11.4.2024 15:20

New Kyiv office to help Finnish companies rebuild Ukraine

The EastCham Finland chamber of commerce, in cooperation with the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), is opening an office in Kyiv. Its purpose is to help Finnish companies engage in reconstruction projects and enter the Ukrainian market.

This spring, Finnish business will get a permanent representation in Kyiv. EastCham Finland is collaborating with EK to open an office in the Ukrainian capital.

The office will play an important role: its local, expert support will ease Finnish companies’ entry into and establishment on the Ukrainian markets.

The purpose of the office is to provide information to companies about the Ukrainian market and business environment. It will help them find local partners and inform them about Ukrainian rebuilding projects and finance. The office will also play an important liaison role with the Ukrainian government.

“For Finnish SMEs, this is an important advance. If your company is interested in the Ukrainian market and reconstruction, you should keep your eye on EastCham’s service offering and its communications. Ukraine can open up new opportunities for many Finnish companies. Even if reconstruction can truly begin only when the war is over, there’s always lots going on and all kinds of deals being closed in Ukraine,” Mikael Pentikäinen, CEO of Suomen Yrittäjät, the Finnish SME association, says.

Pentikäinen chairs the board of the EastCham Finland. Suomen Yrittäjät is a member organization of EastCham.

The head of the Kyiv office from 1 April is Olena Kutsai, who has a profound knowledge of Ukrainian business and companies, as well as of public procurement and finance channels.

Promoting Finnish know-how

Jaana Rekolainen, the CEO of EastCham Finland, says that Finnish companies have a lot of expertise and technology that already match Ukraine’s needs.

“It’s important to promote Finnish know-how in Ukraine and get Finnish companies accruing local testimonials on the market. Our office offers companies valuable local insight and helps them navigate the Ukrainian business environment, which is a new one for many. We’re going to build an extensive service and partner network to support Finnish companies,” Rekolainen says.

Jyri Häkämies, CEO of EK, says that the acute infrastructure repair needs caused by the Russian invasion alone are causing costs measured in the tens of billions. He says that in total, a reconstruction costing an estimated almost $500 billion should be anticipated.

“Ukrainians are already expecting Finnish companies to make an active investment to enable repairs to electricity and telecom networks, water and sanitation, hospitals, schools, nurseries and housing. This is a prerequisite for keeping the basic functions of Ukrainian society running and ensuring the country’s defensive front holds,” Häkämies says.

Instead of mere reconstruction, the goal is to help Ukraine achieve a modern digital and environmentally sustainable economy and society. This will simultaneously smooth the country’s path towards future EU membership.

Some areas of Finnish expertise which have aroused interest include technical design and construction, data traffic links, energy systems, health technology, education and civil defence shelters.

Dozens of Finnish companies already in Ukraine

Around 20 to 30 Finnish companies are currently trading in Ukraine. Before the full-scale invasion, Finland’s goods exports to Ukraine were worth around €200 million annually.

In 2023, goods exports exceeded €160 million, an increase of almost 10% from the previous year. The national plan for the reconstruction of Ukraine, published by the Government of Finland last December, provides businesses with financial tools for engaging in reconstruction more actively.

EastCham Finland is an international chamber of commerce that supports Finnish companies on the Ukrainian, Central Asian and southern Caucasus markets. Through its office in Kyiv, EastCham helps its member companies engage in reconstruction projects and access the Ukrainian market.

EK has from the start been an active background influencer in the drafting of Finland’s national plan for the reconstruction of Ukraine. With the Finnish foreign ministry, EK leads the Ukraine Reconstruction Forum of Finnish Industries, which brings together Finnish companies, government agencies and funders.

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