Theories and praxis of internationalization and ecosystems

Greenreality Network webinar ‘Internationalization – what’s entrepreneurial ecosystems got to do with it?’ gathered some 30 people to hear and share how networks and collaboration creates a platform for international growth in our current time of increasing remote and digital connections.

The event consisted of four different and insightful key notes on the topic of internationalization, breakout room discussions in-between them, as well as a lively open discussion at the end with a diverse and knowledgeable group ranging from (international) entrepreneurs and managers, city representatives, university staff and students.

With the lead of Hannes Velt, Matti Malkamäki, Olli Palvas and Janne Hietaniemi topics of the open discussion ranged from locally based international talent, the benefits and challenges of solely remote contacting of overseas prospects and partners, and how the private and the public sector together with the civil community build a platform for companies to grow beyond borders.

Discussion raised up the importance of first deals and reference cases of start-ups and that an ecosystem could be of real help in getting one. Based on Hannes’s insights, important is that each actor – entrepreneur, student, service provider – first recognizes their own place in the community and begins to understand the other actors’ needs and challenges in the wider, even global, system and their differing points of views.

With his experiences as the founder and CEO of a start-up that had reached several international markets – e.g. Germany, Austria, UK and USA –Matti Malkamäki gave his insights of how the current digital means has made the contacting and collaboration with actors overseas faster. Without the need to travel for every marketing and sales event or collaboration meeting, also decision-making has become prompter in some cases. Here, the discussion took up on the importance of building trust in-between and especially at first introductions remotely – even long before the sales activities through online presence.

The discussion also hovered over the meaning of the international talent available for the local companies in Finland. While talk about internationalization often refers to “going beyond the Finnish borders”, it is important to remember that internationalization may naturally also start by inviting locally living international expertise or that from abroad into the company here in Finland.

The webinar was a part of the Fast Teams project. The project is implemented by the City of Lappeenranta and LUT University. This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.