Fulltime HEL: Episode 14 — Launchpad USA

I’m from the US. And yet I’m in Finland. Given the weather that’s not necessarily an envious position, and there’s certainly a lot of companies that want to be in the US. Or at least in an environment like Silicon Valley. And not just because of sunshine 11 months a year.

Speak to just about anyone at a startup here in Helsinki and there’s a certain reverence for Silicon Valley. The valley hasn’t always been what it is now, nor will it always be.

Helsinki is already experiencing changes, the support for startups is as sure a sign as any. And many of those very startups are looking to make it in America. There’s an organization here in Helsinki that helps Finnish companies do just that very thing.

But before that…

Welcome to episode 14 of Fulltime HEL, the podcast about startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers and co-working spaces in Helsinki, Finland. I’m your host Gregory Pellechi.

On this episode, Launchpad USA, rocketing Finnish companies into the American ecosystem.

Chambers of Commerce are an old concept, as a kid it’s not really one I understood. It was just a place you never had a field trip to, but would always see a sign for somewhere in town. Sort of like the Lion’s Club. It’s just there, sponsoring a section of the highway. Of course that’s a child’s perspective and my encounters with Chambers of Commerce have changed with age. But then so have the chambers.

Rovio, Marimekko, FinScan and others have all taken part in Launchpad USA. I’ve seen their work. Previous to 2014 I’d never seen Marimekko in the States, but there they were in New York when I visited in August for my sister’s wedding. They’d entered the market successfully as a result American now gets to partake in the latest Finnish fashion. Of course entering such a large market wasn’t necessarily easy, there are bound to be challenges, but ones Launchpad USA is there to walk a company through.

Connections are vital to any business, none more so than when they’re entering new markets. Of course those connections have to be solid. There are innumerable ways that the wrong partner, introduction or even customer can hurt a business.

Connections aren’t the only thing Launchpad USA provides to their clients. Finland and America for all their similarities are still vastly different business environments. It’s not just differences in approaches to meetings and agreements.

Mike and AmCham are undoubtedly very pro-America and pro-business, that’s part of their job, but they call Finland home. So of course they have good things about the place. There’s even something Silicon Valley could learn from Finland.

Businesses grow and change, moving to new markets especially ones as big as the US are inevitably going to affect how a business operates. Some of those changes will be necessary, some may not. Launchpad USA is there to assist companies in mapping out those changes and finding the most effective ways to implement them.

Fulltime HEL was produced by me, Gregory Pellechi. Music for the show is courtesy of Chris Zabriskie.

Originally published at www.gregorypellechi.com on January 10, 2016.

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