Varkaus has opportunities for international investors

There should be a strong mindset in East Finland that the region wants foreign investors, advises Invest in Finland’s CEO Tuomo Airaksinen.

A foreign company that invests in business is the fastest and most cost-efficient way to create growth, says Airaksinen. The competition is tough, however, and the developing economies are more attractive targets than Europe.

“The homework must be done carefully. What are we selling and to whom? We need to have the best possible information about our strengths.”

Originally from Varkaus, Tuomo Airaksinen came to spar the business actors of the Varkaus region on Monday. He believes that the region has potential.

“There has been a lot of talk about data centres and it’s clear that Varkaus has good prerequisites for them. There is a long tradition in energy technology and I can imagine that it is possible to get more actors in that cluster. The bioeconomy is also one of the spearheads.”

Invest in Finland is an organisation that operates as part of Finpro and brings foreign companies to Finland. During the past two years there has been EUR 200,000 of additional funding for its work in East Finland, which will hopefully continue. The North Savo Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment is also funding a separate Eastern Finland project.

“Hopefully we will also get the additional funding next year because it would really help a lot. This is the first time that we are cooperating regionally to get investments. It is really important that we succeed.”

The region’s own mindset should also be solidified further, according to Kari Rajamäki (social democrat), chairman of the Varkaus City Council. According to development director Rauno Asikainen, Varkaus has already mapped out its own strengths quite well and the next step should be to prepare a joint offering with neighbouring towns like Pieksämäki and Leppävirta.

According to Tuomo Airaksinen, possible investors always ask first about the availability of competent labour, functioning logistics and good accessibility.

“Flight connections are a really critical issue. A company will not come if the connections don’t work.”

“From the viewpoint of the foreign investor, the airport should be as close as possible. Often they even have requirements for the number of minutes to the airport. The big boys don’t travel long distances in cars,” says Airaksinen.