communicate and engage with each other, Finland still has the disadvantage of being somehow geographically isolated from the rest of Europe. Therefore providing Finnish technology companies with a platform that makes them visible – in a new form and shape – to a much bigger audience and market is a new opportunity. While they individually are present and visible on the web, the fact that swipx consolidate all technology companies from across Europe and the world in one place, brings more traffic and demand to Finnish companies and capabilities. Unless you are looking for a gaming application Finland might not otherwise be a “no brainer” for somebody looking for a solution that can help them optimize their processes or their business.
2/ Helsinki is a tech hub
Finland is known as a technological powerhouse where the demand for tech start-ups is high, the perfect location to find specialists in the industry. It has been predicted that soon 6% GDP of Finland will depend on its IT development. This represents an excellent opportunity for swipx since our work is directly related to companies that drive and enable digitization. It is obviously easier to sell to companies that understand the importance of software and are ready to digitize their processes. Moreover, swipx has launched a dedicated local site, swipx.com/fi where users have access to a repository of articles in Finnish and to a local community of sales representatives that can provide guidance on the solutions available on the website.
3/ Brains and Talent
Finnish talent is famous for shaping the global tech market. Needless to say the development of Linux as well as the establishment of a strong and vibrant open source community has been key in this development.
The education programmes here place an emphasis on domains like computer science, maths and technology. This explains why Finland is among the top countries with professionals specialised in software engineering. When we started off in Finland we knew that the most important aspect of building a successful business was to create a balanced team with the right mix of experience, education and determination to make an impact. And given the available talent pool it wasn’t difficult to find the right team members to implement our strategy for expansion in the Nordics.
4/ Easy to start a new business
Local governmental institutions support innovation through various incubators, growth acceleration programmes and funding schemes that provide the legal and environmental framework necessary for startups to succeed. All these programmes keep the operating costs of organizations in their early stages of development low. Startup communities like Maria 0-1, The Hub or A” are only a few examples of projects that provide the infrastructure for startups to thrive. Offering affordable office space in a community of entrepreneurs with extensive opportunities for guidance and sparring makes it easier for startups to focus on idea development and innovation rather than on the practicalities of keeping a business afloat.
5/ Finland as a test market is easier to manage and control
With the majority of the tech industry in Finland primarily concentrated around Helsinki in addition to local smaller centres around Tampere, Turku and Oulu, the business operations for a foreign and newcomer like swipx become much more manageable. Hence it is much easier to control a roll out and hence accommodate to changes in the market. Also the outreach to potential software vendors as well as interest organisations and associations is more centralized. The fact that the country is culturally and mentally homogeneous offers a clear advantage to countries of larger size e.g. Germany with more regional differences.
6/ Straight talk, determination and decisiveness – Sisu
While the Finns are not necessarily very talkative – when they talk it is with authority and decisiveness. Hence since small talk is not a strength you clearly and almost instantly know whether you need to improve your offering or have their attention and interest. Finns are known for keeping their word and sticking to an agreement hence execute flawlessly until the goal has been achieved. It can also be referred to “Sisu” even though Sisu also covers a much broader definition.
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All in all, the Finnish entrepreneurial culture, coupled with a sound infrastructure, tech talent pool and the support of the startup community represents a great opportunity for companies to develop.