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:


How can talents increase the competitiveness of the Baltic Sea Region?

Almedalen_375The global competition for talent is poised to become one of the most defining economic issue of the 21st century. On 30 June, the Swedish Institute arranged together with the Baltic Development Forum a seminar in Almedalen, Visby, Sweden, on the theme How access to key skills can increase the Baltic Sea Region competitiveness.

The focus of the seminar was the need for cities and regions in the area to become better at retaining talent – the key skills – for the region to become more competitive.

In the panel discussion, people involved in talent mobility issues shared their experience and expertise on this topic. What is needed to attract and keep both international and local talents in the region, and how the access to talents is linked the region’s ability to attract investment?

The panel was attended by Torgil Lenning (moderator), CEO, Potentialpark, Christina Mattisson, Regional Councillor, Region Blekinge, Marcus Andersson, Chief operating officer, Tendensor, Mantas Zalatorius, Area Manager Central and Eastern Europe, Business Sweden, Tove Lifvendahl, political Editor in Chief, Svenska Dagbladet.

Tool-kit_Cover_275xThe seminar also highlighted the recently published Toolkit on talent retention: activities and services for welcoming, receiving and integrating talents in cities and regions in the Baltic Sea Region.

The purpose of the Toolkit is to encourage local and regional public sector actors to enhance their efforts to welcome, receive and integrate international talents, as well as provide them with concrete tools to do so. It also aims to increase multi-stakeholders efforts to retain local talents.

The Toolkit starts with a strategic roadmap for planning and implementing talent retention efforts. The roadmap is followed by the main best practices identified in the Situation Analysis: Talent retention policy and initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region.

The Toolkit presents the tools, services and activities, their purposes, main target groups, success factors and examples. It also brings up the different needs of the different target groups, such as expats or students.

In its final chapter, the Toolkit discusses ideas for future opportunities for transnational Baltic Sea Region collaboration in talent retention that have emerged in work leading up to the Toolkit.

The Toolkit is one of the main publications of the Talent retention –work package of the One Baltic Sea Region (One BSR) project, and it has been commissioned by the Swedish Institute together with Tendensor.

The Toolkit is available to download HERE.

Photo: Camilla Wristel, Swedish Institute

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

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

Photos: Seppo Samuli / Greater Helsinki Promotion

Art, Architecture and Design Abound in the Baltic Sea Region

Design from Helsinki, museums in St. Petersburg, Art Nouveau in Riga, Hamburg’s Hafencity and Warsaw’s skyline continue to be enhanced by fresh attractions, new museums and urban projects that point to the future and position the region as a modern, exciting and forward thinking Northern and North-Eastern European destination.

See what these Baltic Sea Region cities have to offer this summer for art and design lovers.


Minna_Parikka_credit Musta&Valkoinen.jpg_WDCHELSINKI2012_250xHELSINKI – Design Capital

The poster child for minimalistic, functional and clean design, Helsinki was voted World Design Capital in 2012 and is “the” destination for high-end fashions and fabrics, home accessories, furniture and jewelry. The city’s Design District boasts some 200 attractions from shops to galleries, studios to museums which can be explored on your own or by joining an English language two-hour Design Walk.

Helsinki never stands still: visitors can witness the transformation of the industrial and harbor areas at Kalasatama, Jätkäsaari and Kruunuvuorenranta into new attractive districts.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, the Helsinki Design Week on 4-14 September, features exhibitions, seminars, fashion shows, parties and open studios.

Until 7 September, 2014, the exhibition Kiasma+Marimekko=Together presents top names of Finnish contemporary art, design and fashion at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.

For design aficionados the centennial jubilee exhibition honoring Ilmari Tapiovaara at the Design Museum is a “must” from 6 June to 21 September.


ST. PETERSBURG – Art and More Art

St. Petersburg’s art galleries and museums are world renowned and include “must-visits” like the State Hermitage Museum, one of the world’s largest museums with some 3 million items, and the State Russian Museum, which features Russian art.

