Welcome to the President’s Report to the Finland Australia Chamber of Commerce (FACC) Annual General Meeting 2016!
Our guest of honour is Finland’s new Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Lars Backström, who joined in September 2016. The Chamber wishes him a successful start to his new mandate and we look forward to a good co-operation.
Membership Status and Sponsors
The Chamber Membership has increased since the last AGM in 2015. We are currently counting 50 members, compared to 41 in the previous period. The number of sponsors (10) decreased slightly compared to last year (12).
Member Activities in 2015/16
By tradition the Chamber participated in the annual Cruise with the Europeans on the 12th of November 2015, co-organized by various European Chambers. There were 28 FACC guests present at the spectacular 2-hour cruise, among over 600 representatives from the European business community in Sydney. The upcoming cruise is taking place on Thursday 10th of November and we look forward to seeing our members and friends there again!
FACC organised and hosted a Finnish Independence Day Reception in Melbourne on the 3rd of December 2015. Among over 100 guests were senior executives of Finnish subsidiaries in Australia, representatives of the Victorian Government, FACC members and friends as well as other members of the wider Finnish business community in Australia. Mr Pasi Patokallio, former Finnish Ambassador to Australia, addressed the gathering, along with a representative from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Cargotec/Kalmar our event sponsor.
It was a lively event with some guests staying on until 8:30pm before heading off to see Finnish ‘Kokko Quartet’ performing at Melbourne’s famous jazz club, Bennett’s Lane. There was generally a great appreciation from the Melbourne attendees. Again, we wish to thank our event sponsor, Cargotec/Kalmar, whose support was critical in making this event happen. The 2016 Independence Day reception will be held on 6 December, in Perth (Western Australia).
As in previous years, FACC supported EuroMix – European Business Networking luncheon events in Melbourne and Sydney. Two events, in Melbourne and Sydney, were organized by SwissCham and held on the 11th and 17th of February. The most recent one was held in Sydney on the 13th of October and organized by the Irish Australian Chamber.
The inaugural Nordic Open Golf Day was held at Moore Park Golf in Sydney on the 10th of June. It was organised jointly by chambers of commerce from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. There were 42 participants at this event and the Nordic Open trophy for team of the year went to Team Norway. The Chamber wishes to thank all those involved in organising the event from the various chambers as well as our sponsors Rapala, Fiskars, Thailand Golf Tours, Audi and Finnair.
The FACC hosted a Boardroom Briefing Event on the 16th of August in Melbourne. It was held at Telstra Corporation’s headquarters and the topic was ‘Reality check on Internet of Things: Technology, Security and Use Cases’. The guest speaker was Sami Mäkeläinen, currently in charge of technology foresight at Telstra Chief Technology Office. Sami shared his valuable insights on the IoT, its technology, security and use, with practical examples and cases. There were 20 attendees and the briefing was followed by questions from the audience and a lively discussion on the topic.
Visit by Finland’s Foreign Minister & Business Delegation
A Finnish Delegation made an official visit to Australia & New Zealand from the 28th of February to 5th of March 2016. Mr. Timo Soini, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Finland, was joined by a high-level business delegation of innovative Finnish companies visiting Canberra, Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne. The objective of Minister Soini’s visit was to highlight, in particular, Finland’s role as one of the most innovative economies in the world. The Finnish companies represented expertise and innovation in several industries, including telecommunications, waste management, logistics automation, defence and start-ups. Estonia´s Foreign Minister, Ms Marina Kaljurand, and the Estonian business delegation travelled jointly with Minister Soini and his delegation.
On the 29th of February, an Innovation Forum was held at the Finnish Embassy in Canberra for the Finnish delegation and ~100 invited guests. After the remarks by Foreign Ministers and a keynote address by the Assistant Minister for Innovation Hon Wyatt Roy MP, the seminar continued with interesting keynotes and panel discussions from several Australian, Finnish and Estonian companies.
On the 1st of March, the Minister met with officials from the NSW Government in Sydney and also attended a luncheon event with the European Australian Business Council (EABC).
