FBCC Member Series: Saari Ltd.

This interview is a part of the FBCC member series. This time we interviewed Nikke Österback, the founder of our Corporate Member Saari Ltd. 

Saari Ltd is a London-based strategic digital marketing and communications agency. Their services include marketing, advertising, partnerships, social media, digital transformation consultation, and strategic consulting. Other Saari projects relate to brand building, design, and development. Additionally, related legal consulting for digital law and contract services. Saari clients are from all over the world and different sectors. Their amazing client projects are visible on their website, click here to read more.

The name Saari (Finnish for ‘island’) is derived from being “stuck on an island”, the UK being an island culture and for Nikke’s first job in the UK at Island records. Bob Marley’s Survival, which was released by Island Records is the first record he remembers picking up and listening to!

When asked about their company’s culture, Österback describes it as very entrepreneurial and focused on problem-solving. One of our biggest strengths is that we are multicultural and multilingual. ‘This enables Saari to help our customers with a genuine approach that competitors in our class can’t match’.

For Saari Ltd, Covid 19 had little impact with exciting projects being delivered for Finnish and other international clients. Current good examples include strategic work for the largest Nordic hockey brand Tackla and strategic content marketing work for Genelec an awarded Finnish speaker manufacturer. “They are a fantastic team and nice people. They (Genelec) are a good example of a company that just make it work” says Österback.

Like most agencies in South England, everyone at Saari Ltd is currently working from home. For Mr. Österback this has helped combine work and family better than before Covid 19 restrictions started. All in all: ‘the negative impact is minimal since our clients expect us to deliver work online’ … ‘but sales work did suffer because we can’t meet people face-to-face or travel’. Luckily this has not been a big problem since past sales work was already helping grow Saari before the pandemic.

Österback mentions that his number one tip for working from home is to get up early to get ahead of the game to ‘clear the decks’. He also mentions that they can benefit from the time differences between countries, by for example starting an online meeting with their Finnish clients already at 7 in the morning UK time and to be able to wrap up later in the evening with clients from the US west coast. You can work more!

The biggest benefit of being part of the FBCC for Saari Ltd has been the networking and visibility that it provides.

 

FBCC Member Series: Page White and Farrer

This interview is part of our new FBCC Member Series, where we introduce our member companies to the network. This time we interviewed JP Ruuskanen, a Patent Attorney & Partner at our Corporate Member company Page White and Farrer.

Page White and Farrer is an international firm of patent and trademark attorneys. They help their clients in almost all matters related to intellectual property (IP). The company has offices in England and Germany, but they also handle IP matters through associates in over 100 countries all over the world. The company is over 100 years old and it got its final name in 1937 from previous partners John Oswald Farrer, Charles Melbourne White, and Sidney Elliot Page.

Ruuskanen describes the company’s culture as relaxed and the hierarchy very flat. Everyone in known by their first name. People really enjoy working for the company and many of the employees have been working for the company for over 30 years. This creates a sense of continuity.

At the moment one of the main focuses is Brexit. In 2017 they set up another office in Germany, and one of their current goals is to grow their office there. After the Brexit transition period, some of their functions will move completely to Germany because of regulatory reasons.

For Page White and Farrer, the transition to working from the office to home has been smooth. Even before the pandemic, some employees were working from home some days a week. Additionally, a couple of years ago they went completely paper-free. Ruuskanen says that the hardest part of the pandemic has been not having face-to-face meetings with their clients and some projects would really benefit from that. The business travel has of course all stopped. Before the pandemic, Ruuskanen frequently traveled abroad and within the UK.

When talking about remote working Ruuskanen mentions that his number one tip for working from home is to make sure that you spend time outside. Go for a bike ride or a walk before work. You could also go out during your lunch break. Additionally, technology can sometimes let us down, hence you should always have something you can do if your IT does not work.

The biggest benefit of being part of the FBCC for Page White and Farrer is the networking that it can provide. Being part of the FBCC is an important networking channel among others, and this was especially important when moving to the UK. They enjoy meeting people at the events and have even found long-term acquaintances from there. They feel like networking has brought them a business advantage.

We warmly welcome our new Corporate Member Sipila Consulting!

We are proud to introduce our new Corporate Member Sipila Consulting!

Sipila Consulting is a boutique consultancy firm that is focused not just on strategy but on actionable strategy. The company was established for the passion of growth and for the love of building collaborations by Maria Sipila, former Nokia executive and a startup coach. Sipila Consulting helps your company or organization to build global brands in the world of new kinds of marketing where collaborations and agile marketing tools are used. We work directly with your brand or between you and your agency bringing clarity and visual attractiveness in the complex world of marketing. We love to work with new concepts and innovations that need to be launched to the world but have experience in established business as well. Our broad network especially in the Helsinki capital region, London, New York, San Francisco area, Germany and APAC markets makes it possible for your brand to get a quick start and build international collaborations. Whether you are launching a new brand or need strategic advice, Sipila Consulting can help you. Maria is not working alone because Sipila Consulting uses subcontractors as needed and works with the best partners. Sipila Consulting provides personal and confidential professional services for all kinds of companies small and large as well as private and public organizations including NGO’s, municipalities and schools. Because we know how important it is to have joy in learning, we offer ideas to bring you forward in education success. Our work is based on Finnish education principles to inspire learning and wellbeing.

FBCC Patron F-Secure is recruiting!

