IT company Derigo helps to improve project management in Africa; EdTec company, Cesim, uses simulation games as part of their business training in Southeast Asia.
Last autumn Derigo's CEO, Jukka Vornanen, assisted his business partner in hosting a business delegation from Tanzania. At the time, he couldn't foresee that he was going to make a return visit at the beginning of this year.
"I kept a presentation of our solutions, and the Tanzanians got interested straight away," Vornanen says.
The delegation consisted of owners and CEOs of Tanzanian construction companies.
"So far, all the available project management software has been too heavy and expensive for them. We can easily customize our Pro3 software for the needs of Tanzanian companies".
Derigo, founded in 2008, specializes in project management solutions.
"What's globally common to the project activities is that the data and the documentation are in many places. It's on the hard disk or in the corner of the server in the form of Word or Excel, or likewise in Tanzania; it's in the notebook or the file. The big problem is mostly that the data is difficult to find when needed".
When the Tanzanians confirmed their interest, Vornanen contacted the BEAM program, which is a joint program run by Business Finland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The program supports Finnish innovations to generate new, sustainable business in developing countries.
Derigo applied for funding to conduct a pilot in Tanzania and got a positive reply.
"Now, we have a two-year plan that includes customizing the platform and the functionalities for the needs of Tanzanians," Vornanen says.
In Finland, every company demands an individual platform, but in Tanzania, the same platform is suitable for every firm.
At the moment, Vornanen is preparing for a business trip to Tanzania. His goal is to start the pilot next autumn. He is highly motivated because the software can help develop local construction business and improve the know-how of the workforce.
"The more Tanzanians do on their own – without, for example, the Chinese – the more they create wealth for their own country."
Also, EdTech company Cesim is interested in the challenges facing labor markets in emerging countries. It specializes in simulation games, which are used in universities to teach business courses.
The game's idea is that a team is managing a company and making decisions concerning, for example, sales, pricing, investments, personnel resources, and financing, and the choices they make will lead them into a new situation. The team is not just simulating but competing with each other.
"Competitive dimension is important. Many customers stress it," Cesim's CEO Veijo Kyösti says.
"Nowadays teachers have to struggle for the students' attention amidst the numerous alternatives of social media and digital apps. There is evidence that the simulation games improve the motivation and learning. Also, they improve the students' employability because they provide practicality and experimentalism to the learning process."
Moreover, the simulation games improve the scalability of the courses and make the students' performance more transparent. Eventually, it will lead to the more efficient use of the resources and enhance the level of education.
Cesim was founded in 1996 and has customers in Europe and South and North America.
"The Finnish market is excellent in this business area, but to create profitable business it's not possible without global aspect," Kyösti says.
For developing markets, Cesim is heading from Southeast Asia.
"We applied for funding from the BEAM program for mapping the markets in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Of these options, we'll choose two."
"The challenge of the pricing is going to be obvious."
With the BEAM, Cesim is trying to build a cooperation model between the universities and companies.
"The idea is that the companies sponsor the simulation games. With the evaluation tools, which are under development, could be later used in recruiting."
Minh Lam, the manager of the BEAM program, is pleased with the initiatives of Derigo and Cesim: "Finnish companies are mapping for the new business areas where there are economic growth and increasing middle class."
Tel. +358 (0)400 265 242
jukka.vornanen (at) derigo.fi
Tel. +358 40 504 5116
veijo.kyosti (at) cesim.com
Tel. +358 (0)2950 55743
minh.lam (at) businessfinland.fi
Text: Tanja Harjuniemi