Perhaps the largest-scale export effort in geospatial/information sector this spring has been the joint participation of 10 Finnish companies in the World Bank’s annual Land and Poverty Conference. The event was held in the Bank’s headquarter in Washington, DC, on March 20-24. With participants from 127 different countries, during one week, there was a great chance to get a comprehensive understanding of the market potential in developing countries. The target countries are still in the phase of organizing the registration of land ownership and achieving a working infrastructure.
This activity has been part of the established cooperation with the World Bank, with the purpose of strengthening the use of Finnish know-how in the field of emerging country markets.
Enhancement of cooperation with WB was launched by FLIC (Finnish Location Information Cluster), in November 2015 with a meeting in Washington. The next step was in May 2016, when the bank’s expert delegation visited Finland. Now, as a Team Finland group at the annual conference, was the third joint effort, and more will follow.
Participation in a conference of this scale would not have been possible with the companies alone – an extensive amount of support for internationalization was received from Finpro, Tekes and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Team Finland export support was not only limited to the preparations, but to the whole conference itself.
Geowise’s advisors were in charge of gathering the group of companies, coordinating the preparations, forming the slogan for Finnish group, pitch training and making the marketing materials.
The conference week started with a great embassy reception arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Finnish delegates had the first chance to meet a number of new customer candidates.
During the week, Finpro’s representatives served on conference stand incessantly and none of the congress participants got away without noticing Team Finland. The booth stood out clearly among the most active, and the companies were able to present their skills constantly.
From early start, the event was prepared in cooperation with the National Land Survey of Finland (NLSF). They had upfront prepared a Brown Bag Lunch event on Monday for the bank’s representatives, where the Finnish companies had their opportunity to meet the World Bank’s project portfolio key coordinators.
Finnish know-how in the area of the growing market is not limited to only land registration, at the congress, companies also brought up the latest location information technologies in data collection, management, and data use. The congress program included presentations by Finnish companies. Booth guests were equipped with VR– and Hololens -glasses and screens showed spatial analysis, point clouds and machine vision. This got also attention by the bank’s leadership. As solution providers in urbanization and climate change with new technologies, our companies now have the opportunity to step into a faster lane.
On the last day of the journey, it was time to sum up the results from the congress. Activity exceeded all expectations, which were mainly learning and market studies, because most of the companies had not acted in the World Bank’s project environment so far. However, throughout the week companies reached the clients directly, and had opportunity to discuss their needs. Operational efficiency was increased by open, co-operative spirit and almost all companies found new customer opportunities, some of which were even processed to tenders – already during the week.
Cooperation with the World Bank is now open for more Finnish companies, Finnish experts of the Bank have been the key door openers for the launched co-operation. We were also pleased to hear that the Bank is opening up new positions for Finnish experts. The opportunities for export activities have improved greatly, a big thank to the fruitful cooperation between the companies and the public sector.
Finnish Location Information Cluster – www.flic.fi
Finnish participants in WBLP-2017:
- Trimble Solutions