Australia is the first country in the world to have a Team Finland Network.
The Team Finland Network is an initiative of a committee of prominent Finnish business people, led by KONE CEO Matti Alahuhta, examining Finnish trade promotion and the internationalization of Finnish businesses.
At events on 19 April 2012 and 2 May 2012, in Sydney and Melbourne respectively, the Finnish Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Mrs Maija Lähteenmäki, officially launched the Team Finland Network in Australia. The events were jointly hosted by the Embassy of Finland in Australia, Finpro Australia, the Finland Australia Chamber of Commerce (FACC) and Finnair.
At each event, the FACC’s board member and secretary general Geoff Charnock opened by giving some details on the FACC and its activities, and was followed by Finpro Australia’s country representative Riku Laanti on the concept and objectives of Team Finland. The Finnish Ambassador finished off with a motivational speech, and officially launched the Team Finland Network in Australia.
Both events were received extremely well, attracting over 40 guests each. Among the guests were local executives from some of the largest Finnish companies, including Cargotec, Metso, Finnair, Fiskars, KONE, Konecranes, Stora Enso, Ahlstrom, Basware, F-Secure, Marimekko, Outotec, Outokumpu and Savcor. One of the objectives of the events was to initiate discussion about ideas for mutual cooperation, and the positive atmosphere seemed to set the perfect mood for that. During the Team Finland process FACC has also gained a number of new members and sponsors.
The “Team Finland Ambassador” network, as proposed by the Alahuhta committee, composed of well-known and interesting people, has also been assembled in Australia. Three major state capitals Sydney, Melbourne and Perth now all have their own high-level Team Finland Ambassadors. The mission of these “Team Finland Ambassadors” is to promote Finnish know-how to Australian target groups.
Ludde Ingvall, who has previously been involved in the FACC’s activities, was appointed as the first Team Finland Ambassador in Sydney. As the two-time winner of one of the most challenging yacht races in the world, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Ingvall is extremely well known in Australia.
The “mining boom state” of Western Australia’s Team Finland Ambassador is Ross Norgard, a reputable Perth-based businessman and investment banker. Ross’ grandfather was originally from Finland and by getting involved Ross is hoping to give a little something back to the country of his family’s origin.
Freestyle skiers Lauri and Lydia Lassila are the Team Finland Ambassadors in Melbourne. Local celebrity Lydia is an Australian Olympic Champion (Vancouver 2010), while Lauri is a former Olympian and World Championship silver medalist, now working in IT.
The Embassy of Finland, Finpro, FACC and Finnair have also established a Team Finland Australia executive committee, chaired by the Finnish Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Mrs Maija Lähteenmäki. Other members include Minister-Councellor Juha Parikka from the Embassy of Finland; Finpro Australia country representative Riku Laanti; FACC president Silke Koernicke, FACC secretary general Geoff Charnock, Finnair’s country manager Geoffrey Stone and Finnair client manager Sanna Ruuskanen.
The committee has plans for several Finnish trade promotion-related events, including a Team Finland launch in Perth.
Photos of the Team Finland Network launch in Melbourne can be found on our Flickr page.