Global Access Program was once again a significant help for Finnish companies interested in moving into the US. Three companies tell about their experiences on video.
Products by the confectionary manufacturer Oy Karl Fazer AB, established in 1891, have not been available in American shops.
"Only one member of the MBA team had tasted Fazer chocolate before this project," reveals Petri Tervonen, Head of Marketing.
The members of the MBA team had backgrounds in consulting, marketing and financing. Video conferences were held throughout the autumn. The team members visited Fazer’s factories in Finland and interviewed American consumers. As a result, the team encouraged Fazer to begin by contacting small, luxury shops.
"It's good to meet consumers for the first time in an environment where they are looking for these kinds of products. When we succeed in small chains, it will be easier to being negotiating with big ones," explains Tervonen.
Surprisingly, at least from the Finnish point of view, the team members did not recommend entering the US market with the legendary Fazer Blue product.
"They recommended starting with dark chocolate products and chocolate-coated berries. I think that our products will be available from selected cities on the west and east coast from the beginning of 2019," states the Head of Marketing.
Cajo Technologies makes laser marking devices. They can be used as stand alone devices or integrated with production lines. The devices are made in Kempele and bought by other companies. The average value per sale is EUR 70,000. The company has doubled its turnover over the last few years. It recently expanded to Asia and established a subsidiary in the United States.
"We obtained a clear direction for our growth. We are beginning to seek partners from the USA, who will sell the devices to end customers. This was a successful project," declares CEO Niko Karsikas.
Nutrolin provides nutritional oils for dogs, cats and horses. The GAP project focused on nutritional oils for dogs.
"The team recommended entering the American markets with a portfolio of three products. These are targeted at sporting and show dogs, as well as dogs with skin, coat and footpad problems," says CEO Anna-Liisa Lundell.
As customers, the MBA team pinpointed the most dedicated dog owners for whom a dog is a hobby and important family member.
"GAP has taught us a great deal about the US market, as well as helping us to see our European activities through fresh eyes. This has been a fantastic program, which I can heartily recommend to all Finnish companies that want to enter the United States market," says Lundell.
Global Access Program offers Finnish companies a tailor-made market-entry plan for the US or other international markets. The plan is prepared by experienced business professionals who know the local market and complete their MBA degree simultaneously at UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Text, photo and video: Tomi Hinkkanen