Furthermore, the Governments of Finland & Estonia, in partnership with the NSW Department of Industry, hosted the Ministerial & Business Delegation Networking Event in Sydney on the 2nd of March. Just over 100 guests attended the morning event, which was addressed and moderated by Geoff Charnock, Honorary Secretary of the Chamber and Finland’s Honorary Consul in NSW. Along with the Finnish and Estonian Foreign Ministers, The Hon Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, addressed the meeting.
In Melbourne, there was an Innovation Seminar arranged by Swinburne University and an ‘Aussie BBQ’ networking event with the Finnish Community.
Visit by Finland’s Defence Minister
Finland’s Defence Minister Dr. Jussi Niinistö visited Canberra, Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne in March 2016, accompanied by a delegation of 9 Finnish businesses.
The Australia Defence Association arranged a Finland‐Australia Defence and Security Seminar in Canberra. The objective was to bring together the Captains of Defence Industry in both countries to discuss areas of mutual interest. Discussions were constructive for both countries and should result in considerable opportunities to enhance and strengthen the bilateral relationship, including on industry matters such as Defence engagement and materiel co‐operation.
The main events organized during this official visit had between 50 and 120 people attending. There were also around 20 separate business meetings arranged for the participants.
Team Finland Health-Tech Delegation
Six innovative Finnish health tech SMEs visited Australia from 9-13 May to learn firsthand what the region has to offer, to meet with local stakeholders and industry players, and to identify opportunities for collaboration. This visit was led by Antti Niemelä, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland, and acompanied by Angela Foley & Mirna Sarihodzic (Foley & Associates) as well as Juha Miikkulainen (Finpro’s Head of Region India & APAC).
The delegation visited both South Australia (Adelaide) and Queensland (Brisbane & Sunshine Coast) to showcase their expertise in the following areas: smart IT solutions to support mobile home care and service solutions; software to manage the nutritional intake of patients especially in aged care facilities; e-health and e-care solutions to support telehealth offerings; software to monitor service performance.
Positive feedback was received from all participating companies which have identified several points of mutually beneficial collaboration.
EABC Trade Delegation to Finland
Further to joint efforts by FACC, Finpro and the Finnish Embassy, successfully lobbying to include Finland as one of their destinations in 2016, the European Australian Business Councils (EABC) Business Mission travelled to Helsinki (30 June to 1 July 2016) as well as Brussels and Zurich. FACC would like to acknowledge Kalmar’s special contribution to the success of this activity. Among the delegates were a number of Australian senior business leaders.
Key FABC Activities in Finland
Finland Australia Business Council (FABC), the Finland Helsinki sister organization of the FACC, organized the ‘Business Opportunities in Australia, 2016 & Beyond’ webinar on the 16th of March. The webinar, hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, was broadcast via video link across Finland and included interesting presentations and active questions & discussions by the participants.
The Board of the FACC together with The Ambassador of the Republic of Finland in Australia, Mr Lars Backström, look forward to welcoming Chamber members and the wider Finnish community to the Independence Day Reception in Perth on the 6th of December 2016.
It is an invitation only event to celebrate the 99th anniversary of Finnish Independence. The event will be held at the Honorary Consulate General of Finland in Perth and attended by representatives of the Finnish Embassy, members of the wider Finnish business community in Australia, representatives of the Western Australian Government and industry sectors etc. All paid Chamber members will be receiving an invitation. We are delighted to have Wärtsilä as the exclusive sponsor of this year’s Independence Day event!
Farewell to Ambassador Pasi Patokallio
On the 11th of July, Chamber members attended a farewell dinner in Sydney in honour of the outgoing Ambassador Pasi Patokallio. We had the opportunity to thank Mr. Patokallio for his excellent work and cooperation over the previous four years and also wish him best of luck for the future.
Change of Board Members
Since the last AGM in October 2015, the Chamber has welcomed (3) three new members to the Board: Tim Purcell, Peter Vainio and Jarna Virtanen. We are very pleased to continue working with them in the forthcoming period.
Chamber is pleased to acknowledge the outstanding support received from the following sponsors in 2015/16, hoping we will continue our successful collaboration in coming years.
- KONE Elevators
- Stora Enso
Sydney, 27 October 2016