A region of opportunities

Inward investment promotion professionals from around the Baltic Sea Region and beyond were brought together by the ONE BSR’s IPA Forum 2014 in Helsinki. The event was targeted at anyone working in the field of inward investment promotion. On the latest ONE BSR Round Table Talks video, seven international professionals share their views on the Baltic Sea Region as a business environment.

From an investor’s perspective, what is special about the Baltic Sea region? Here’s a preview to the comments on the topics discussed on the ONE BSR video:

“People perceive this region to be very honest” Anne Plough, Entrepreneur & International Business Development Professional of International VC Zone

“Tradition in architecture and modern design” Frans van der Avert, CEO of Amsterdam Marketing

“Cultural crossing between west and east” Olivier Bonfils, Senior Business Advisor of Helsinki Business Hub

”Big market, big hub of innovation, stable and transparent countries” Alan Aleksandrowicz, CEO of Invest GDA

“Diversity” Kathrin Deter, blogger at Newswave & Luminoucity

“Quality. In all senses.” Agne Selemonaite, Brand Manager of Invest Lithuania

“A region of good news!” Micah Gland CEO of Helsinki Business Hub


Watch the film on Vimeo or YouTube:




Business Plan for Investment Promotion Agencies launched

IPA-business-plan-kansiThe Baltic Sea Region is still one of the economically most competitive regions in the world. However, foreign companies are of significant importance for the national and regional economy in terms of employment, creation of value, and innovation, as they generally perform better than domestically-owned companies.

This is one of the main conclusions of the Business Plan for Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) in the Baltic Sea Region, published by the Baltic Development Forum, and launched at the Baltic Sea Region Investment Promotion Agencies Forum 2014  in Helsinki on 9-10 June. Over 100 professionals working in the field of inward investment promotion from the Baltic Sea Region and beyond attended the event; hence, it was a suitable occasion to introduce the steps forward – the Business Plan.

For the years ahead, the ambition is to take the IPAs cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region to the next level. For this purpose, the Business Plan identifies future cooperation activities and the operating model. With a developed collaboration strategy and a clear action plan, the Business Plan is a necessary tool, if the IPAs in the BSR network want to collaborate in the coming years.

The Business Plan is one of the main outcomes of the Investment Promotion -work package of the ONE BSR -project. It brings together the results of the IPA-meetings and cooperation carried out as part of the project, and suggests to continue the collaboration in the future e.g. with regular network meetings for the IPAs.

Download the Business Plan here

IPA Forum 2014 – Towards a more competitive Baltic Sea Region

SS_20140609_IPA_Forum_2014_3293_Seppo-Samuli-GHP_250xOver 100 inward investment promotion professionals from around the Baltic Sea Region gathered together in IPA Forum 2014 held on 9-10 June in Helsinki, Finland. The forum focused on strengthening interaction and cooperation within the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) by sharing best practices, networking and creating synergies between participating organizations.

The conference provided insightful keynotes on the economic state of the Baltic Sea Region, and generated discussion about the possibilities for regional cooperation. Introduction of the latest State of the Region Report  by Baltic Development Forum and the presentation of FDI trends in the region provided valuable input for further discussions on how to deal with a changing global economic environment in the field of investment attraction.SS_20140609_IPA_Forum_2014_2665_Seppo-Samuli-GHP_250x

Topics on megatrends and their implications to the work of IPAs, insights into corporate perspective on BSR as an investment location and lead generation and pipeline management, gave much food for thought.


The presentations by the keynote speakers of the first day are available here :

New ideas discussed in thematic workshopsSS_20140610_IPA_Forum_2014_3129_Seppo-Samuli_GHP_250x

IPA Forum’s second day provided an opportunity to deepen the discussions on what Baltic Sea Region as a whole has to offer and what collective activities could be done to enhance the competitiveness of the region.

The forum participants discussed the issues within 5 thematic workshop tracks:

  •  Attracting ICT investments in the new era of ICT
  •  Attracting Growth Capital investments
  •  The innovation game – competing for R&D investments
  •  What does success mean in investment promotion? – Measuring & reporting FDI, it’s impact and the contribution of IPAs
  •  Marketing as a tool in investment attraction

Workshops encouraged participants to identify and discuss areas of concrete collaboration possibilities, and laid the ground for many interesting ideas, such as establishing a standardized way for measuring and tracking FDI results with the help of a jointly funded database, and organizing an annual IPA conference for continued cooperation and information sharing.

