"Nanotech collaboration with Russia was previously carried out through the Tekes FinNano programme, but it was obvious that more goal oriented approaches were needed to achieve win-win benefits for both partners", according to Senior Adviser Dr. Markku Lämsä, of Tekes. In June 2012 IBS Group Oy won a tender to assist Tekes in the "Nanotech Finland – Partnering with Russia" initiative as a coordinator. The initiative was well timed as Russia was paying serious attention to developing its nanotechnology sector and paid special attention to ideas, companies, and research and commercialisation opportunities in the field.
Through brainstorming on how to maximize the impact of their coordination efforts, Tekes and IBS Group decided to focus on established companies and their real business needs in two distinct directions: Finland2Russia and Russia2Finland. It was then a logical step to address the concrete need of Finnish nanotechnology utilizers by creating and launching a Trade Partnership (in Finnish Kumppanuus) project. "Kumppanuus" is a support instrument developed by the ELY Centre that allows Finnish small and medium sized companies to seek and find clients and partners in a target market thus supporting their market entry and business expansion. In short it enables them to build mutually beneficial business partnerships in target markets abroad thoroughly and with conficence.
Promoting the project resulted in four Finnish nanotech companies joining the initiative. Each of them had slightly different agendas and needs which were addressed by the IBS Group experts. Bionavis Oy, a manufacturer of surface plasmon resonance measurement instruments, was interested in screening and assessing the various possibilities for improving its representation in Russia through local agents. Tekno-Forest Oy was interested in expanding its network of trade partnerships to many Russian big cities and eventually finding possible agents and/or clients there. Ab Nanol Technologies Oy the third company already had operations in Russia but needed to have a more holistic approach to developing its sales and marketing strategy in the medium-term. Perhaps the most challenging task was associated with the fourth company, Alu-Releco Oy that provides specialized coating services including nano-coating. Realizing that Russian customs makes it very difficult to provide services in Finland, Alu-Releco took part being in need of reliable and constant "Russian expertise" regarding the set up and launch of a small production unit in St. Petersburg.
So what did "Kumppanuus" that came to on end up in March 2014, manage to achieve? In December 2013, Sauli Törmälä, CEO of Bionavis signed a representation agreement with the Russian Optec Group. Tekno-Forest is currently receiving inquiries from new possible agents and clients on a regular basis. Nanol Technologies is currently reviewing the suggested improvements in its sales and marketing strategy. The Russian production unit of Alu-Releco was set up and opened its doors in January 2014. According to the Managing Director of Alu-Releco Petteri Narko "Russia is a natural growth opportunity for the company, especially in high-tech segments such as the nano-coatings developed by Alu-Releco. Furthermore there are number of Russian coating solutions and technologies that might be interesting to us as they may prove to be better technologically or price wise."
We are very happy with the concrete steps of "Kumppanuus" that add value – it may be mall step for Finnish-Russian nanotech cooperation but is a sizeable and profitable business for the participating companies.
The IBS Group Oy will launch another "Kumppanuus" programme in May 2014. The Nanotech Finland "Partnering with Russia" team will join the Photonics and Optics Industry Day to be held in Turku on May 22nd, 2014. Finnish nanotech and photonics value chain companies interested in opportunities offered by the Russian market are welcome to join! Together we can do it!
Programme Manager, Tekes
Mr. Markku Lämsä
markku.lamsa (at) tekes.fi
Tel. +358 2950 55793
Peter Zashev, PhD, Partner
IBS Group Oy
peter.zashev (at) ibs-group.fi
+ 358 40 708 51 51
Nanotech Finland Russia Coordinator
Mr. Tomas Korpelainen
tomas.korpelainen (at) ibs-group.fi
Tel. +358 50 412 2835
Photo: Eveliina Hagman