Internationalization Award of the President of the Republic of Finland. Photo: Matti Porre / Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

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Sauli Niinistö, the President of the Republic of Finland, has granted the annual internationalization award to successful Finnish companies. Kempower Oyj, a provider of fast charging solutions for electric vehicles, will be awarded as the newcomer company of 2022, and K. Hartwall Oy Ab, a family-owned company focusing on logistics equipment and services, will receive the Growth Company Award. In the Long-term International Investor category, the award will go to Andritz Oy. The Community Award of the year will be granted to Kasvuryhmä Suomi ry.

The Internationalization Award of the President of the Republic of Finland is bestowed annually in recognition of internationally successful companies or communities. Nominations were proposed by various business organizations.

"In addition to international success, the evaluation this year emphasized sustainable development and the ethical nature of operations as well as impacts on Finnish competence, innovation, the development of employment and foreign investments. The award-winning companies have been able to continue healthy business despite the coronavirus crisis and the war in Ukraine," says Ilona Lundström, Chairman of the Team Finland Executive Group and Director-General at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

The final award recipients were proposed to the president by the actors of the Team Finland network, Business Finland, ELY centers (Centers for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment), Finnvera, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

"There is a growing demand in the world for sustainable solutions. The award-winning companies have boldly developed their competence skills to solve difficult problems. It is great to see that we in Finland can be bigger than we are and thereby boost our exports, "says Nina Kopola, Director-General of Business Finland and Vice Chairman of the Team Finland network.

Kempower has rapidly grown into an e-mobility enabler

Kempower, which was granted the Newcomer Award, designs and manufactures DC fast charging solutions for electric vehicles. The company started its operations in 2017 after the Kemppi Group separated the electric vehicles charging business into a company of its own. The company was listed in the Nasdaq First North Helsinki in December 2021. Kempower's head office and production facilities are located in Lahti, Finland, and the company sources most of the materials and components locally. Most of the company's revenue comes from exports. Kempower is part of the Kemppi Group.

"Kempower's goal is to boost the EV evolution by offering the world's most desired EV charging solutions to everyone, everywhere. E-mobility is already a reality for us today – our solution has been developed for a world where there are far more electric cars, buses and trucks on the roads than there are today. Our international growth has been rapid. We have succeeded in scaling our production in Lahti and our supply chain, located in the nearby area, along with the growth. The award is based on countless hours of work and challenges solved, which our team has overcome together with customers and other stakeholders. We will continue this work and, to support growth, we will also continue to recruit employees throughout the organization in and outside of Finland," says Tomi Ristimäki, CEO of Kempower.

K. Hartwall's international business grows strongly

K. Hartwall, which received the Growth Company Award and celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, is a family-owned company founded in Sipoo that focuses on logistics equipment. The largest customer industries are retail, postal & parcel, automotive and industrial manufacturing. The company has succeed to combine returnable load carriers with automated solutions for material handling. The solutions allow for example more efficiency intralogistics and lower transport costs. Customers include Amazon, Walgreens, Carrefour, ICA, Coca-Cola, Arla, Royal Mail, DHL, PostNord, Bosch, Schaeffler, The Home Depot, Target, Volvo, Volkswagen, BMW, Kingfisher and Australia Post. K. Hartwall's aim has been to increase its turnover to EUR 100 million by the early 2020s.

"The award is an acknowledgement of a long-term strategy to establish ourselves as an innovative and international player in more than 65 countries. A key factor in the internationalization of K. Hartwall has been the ability to understand the specificities of each country and its industries and to be able to share best practices from different markets. We advise other Finnish companies that want to grow globally to believe in themselves, dream big, and, most importantly, cultivate a local presence on their most important international markets. It is also crucial for Finnish international companies to continue to be supported by dedicated governmental organizations who can facilitate their activities through local expertise, contacts and funding so that they are able to take the next step towards internationalization," explains Jerker Hartwall, CEO of Hartwall.

ANDRITZ makes long-term investments in sustainable development

In the Long-term International Investor category, the award was granted to Andritz, which delivers systems, equipment and services to the pulp and papermaking industry. In Finland, Andritz's companies have approximately 1,600 employees in Kerava, Kotka, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Oulu, Savonlinna, Tampere, Vantaa and Varkaus. The company's head office is situated in Helsinki. Exports account for about 90% of its turnover. The engineering workshop taken into use by Andritz in Varkaus this year is one of the most significant regional industrial investments of the millennium. From the 2014 level (EUR 5 million), investments more than tripled by 2021 (EUR 16 million). The company has significantly increased its product development investments in recent years. The most important fields of research are technologies supporting sustainable development such as decarbonization, circular economy, side stream treatment and textile fiber recycling. The company pursues research cooperation, e.g., with the following parties: LUT University, Aalto University and the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK).

"We are proud of our innovative products, services and, above all, our passionate experts. However, success always comes from cooperation with the customer, so we thank the Finnish forest industry companies for their close cooperation in developing new innovations. We encourage growing export companies to believe in their own work and invest in skilled personnel. A humane approach, humility and respect for other people and cultures are keys to internationalization," shares Andritz Oy's CEO Kari Tuominen.

Kasvuryhmä brings medium-sized companies together into a growth community

Kasvuryhmä, which received the Community Award, was founded in 2015 to create growth ambition and capabilities as well as a new culture of learning together for medium-sized companies to enable companies and Finland to succeed also in the future. In Kasvuryhmä, the CEOs, chairmen of the board, owners and executives responsible for major growth projects of medium-sized companies accelerate the growth of their companies by sharing their experiences openly and confidentially with their peers. Medium-sized companies (those with turnover between EUR 10 million and EUR 1 billion) make up only 1.5 percent of all companies in Finland, but account for more than one-fifth of the turnover of Finnish companies and the same proportion of jobs in the private sector. Their growth has a significant impact on the Finnish economy and society. More than 250 directors of medium-sized growth companies are currently members of Kasvuryhmä. The impact of Kasvuryhmä's activities on the creation of new, international business in Finland has already been very significant over the past eight years that Kasvuryhmä has been in operation.

"Over the last four years, internationalization has been the single biggest theme on which the members of our community have focused - it has been the main topic of more than 200 encounters. At Kasvuryhmä, the discussions between people from different companies are radically open, and there's a culture of learning and finding solutions together. Peer discussions feed the courage to seek future-proof growth and build capabilities for renewal and internationalization. This boosts the competitive advantage of the entire country," explains Katriina Anttila, CEO of Kasvuryhmä.

HT

Source: Business Finland

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