Contacts from Kostomuksha

Regional Council of Kainuu, Kainuu Entrepreneurs and the Finnish – Russian association’s branch of Northern Finland co-organised an International Business Forum in Kostomuksha on 14th of April 2016. Entrepreneurs and regional administrators had to the floor for introducing their services and plans concerning internationalization of business operations. The event aimed at developing SME cooperation, but it also offered valuable information about cross border cooperation programmes. Participants came from the Republic of Karelia, Kaliningrad, Arkhangelsk, Kainuu and North Karelia.

Dmitry Kislov from the Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Karelia and Paavo Keränen from the Regional Council of Kainuu referred to the preparation of Karelia CBC –programme in their speeches. If everything goes as planned, the programme authorities would like to see first calls for applications to open in October, and first projects launched during the first quarter of 2017. Therefore, it is well about the time to start thinking about project ideas and partners. Karelia CBC has four thematic objectives; Business SME development; Promotion of local culture and preservation of historical heritage; Environmental protection, climate change adaptation; and Promotion of border management and border security.

Paavo Keränen kertoi Suomessa käynnissä olevasta aluehallintouudistuksesta. Aluehallintouudistus ja maakuntien roolin muuttuminen mahdollistaa alueiden roolin selkiyttämisen kansainvälisessä yhteistyössä. Euregio Karelia on foorumi, joka luo strategista pohjaa yhteistyön kehitykselle. Kainuun kannalta keskeisiä Venäjä-yhteistyön teemoja ovat poikittaisliikenteen kehittäminen Vartiuksen rajanylityspaikan kautta, matkailu, yritysten toimintaympäristön kehittäminen sekä sosiaalinen hyvinvointi.

Paavo Keränen told about the ongoing reform of county government in Finland. The reform and consequent changes regional councils’ role and tasks enable enhancing the role of regions in international cooperation. Euregio Karelia is a forum for creating basis for the development of cooperation. For Kainuu, important questions in cooperation with Russia are the development of East-West transportation infrastructure, tourism, improvement of business climate and social wellbeing.

Chair of a SME Service Centre Aleksandr Popov and project manager of international cooperation Andrei Elizarov brought greetings from Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is involved in projects for developing energy efficiency, clean technologies, utilization marine bio economy resources and participatory processes for city planning. Partners and examples are currently being looked for from Nordic countries. Participants of the Business Forum got invitations to seminar on urban planning and energy forum that are organized in Kaliningrad in June and September, respectively.

Ozjosrkin alueelta tullut Andrei Elizarov kertoi, että Kaliningradissa sekä Suomen ja Venäjän Karjalassa on hyvin samankaltainen luonto, joten yhteistyömahdollisuuksia löytyy esimerkiksi luontomatkailun ja kalastuksen tiimoilta. Kaliningradissa tehdään paljon yhteistyötä etenkin Puolan ja Liettuan kanssa, ja eurooppalaisia kokemuksia halutaan hyödyntää alueen kehittämisessä.

Andrei Elizarov from Ozyorsky noted that natural environment in Finnish and Russian Karelia is very similar to Kaliningrad, which opens up possibilities for cooperation in spheres of ecotourism and fishing. Kaliningrad has currently many cooperation projects with Poland and Lithuania.

Jukka Norppa, CEO of Karelian Wood Company, talked about the possibilities Kostomuksha offers for Finnish forest industry. According to Mr. Norppa, the time is now good for investing in Russia: people are willing to cooperate, labour costs are relatively low and there is enough workforce, the supply of raw material is good and there is a relatively low extent of value added processing. Also the location of Kostomuksha is good for export: the distance to Oulu harbor is only 300 km. Naturally, there are also certain challenges related to doing business in Russia: the subcontractor supply chain is relatively weak, and the concept of social responsibility is different.

Many of the participating entrepreneurs expressed their willingness to internationalize their operations. Shipbuilding, metal recycling and wood processing were among the sectors where international partners are looked for.  Representative for Entrepreneur’s Rights of the Republic of Karelia Elena Gnyotova encouraged entrepreneurs and told about services that are provided for local companies.

FinTek on liimahirsitalojen tuotantoon erikoistunut yritys. Pääjohtaja Andrei Aleksenko kertoi, että yritys työllistäisi mielellään suomalaisia korkean teknologian osaajia. Yritys toivoo suomalaisilta kumppaneilta rohkeutta ja nopeutta kansainvälistymistä koskeviin päätöksiin. FinTek investoi parhaillaan Pääjärvelle, jonne on nousemassa uusi saha. Investoinnin suuruus on jopa 40 miljoonaa euroa.

FinTek is a planing mill company producing glue laminated log houses. CEO Andrei Aleksenko said that the company would like to employ Finnish specialists who master the latest wood processing technologies. Mr. Aleksenko also called for more courage and faster decisions in entering the Russian market. Currently, FinTek has a large investment project in Pääjärvi.

After the Business Forum the participants had a chance to visit the factories of FinTek, PKC Group and Karelian Wood Company.

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