Closer cooperation between the IPAs wanted

SS_20140610_IPA_Forum_2014_3155_Seppo-Samuli_GHP_250xAccording to the feedback, over 70% considered networking and meeting colleagues already alone a strong reason to participate in the event. The overall positive feedback from the IPA Forum 2014 signals that a direction towards a more globally competitive Baltic Sea Region through cooperation and joined forces is a welcomed idea. Whether joining forces means a collective database, an annual industry event, common sales arguments or something entirely different, awaits for further discussions.

All the materials from the event are available for download here.

See photos from the event at www.investinbsr.com/ipaforum/picture-gallery/

IPA Forum 2014 was organized as part of the ONE BSR –project.

Photos: Seppo Samuli / Greater Helsinki Promotion

New Think Tank will promote the Baltic Sea Region as the world leader in ICT

BDF-summit_040614Top of Digital Europe is a new Think Tank initiative that will address key topics related to ICT as a driver for growth and competitiveness in the Baltic Sea Region. It was launched on 3 June 2014 by Baltic Development Forum (BDF) and Microsoft at the 16th BDF Summit in Turku, Finland, during a high level plenary session on the digital economy.

“The Nordic/Baltic region is one of the world’s leading ICT powerhouses”, says Craig Shank, VP and Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft International, and one of the speakers of the summit.

”In the last decade, Microsoft has invested more deeply in this region than in any other part of the world. I am convinced that Top of Digital Europe will be a source of inspiration to overcome the challenges together.”

“The digital sector is crucial for our economy. With still tougher global competition, we must work hard to maintain our leading position as a world leading ICT region”, says Lene Espersen, Chairman of BDF and former Minister of Economy and Business Affairs of Denmark.

“We need to focus on joint business-society opportunities and actions. Together we can release a huge potential by joint cross-border efforts within talents, Big Data, e-governance and other key areas within the ICT sector. Top of Digital Europe will bring forward ideas and showcases to inspire Europe and the world.”

Top of Digital Europe will

  •  identify key issues and develop solutions related to ICT as a growth driver and the digital economy
  • strengthen competitiveness through innovative cross-border actions
  • be agenda-setting by creating and stimulating a dynamic discussion on growth through ICT
  • address decision makers at regional, national and European level as well as key stakeholders

The first report of the Think Tank – “Searching for the Micro Multinationals” – was presented at the Summit. The report is elaborated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of BDF and Microsoft. It addresses the challenges faced by SMEs in the ICT sector when they want to grow and expand across borders. It can be accessed at http://issuu.com/bdforum/docs/searching_for_the_micro_multination


Craig Shank, VP & Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft International, at the 16th Baltic Development Forum Summit & 5th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR in Turku, Finland (3 June 2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-GCaBMjjtE

Further information:

Image: Baltic Development Forum

Welcome to the IPA Forum in June!

IPA Forum 2014 brings together the inward investment promotion professionals from around the Baltic Sea Region – and beyond. The event is held in Helsinki, Finland, on 9-10 June.

The program on the first day is built around insightful keynotes on FDI trends in the Baltic Sea Region as well as examples and possibilities for regional cooperation in investment promotion work. Roel Spee (IBM-PLI), Frans van der Avert (Amsterdam Marketing), Marc O’Connell (OCO Consulting), Inna Kuzenina (fDi Intelligence, Financial Times), and Iain Jawad (Frost & Sullivan) will share their expertise and knowledge on the topics.

The second day is reserved for hands on workshops that enable colleagues with specific interests (e.g. Russia, China, cleantech, ICT, growth capital, tracking & measuring, marketing and communications) to get together, share best practices and find areas for cooperation.

The event is moderated by Courtney Fingar, Editor-in-chief, fDi Magazine/Financial Times Ltd.

IPA Forum is part of the ONE BSR project.

More Information on the program and the registration form are available at http://www.investinbsr.com/ipaforum/.

Investment promotion players in one map

IPA directory ScreenshotThe Baltic Sea Region IPA Directory lists all Baltic Sea Region investment promotion agencies with the goal of making it easier for the customers to find help when considering the BSR as an investment location. The directory is presented as an interactive map, available at www.investinbsr.com. It lets you search for investment promotion agencies by location (country / city) and by focus areas.

The website will be launched in late March with information from all national level IPAs and several regional IPAs from the region. However, even more is needed.

Any publicly funded investment promotion agency or other non profit organization actively doing invest in activities is invited to submit their data, by filling in the data submission form at http://www.helsinkibusinesshub.fi/bsripas/. The service is free of charge.

All relevant stakeholders are invited to promote the directory in their websites. Instructions on how to do this will be published in the directory website www.investinbsr.com.

The production of the directory is part of One BSR and has been lead by Helsinki Business Hub, the investment promotion agency for the Greater Helsinki region.