The Keweenaw’s Finnish Heritage Encourages Partnership between Finnish and Regional Companies

HOUGHTON/HANCOCK – Heritage is an important part of the Keweenaw. So when delegates from Finnish companies and Ambassador, Mikko Hautala plan a trip from across the pond, it’s an exciting event. The visitors plan to meet with Michigan Tech, Finlandia University and other groups next month. They’ll be talking about Finland’s clean tech, forest bio materials, batteries, and maritime industries and how those innovations might benefit Michigan companies.

“The purpose for the visit by the ambassador, around those key industry segments, is to get a better understanding of some of the activity in the state of Michigan in those sectors. And also some of the activity with the companies in our region. We find that companies there, will sort of maximize the commercial potential in Finland and maybe even the Nordic region. But then they want to get in the the U.S. market, North American market, as quickly as possible. And so that’s what FinnZone helps them do in Houghton/Hancock.” – Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, M-Tec SmartZone

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a Memo of Understanding with Finland in 2020. The document builds on a deep connection between the two regions. Michigan has the largest Finnish – American population in the country. Immigrants from the Scandinavian country worked in mining, forestry and other industries throughout the   height of Michigan’s economic production.

“The value, I think FinnZone, representing Houghton/Hancock, can bring to these companies that will be visiting for this delegation, are that we have this unique Finnish heritage here. And FinnZone is the only incubator, that we’re aware of, in the United States. Solely dedicated toward helping commercialize Finnish companies in the United States.” – Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, M-Tec SmartZone

Michigan can offer research and marketing solutions for Finnish companies hoping to break into the American market. FinnZone helps those groups by setting up meetings with potential partners in the Keweenaw. Delegates will see research at Michigan Tech and Finlandia University first-hand. They also plan to meet with FinnZone’s team and the Honorary Counsel of Finland – Upper Peninsula while they are here. Their visit will start on May 16th and go throughout the week.