Speak the same language – Speak Business

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Speak Business project

According to statistics there are about a quarter of a million of different registered companies in Suomi (website “This is Finland”, finland.fi). The vast majority of them are small firms with the staff from one to nine people. Various measures are provided in Finland to support small businesses. And what is remarkable is that they are the same both for the Finns and for the non-indigenous population, among whom the Russians represent the largest group, according to the same portal “This is Finland”. It is not a surprise that neighboring states are interested in enhancing business management skills among their residents and developing cross-border cooperation in the field of social entrepreneurship. This is precisely what the international project SpeakBusiness is aimed at: “SpeakBusiness: Strategic planning and project management for cross-border area”. 

The project was launched in 2018, a series of training took place in early November 2019. Students of master's programs in the field of Economics, social entrepreneurs, representatives of the executive branch and NGOs, and teachers of management and project management were invited to participate in the program. The participants studied strategic planning, project management, cross-cultural communications, participated in trainings and interactive work.  

We also had a small training projective session where the course participants tried to develop a project that could be of interest to both Russian and Finnish side, present it and then try to find ways to strengthen it, figure out grounds for negotiations.

Olga Sizova, project teacher-expert, associate professor of the Department of State Regional Management of the Karelian Branch of the RANEPA, Ph.D.

One of the steps of the training is exchange  trips to Finland. The first trip to the northern city of Oulu took place February 26-29, where the delegation from Petrozavodsk was introduced to the training programmes at the Management Institute of Finland. Then, participants discussed the cross-cultural aspects of doing business with the project coordinator Michal Frackowiak and learned the specifics of presenting their idea as an Elevator pitch from the media trainer of the RANEPA and the organization “Opora Russia” Larisa Katysheva.

Each participant of the course brought project aimed at developing international cooperation in various spheres to present to foreign colleagues and businessmen. Spheres include tourism, medicine, ecology, employment, and much more. The presentation was held at the regional development center of Rahu. Tatyana Tselikova’s project (director of the Saaristo-Tour travel company) proposed the development of an interactive tourist route along Zaonezhie for Russian and foreign tourists:

We would like to develop a new interesting tourist route along Zaonezhie, this is a unique place rich in historical and cultural sites, but at this point there is no proper infrastructure there. I present my project here hoping to find experts in the field of IT-technologies, as well as investors interested in investing in the development of the territory.

Another student of the course Mikhail Arkhipov prepared a project on the development of cultural interaction between Russia and Finland:

At the very end of the 20th century, the cultural exchange between our countries was completely natural, for some reason all this is a thing of the past, it seems to me that this slows down not only cultural, but also economic development as a whole. For example, Karelian students of art schools could well exhibit in some provincial exhibition halls in Finland; for this, you do not need to look for any additional funding each time and undergo special competitive selection.

Mikhail Arkhipov, employee of the National Museum of the Republic of Karelia.

Among the initiatives related to the healthcare sector, a project was presented by Madani Saleh Riad, superfinalist of the competition “Leaders of Karelia 2019”. He introduced an idea of ​​creating software aimed at the timely identification of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Ekaterina Lesnykh, an expert of Karelia CBC project at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Karelia, prepared a project within the topic of medical tourism:

We would like Karelia to be open for export of medical services, the main idea is to create a network of medical clinics, where specialists speak not only Russian, but also English or Finnish, and travel agencies, so that eventually people can purchase what is called a turnkey ticket and have an opportunity to see the sights and receive medical services.

The second day was devoted to getting to know the specifics of support measures for entrepreneurs in Oulu: participants visited a local business center, met with experts from Business Asema and the Regional Center for Newly established Enterprises and exchanged contacts for further cooperation. Then features of cross-cultural communication in the context of business relations were presented to the students in an interactive form. And in the afternoon, the Karelian delegationvisited the university in Oulu, one of the largest universities in Finland. Katrina Klemova, one of the teachers at the Terwa Academy, spoke about a unique entrepreneurial educational program, where local and foreign students can get not only the necessary theoretical knowledge, but also teamwork and business design skills.

The final day of the programme was devoted to a trip to the city of Kemi, which is located on the coast. Every year a unique tourist attraction is created there - a huge snow castle, the largest in the world, according to Kemi Snow Castle employees. And next to the shore there are several dozen modules - double rooms with a glazed roof. Over the past season, Kemi was visited by nearly a hundred thousand guests. The delegation from Petrozavodsk got the opportunity to get acquainted with innovative business models of the local entrepreneurial community.

The next educational exchange trip will bring participants to Joensuu.

The project “SpeakBusiness: strategic planning and project management in cross-border area” is being implemented within Karelia CBC programme on the basis of the Karelian branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Leading partner - Karelian Foundation for Educational Development, partners from Finland - Management Institute of Finland (MIF) and University of Eastern University.