Global power and automation company ABB has deep roots in Helsinki, going all the way back to 1889 and Gottfrid Strömberg’s electric motor workshop. Here are 10 reasons why Helsinki continues to be a great location for ABB and other international technology companies.
- Economic environment. Finnish corporate tax is quite competitive compared to that of many other countries. Public organizations like Tekes offer financial support, aiming to help companies advance their innovations and growth.
- Business environment. The business environment in Helsinki and Finland is stable, ethical and predictable—there are no surprises lurking around the corner. It provides a solid base for long-term business decisions.
- Labour costs. Although Finnish labour costs are somewhat high on average, the cost of skilled engineering work is actually rather competitive compared to other European countries, as the difference between the cost of office work and manual labour is narrow. For a company like ABB, with a large engineering staff and a high demand for leading-edge know-how, Finland is an attractive country.
- Educated employees. The Greater Helsinki region has a highly educated population, which makes it a very good location for recruiting employees.
- Recruitment cooperation with universities and colleges. ABB works closely with many colleges and universities in the Helsinki area. For years, the company has collaborated with them to hire a significant amount of summer help. After a few summers at ABB, a university student may produce a master’s thesis for the company and eventually become a permanent staff member. This is a convenient way to match future talents and companies.
- Vuosaari Harbour and Helsinki Airport. Helsinki is a great location for a company that ships very large products. Transporting and exporting motors, generators and propulsion systems requires a large and deep harbour that can sustain a lot of weight, as well as unobstructed roads and ship routes. The close location to Vuosaari Harbour is paramount to ABB. The City of Helsinki has also taken ABB’s logistics needs into account in its traffic planning and arrangements. Furthermore, the proximity of the well-connected Helsinki Airport is vitally important for an international company.
- Good commuting connections and easy mobility. ABB’s employees come from all around the relatively large Greater Helsinki area, which the public transportation system supports. However, not everyone is able to use public transportation, so ABB also needs to be able to offer its employees sufficient parking facilities. The company has an on-going and smooth dialogue and cooperation with the City of Helsinki, and the city has observed ABB’s needs in its zoning activities.
- The city as a pilot user of new technology. New Helsinki neighbourhoods offer great piloting opportunities for new technology. In the Kalasatama area, for example, ABB technology helps optimize the energy efficiency of individual apartments, buildings and entire building blocks. Vessels, particularly cruisers, use lots of energy, which they produce with diesel fuel in the harbour, creating significant emissions. ABB’s technology helps cut down vessel emissions by feeding electricity from shore to ship.
- Lively start-up scene. Recent structural changes in Finnish industry have led to a boost in entrepreneurship. The Helsinki region offers a lively, international start-up scene with a particular focus on software-based start-ups. Interesting new businesses and ecosystems can offer existing companies new opportunities.
- Collaboration potential with other companies. Helsinki offers excellent opportunities for collaboration with other businesses that have similar interests. ABB currently has joint projects on fast charging stations for electric cars, as well as on the development of other electric vehicles and smart mobility. Many of ABB’s current success stories are the fruits of collaboration with other companies.
– Anders Nordström
10 HELSINKI GREATSHelsinki Business Hub started its operations in 2006. To celebrate the ten years of success, HBH has published a series of articles that highlight both known and hidden gems of the region. Articles are written by experts and opinion leaders representing a variety of sectors and domains.Find out more about HBH: www.helsinkibusinesshub.fi.