The President of the Republic, Sauli Niinistö, has today presented the Internationalization Award for 2019. The award for Growth Company of the Year was presented to Finland’s leading company in mechanical wood processing, Keitele Forest Oy. The newcomer company of the year is Smartly.io Solutions. It provides allocation and automation tools for digital marketing. The community award was given to the regional development company for Kotka-Hamina, Cursor Oy. The company contributed significantly to getting over 2 billion euros of foreign investments in Kymenlaakso.
The Internationalization Award of the President of the Republic is a recognition granted each year to Finnish companies that have gained international success, and to the communities behind them.
The award-winning companies Keitele Forest and Smartly are examples of Finnish innovation and will to grow. The winner of the community award, Cursor, has worked relentlessly to promote direct foreign investments by building cooperation networks.
- Courage, growth, investments and renewal are the common characteristics of these winners. The recognized companies have invested in production plants, new products and services as well as their people's expertise. In Kymenlaakso, companies have contributed to the economic renewal of the entire region. The efforts of these companies also show that courage to take risks pays off, and in addition to the company and its people, partners and the entire community also benefit from this, says the Director General of Business Finland, Nina Kopola.
The general award criteria include the winner's proven ability to create growing and profitable international business. In addition, how the company actively promotes, among other things, sustainable development, wellbeing in the workplace, digitalization and other fields of expertise.
The proposal on companies and communities to be recognized was made to the President by the members of the Team Finland network, including Business Finland, ELY Centres, Finnvera and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Business organizations also suggested candidates.
Keitele Forest, recognized as the growth company of the year, is the market leader in mechanical wood processing and one of the largest wood processing companies in Finland. The company, founded in 1981, increases the processing value of timber and lumber products by manufacturing glulam and planks for the building, furniture, window and door industries.
Mikko (on the left), Ilkka and Matti Kylävainio from Keitele Forest present the Aurorazai glulam.
Keitele Group includes parent company Keitele Forest Oy, lumber-producing Keitele Timber Oy, and timber product company Keitele Wood Products Oy. The group's turnover is around 270 million euros per year. In the last ten years, the group has invested for over €200 million in Finland. The company exports timber and further processing products to 42 countries. The main markets are in Japan, EU countries and Northern Africa. The company's working principles are based on responsible action and sustainable development.
- From the environment's point of view, wood and its use are the solution, not the problem. Finland has aimed to increase wood production for a hundred years and succeeded brilliantly. However, the forest can't be used as a permanent carbon sink. Instead, slowly circulating raw materials need to be processed efficiently based on customer needs and turned into timber products that function as carbon sinks throughout their lifecycle. The growth and carbon sink of forests should be increased in a controlled manner in the future, comments Ilkka Kylävainio, who is the CEO and chairperson of the board of directors of Keitele Forest.
An example of sustainable methods is recycling products that bind carbon dioxide for a long time at the end of the products' useful life. Production, timber transportation and the logistic solutions for finished products are optimized, and the company produces the energy it needs from renewable energy sources created as by-products of sawing.
The group employs around 500 people in Keitele, Northern Savo, Alajärvi, Southern Ostrobothnia, and Kemijärvi, Lapland. The company has never laid off or dismissed personnel. In addition to Keitele Group's own employees, the company offers work to over 1 000 people in forestry and in its subcontracting network's harvesting and transportation chain.
Smartly.io was recognized as the newcomer of the year. The company provides tools for automating digital advertising and is the market leader in automated social media marketing implementation. Founded in 2013, Smartly's customer include eBay, Uber and Walmart, and 99 per cent of its turnover come from outside Finland.
Anssi Rusi, Kristo Ovaska and Tuomo Riekki have worked on Smartly.io's internationalisation around the world with their company culture in mind. Now there are already 16 offices globally.
In the United States alone, around 28 billion dollars were spent on social media advertising in 2018*, and the annual growth rate in percent of advertising budgets is in the double digits. At the moment, the environment provided by Smartly.io is used to automate video advertising production, optimization of campaign efficiency and result testing in the billions of dollars. With these tools, advertisers can automate many digital advertising processes from creating ads to distribution and testing. Machine learning enables Smartly.io to optimise both the efficiency of advertising and the content of ads.
- We have grown with our customers, listening to their wishes and developing technology that makes speedy digitalization possible. The greatest bottleneck for our growth is hiring experienced coders who are very much in demand in Helsinki, where our product development takes place. Our fast growth is supported by a strong company culture and the need for marketing automation, which is still only beginning for many advertisers, says Kristo Ovaska, the founder and Managing Director of Smartly.io.
Smartly.io employs nearly 400 people, of whom about 200 work in Finland. The company has offices in 16 cities around the world, with employees of 40 different nationalities.
The competition for international investments gets harder, and one of the requirements for success is patience in the long term. Cursor has worked on invest in resource allocation for years already. In the community category of the Internationalization Award, Cursor's great success in keeping companies in its area and promoting significant additional investments to Finland was recognized. Google's investments alone will reach 2 billion euros in Finland.
Staff of award-winning development company Cursor at Jokipuisto in Kotka.
- The investments of global companies to the Kotka-Hamina region show that the long-term work to develop the region is yielding results, the challenges in industry caused by structural change have been conquered and people have trust in the region's future. We want to warmly thank all those in the region who have participated in making this development possible, says David Lindström, Managing Director of regional development company for Kotka-Hamina, Cursor Oy.
Cursor is responsible for business counselling, services for start-up companies, companies operating in the region and companies moving to the Kotka-Hamina region, as well as development projects and business-based marketing. Cursor is owned by five municipalities in the region: Kotka, Hamina, Pyhtää, Virolahti and Miehikkälä together with industrial companies and financial institutions** in the area. The regional development company has also conducted successful cooperation outside its area with other regional bodies as well as the national body Invest in Finland.
**Saimaa Capital Oy, Stora Enso Oyj, DuPont Inc. (Danisco Sweeteners), Ahlström Capital Oy, Kymenlaakson Osuuspankki, Sampo Oyj and Steveco Oy
Kari Komulainen, Director
+358 50 557 7842
kari.komulainen (at) businessfinland.fi
Ilkka Kylävainio, Managing Director
+358 40 037 5009
ilkka.kylavainio (at) keitelegroup.fi
David Lindström, Managing Director
Regional development company for Kotka-Hamina, Cursor
+358 40 190 2501
david.lindstrom (at) cursor.fi
Riikka Söderlund, Head of Brand Marketing
+358 50 5678 702
riikka.soderlund (at) smartly.io
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