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ICTOulu in midsummer festival in London 

Three images. 1: Ambassador giving a speach, 2: People gathered in a garden with booths, a mansion in the background, 3: Signature English red phone booth.

On the left: Ambassador Jukka Siukosaari giving a speech.

The midsummer festival was approaching us fast but there was still some time to reach out internationally on behalf of Oulu ICT sector and ICTOulu team. Business Finland, in cooperation with the Finland’s Ambassador, organized a business event in London during the midsummer festival week, and I was there representing ICTOulu.

The objective of this garden networking event, that took place in the residence and the beautiful residential gardens of the Ambassador of Finland, was to promote Finland as a leading country for international expansion, particularly regarding to research, development, and innovation – including ecosystems, funding, and collaboration. Event aimed to serve as a broader promotion of Finland’s credentials focused on sustainability and digitalization.

An impressive collection of representatives from leading companies were invited into this event. For Oulu-based business development and investing the event was highly attractive. The attendees were either straight-out interested in considering Finland as an expansion location, or they were representing organizations matching the supply and demand of various resources, enabling partnering and investing processes.

There were more formal presentations from Ambassador Jukka Siukosaari and the Executive Director of Invest in Finland, Mr. Antti Aumo, who reflected the current global situation and Finland’s role in it from various perspectives. The audience was given a large number of arguments on Finland being one of the most attractive locations for investments in various industries and fields of technology globally. We in BusinessOulu and ICTOulu team will most probably update some aspects of our pitch decks according to these arguments. They point out that Finland is among the top three countries in the world when it comes to competitiveness in terms of business environments emphasizing especially the perspectives of sustainability, equality, stability, and innovativeness.

There were also excellent insights presented or brought up by Nvidia, Google, CSC, School of Code, Infosys, several investors, and VC actors and so forth. Oulu-based business excellence was publicly presented by Haltian as their UK Sales Director, Paul Evans, gave a speech on their technology and products, also sharing some insights on what it is like to work with the Finns (no worries here – it’s good). During the event, we were also presented with some investments to be, published in near future. This is very encouraging as we all know there are several potential business risks now and in the near future, also reaching the ICT sector.

Finally, BusinessOulu and especially ICTOulu was presented in that event. It was very nice to hear that many of the attendees had visited Oulu earlier, or at least heard about it, and were now – inspired by the event – planning to revisit and learn more. The contents of the presentation seemed to interest the audience. Particularly technological domains of connectivity and related 6G development, artificial intelligence and data-related applications, as well as machine vision applications and the metaverse, raised further discussions. We are planning to publish a general introductory slide deck on our site in early fall. It will be available for everyone with the idea that it shouldn’t be only a few people promoting our fine tech and digitalization capabilities. Rather, it should be a large group: at least the ICTOulu community and some other key stakeholders, who can introduce Oulu’s key assets to the world in suitable events.

I thought the event was successful. Many connections were established, a few actual visits to Oulu were agreed on, and we had some requests to present business resources for particular technological domains to certain highly interesting stakeholders. I also engaged a few other meetings while in London to deliver highlights on our assets in selected fields of digitalization. I believe that Oulu should continue to strongly push its outreach initiatives. During this trip it became clear again that we are definitely not alone in promoting our ICT business pack. Similar activities were conducted by our national peers and more importantly, other international tech hubs.

For the final thoughts I will share a picture of a poster (below) I saw immediately as I stepped out of the plane in London. These posters were everywhere and as many of us know, one can find similar posters from various locations around the globe. It makes the competition of talents very concrete and visible, also mirroring to some extent the situation and talent attraction context in which Oulu is.

A screen with text: Tech Nation Global Talent Visa. The UK needs exceptionally talented people just like you. Join the largest tech sector in Europe. Apply Now

I firmly believe that we must invest more into this theme, and we must be smarter in raising the awareness of Oulu among the international talents in ICT sector. As it happens, we have some new ideas on this topic for the fall – requiring even more intense cooperation with you.

With summer regards,
Jussi Leponiemi, the Key Account Director of ICT Sector, BusinessOulu