Years ago John-Mark Clancy made friends with a couple of Finns in Australia. It was the beginning of multiple annual visits to Finland and a distant dream – to have an office in the country. This Autumn Clancy, a true globetrotter, will start doing business in Helsinki.
Irish-born Clancy has run Clancy Engineering, an international design and engineering company, in Russia since 2008. The company designs industrial properties, hotels, commercial property and residential buildings from the concept stage to the construction stage of the facility. These include the Bvlgari 6* Hotel in Moscow, Residential Developments in Novosibirsk and Kronospan’s largest wood processing facility in Egoreivsk east of Moscow.
Clancy Engineering’s aim is to get a market share in Finland, other Nordic and Baltic countries with a similar kind of concept they have implemented in Russia.
“Large global corporations dominate the design market as was the case earlier in Russia. We believe that there is space for a smaller locally focused company that provides quality design with a flexible approach and local partner network. For employees, we can offer inspiring projects and an independent company responsible for its own profitability,” states Clancy.
Flexibility means that the company can offer a large set of services with its partners. They are ready for new endeavors, too. Clancy refers to the Kronospan project. They got an opportunity to design one of the largest wood processing factories in Europe.
“We hadn’t done that kind of project before, but they trusted our expertise,” says Clancy.
The business opportunity in itself is never enough to establish a company in a new country. In the Clancy Engineering case, talent pool, location and business culture play a key role.
“Finland has developed into a self-sufficient and innovative economy without minerals, oil and gas. It has overcome the climate issues and a bit distant location. Finnish engineers and architects are some of the best in world, and people across the world have a great belief in them,” says Clancy.
He speaks from experience; Clancy has worked with Finnish professionals and admires their innovativeness and modern way to work.
“And Helsinki was a natural place for the company as it is the gateway to neighboring countries, the Nordics and Baltic countries. It is also easy to pop up to our office in Moscow if the team needs its expertise in projects,” highlights Clancy.
The open and helpful business culture in Finland is also a thing Clancy appreciates. He could witness it from the first moment, when he started to think about doing business in the country.
“First, I approached Business Finland in Moscow and then Helsinki Business Hub in Helsinki, and got a warm and facilitating welcome. They were interested in our plans and very supportive to help us ahead,” says Clancy.
The help varied from general information on setting up and running business in Finland to regulatory aspects and licensing of civil engineers and overview of hotel business.
“The experts set up meetings with law and recruitment agencies and potential partners in our fields of expertise. We also got information of potential office spaces. All of this was very informative, efficient and helped us to save a lot of our time,” acknowledges Clancy.
Clancy Engineering decided to set its office at Sofia Future Farm, a co-working space situated in the middle of city centre, next to the Helsinki Cathedral and Senate Square. The area boasts elegant neoclassical architecture.
Clancy Engineering has plans to start its operations in September. The impact of Covid-19 on how businesses can be run also matters.
“Our ambition is to start in September. We will recruit the first managers, reach out to clients and work to make ourselves known. How things go depends very much of the economic situation and government actions in Finland. We hope that the society can function and cope with Covid-19,” says Clancy.
Within one or two years Clancy Engineering hopes to have 10–20 engineers and architects in the company. Not all of them will work at the Helsinki office, but remotely.
“This allows us to get the best experts from wherever they want to live,” believes Clancy.