Tampere Ambassador: Silva Paananen

Where are you from?

My name is Silva Paananen, born in Helsinki, did my schooling in Oulu and moved to Tampere for my higher education. At the moment, I have two homes, one in Helsinki and one in New Delhi, India.

What would you like to tell about yourself?

I am a seasoned internationalisation consultant. I have worked with and for Finnish companies of different lines of industries and supported their market entries in several continents. A Finn at heart, but able to make home where I am and always happy to return to Finland, in particular for summer time.

What makes Tampere special for you?

I moved to Tampere after a gap year in Italy, to start my studies at the Language Institute which a few years later was made part of Tampere University. I found immediately Tampere such a vibrant and hospitable city and felt at home there. Six years spent there were meaningful in so many ways: studies, strong bonds with new friends, starting a family and my professional career. Leaving Tampere behind for better job opportunities was tough and it took time to readjust in Helsinki was not easy.

Tell about your professional activities?

I have come a long and not-so-linear way to become a business development professional. My background in languages and translation studies gave a good foundation for going international. Early on I landed in doing business and foreign trade and worked with several companies. I joined Finpro in 2000 and my first posting was in Milan, Italy. Later I worked several years at Finpro Helsinki until 2008 when I was posted in Chennai, South-India as head of Finpro trade centre. Incredible India was a destination which I never had even long-listed in my mind, but here I am, more than 8 years later still in India. After Finpro posting, I started my own business development company Kasvu Consulting in New Delhi exactly five years ago. I support foreign companies, mainly Finnish ones, in their market entries to India.

What is your involvement in international activities?

That is what I do for work - identifying business opportunities in India, promoting India as a market place and R&D partner for Finnish industries and stakeholders. Currently, I also work as India Partner for Tekes, supporting the R&D and Innovation collaboration between India and Finland.

What is your mission as a Tampere - All Bright! Ambassador?

I have a soft spot for Tampere, so I will be happy to promote Tampere as investment destination and to help companies from Tampere to find business opportunities in India.

What potential do you see for Tampere in the future?

I believe Tampere has a bright future. I am thrilled to see how the entire Tampere region is working together to promote the region and make it a better place to live and work. I am in particular impressed by the way Paulina Ahokas has made Tampere Talo an amazing, world-class establishment - which is very good for branding Tampere also business-wise.

Photo: Silva Paananen