MENA and me – how to find business and with whom?

Outlook MENA, the latest event in the Bright Business Lunch series, was organized in Tampere on 2nd June. The event is aimed to inform its attendees about the business opportunities in its target country – this time in the Middle East and North Africa. Outlook Business Lunches are organised by Tredea.

Another point of the event is to bring together Finnish companies, who have the interest, with international talents, who reside in the Tampere region - this is one of the key themes of Talent Tampere network, coordinated by Tredea.

Besides these, the event covers topics such as information about the target country and its business culture. Thanks to the speakers with recent hands-on experience, fresh insights will satisfy even the more knowledgeable attendees.

The main speaker of the event was Nina Eriksson, Managing Director at Exigo Finland. Eriksson lives half of the time in Dubai, focusing on cleantech and helping SME’s with internationalization. The MENA region has potential; the region consists of 21 countries with over 400 million inhabitants, more than half of them under 25 years old.

The business opportunities of the MENA region haven’t gone unnoticed by the guests Maarit Heikkilä and Rauli Tuominen. They work for Optolevel, a company providing e.g. level surveillance systems for tank trucks. ”We are here on the lookout for competitive advantages for our products”, Heikkilä elaborated.

Mervi Alho, Sales Representative at Wulff Entre, is pretty familiar with the target region, too. “I look forward to hearing the latest news from the MENA region. We are going to Dubai in November, to attend the largest construction event in the Middle East.”

”We are going to The Big 5 exhibition in Dubai in November”, Mervi Alho shares her future plans.

Some of the attending companies have only recently become interested – and started to look for growth – in the MENA region. Kari Kulju, Geneset Powerplants, expressed his plans clearly: ”We are looking for partners, importers or distributors.”

One of the most potential fields in the Finnish export business is health technology. The company case of Lojer, a manufacturer of advanced healthcare equipment, was presented at the event. According to Pekka Koski, Director of Export Sales, doing business in the Middle East can be successful. You only need to stay patient and look for the right partners. Complying with export licenses and regulations may be tough sledding at times, though. Luckily, there’s always help available from the Finnish ELY centres or Finnvera.

Let’s assume that North-Africa or the Middle East pique your interest, but the required networks are missing. How to proceed? Marjukka Hourunranta, from Talent Tampere, shared some statistics and facts, such as the number of Arabic-speakers living in the Tampere region. She encouraged everybody to utilize the resources on the site talenttampere.fi as well as their LinkedIn group.

Last thing, it was time to let a handful of talents and companies do some pitching. One of the talents, Amine Khelia, was pleased with the day’s outcome: ”I was hoping to meet people face-to-face and collect contact information for possible further meetings. My pitch woke the interest of one company representative already.”

Talent Amine Khelia was actively looking for company contacts. He also pitched at the event.

The event materials can be found here: http://talenttampere.fi/companies/outlook-mena-event-materials

Have a look also on the attached MENA Talent booklet!

MENA Talent booklet.pdf