However, the city’s smaller and lesser-known museums should not be ignored. They include the Museum of Glass Art in the Orangery of Yelagin Palace and the little-known Stieglitz Applied Arts Museum with some 30,000 exhibits including decorative arts and crafts, furniture, porcelain, chandeliers, metalwork, bass relieves and more.

Art events in 2014 include the 20th European Biennial of Contemporary Art MANIFESTA 10 from 28 June until 10 October. Hosted this year by the State Hermitage Museum, the event was initiated in response to the new social, cultural and political reality after the Cold War. 2014’s emphasis will be on 25 years of changing realities and experiences as they transformed within this new global world order. Exhibitions are scheduled in some of St. Petersburg most prestigious museums and venues.


RIGA – Capital of Culture 2014

Riga_LIVE RīGA-Ikars Kublins-250xIn 2014, a trip to the Baltic Sea Region must include Riga. The 2014 European Capital of Culture is boasting a full calendar of international-scale events, including amber exhibitions, opera and music festivals.

Riga’s Old Town already is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and takes visitors back a century with its 800+ restored Art Nouveau buildings; the biggest collection of its kind in Europe.

The city’s Kalnciema Quarter, with its just recently renovated 19th century wooden buildings, has a historic atmosphere while at the same time featuring Latvian and European design venues, fairs, and arts and crafts shops in the quarter’s court-yards. On Saturdays residents frequent the traditional market, and Tuesday’s open-air concerts feature up-and-coming musicians from Latvia.

Riga’s new cultural highlights include the National Library of Latvia, which will open in 2014 on the left bank of the Daugava river. The new architectural symbol for Latvia was designed by Latvian architect Gunnar Birkerts, and with its glassy slopes mirrors the silhouette of Riga’s Old Town.


HAMBURG – Urban Development + Design

Hamburg-marketing-hafen_imagefoto-de_250xHamburg’s former docklands-turned urban hotspot HafenCity district continues to expand further into the harbor area and is now offering even more attractions for design and architecture aficionados. Stunning contemporary architecture, high-end retail and gastronomy already make the district a must-visit.

The city’s new Herzog & de Meuron-designed Elbe Philharmonic Hall will open in 2017. Situated on a former cocoa storage hall and appearing like a tall ship sailing up the Elbe river, it already is the city’s new symbol and most prestigious cultural development site in Europe.

Open since November 2013, the permanent IF Design Exhibition in HafenCity shows the world’s best in communication, product and packaging design.

Set to open in late 2014, Hamburg’s Designxport Design Center in HafenCity will be the central networking and communication site for the city’s 14,000 designers, academia, culture and technology. Design exhibitions and a “made in Hamburg” retail space will make the space attractive for visitors.


WARSAW – New Museums, Changing Cityscape

After its destruction in WWII and the Cold War, Warsaw is now well on its way to be an exciting European capital and major tourism destination. The city knows how to enjoy itself, and newly restored districts feature top hospitality, retail and culture. Museums keep opening in Warsaw, focusing on history, art and music.

The newest addition is the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Designed by Finnish architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki and Polish Kuryłowicz & Associates, the symbolic building already opened to the public in April 2013. The permanent exhibition covering 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland is scheduled to open on 28 October.

With its geometric simplicity and wood, stone, copper and brass materials, the museum’s exterior reflects the nearby Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, while it’s open interior cuts across its entire length with an illuminated, sculptural space created by two waved walls.

Locatedzlota_architecture_a_0_157x in the trendy Soho Factory, Warsaw’s new Neon Museum displays Polish neon signs from the communist era.

Since 2013, Polish-born architect Daniel Libeskind‘s Złota44 Tower residential building rises high above Warsaw’s cityscape and features 54 floors and a sleek steel and glass design.

Photos: Minna Parikka / WDC Helsinki 2012, LIVE RīGA / Ikars Kublins, Hamburg Marketing GmbH, Zlota44

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