FBCC Patron Member F-secure is recruiting for several open positions for their London office. The roles they are looking to fill are:

Nobody knows cyber security like F-secure. For three decades, F-secure has driven innovations in cyber security, defending tens of thousands of companies and millions of people.

With unsurpassed experience in endpoint protection as well as detection and response, F-secure shields enterprises and consumers against everything from advanced cyber-attacks and data breaches to widespread ransomware infections.

Find out more about the open positions on their website.

FBCC Member Series: Finnmark

Jake Newport & Max Newport

This interview is part of the FBCC Member Series, where we introduce our member companies to the Network. This time we interviewed Jake Newport, the Managing Director at our Corporate Member Company Finnmark Ltd.

Finnmark specialises in authentic Finnish sauna installations and sticks rigidly to Finnish building regulations when it comes to their construction. Unfortunately, there are no UK building regulations regarding their construction and it means many British people have only experienced poor appropriations of the real deal. “Authenticity is perhaps the most important thing for us, and we see it as our mission to help educate people about all of the ways proper Finnish saunas can help improve their lives. We hope to enable as many people as possible to enjoy an experience that has given us so much pleasure”, says Jake Newport.

The name “Finnmark” is a bit of a play on words and a double entendre. “We only deal with Finnish key flag products, so the ‘mark’ is intended to signify a quality mark, authenticity, and a brand standard. The actual geographical area of Finnmark in the region is a cold place to live which helps to accentuate the warmth of their saunas.”

At Finnmark, everyone is open-minded and pulling in the same direction. “We have a flat company structure so everyone feels valued, respected, and can openly contribute to the development of the business.”

“Right now, we are building our marketing and communications team with some key appointments including a videographer who will help us build our brand further. We have more installs coming up for well-known TV personalities and celebrities which always gives us a lift here in the office! We recently moved into a larger warehouse HQ to meet demand and are already close to outgrowing it and have plans to expand next year so it’s exciting times for the business.”

When it comes to the current pandemic, Finnmark has managed to weather the storm and in fact, they have been able to pivot a little and service more of the DIY market. “It seems a number of people are taking on rather large projects at the moment and we have been on hand with materials, advice, and guidance to make sure they carry out the work properly. Also, our luxury bespoke installation pipeline is very full. With health spas closing and not offering sauna options until very recently we have found that many of our clients are keen to create their own wellness areas at home. We have had to adjust to some of our staff working remotely but it has not been a major headache.”

Mr Newport’s number one tip for working from home is trying to maintain regular hours, setting the working schedule, and sticking to it. “It is important”, he says.

Being part of the FBCC community has delivered value for Finnmark. “It is a great way for people to find out about our company ethos and there are regular business events. It also gives us access to the Nordic community here in the UK and we have made some very valued connections since joining.”

FBCC Member Series: Europartnerships

This interview is a part of FBCC member series and was conducted with Mark Dodsworth, who is the Founding Partner, Owner, and the Managing Director of Europartnerships Ltd. 

Europartnerships primarily specializes in supporting the internationalization of SMEs. Most of their clients are SMEs looking to enter new markets, frequently the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Their key service is to find partners for businesses, for example, sales representatives suchi as agents, distributors, resellers, and end clients or potential strategic alliancesEuropartnerships also works for larger companies to organize events, for example, product presentations and awareness-raising events. The company is highly experienced and in fact, they have just had their 20th anniversaryin September 2020.  

There is a story behind the company name. Originally, when Europartnerships was founded in 2000, they were working exclusively within Europe so attaching “euro” to the company name was quite easy and obvious. The partnerships” part comes from the nature of the business, which is about researching and arranging business partnerships across international frontiers. There were companies with similar names but none with the exact name “Europartnerships”, so the founders of the company quickly registered the name and have had it ever since.  

There are three key things in the company culture from Mark Dodsworth’s point of view. Firstly, the company is quite female-oriented as out of 9 workers, 7 are females. The co-founder of the company was also a woman. Secondly, the company culture is very flat. Even though Mark is the sole shareholder and owner of the company, he thinks that it is all about team effort and it is very important to listen very carefully to the thoughts and opinions of his colleagues. Thirdly, Europartnerships is a multi-cultural company. They have team members from Colombia, Spain, The Netherlands and Germany. In addition, Mark himself is half British and half American so the company is not a typical UK company in this respect.  

Mark says it would be lovely to have something big happening in the near future but, as a result of the current situation, all the big things are unfortunately on stand-by at the moment.  

Europartnerships has some events coming up for whenever it is possible and safe to organize them again. They are planning for instance to organise events for a Finnish company called Solibri at the Finnish Embassies in London and Berlin. Europartnerships also hopes to deliver another event in London, for a Finnish company, VTT. Additionally, Europartnerships has developed a partnership with a consultant in South America. With this partner, Europartneships has obtained a series of sales meetings with tech companies in Costa Rica, Argentina, and Colombia. This is one of the new opportunities that arose during the lockdown and normally they would have not expected to be working there.  

The pandemic has not affected the day to day life at Europartnerships that much. To some degree, their employees were already working remotely before the pandemic, because all their clients are non-British and are based in other countries. Previously, the clients used to travel to the UK for events and meetings, but now all the communication is of course happening online. The company is not using their office at the moment as it is partly closed, and everyone is working from home.  

The biggest difference for Mark is that he is not traveling at all. Normally he would go to Norway, Finland, or Germany at least once a year, but now it is not possible to even plan future travels. Now the only travel, and therefore the big excitement for him, is to be able to travel to London. He comes from his home in Bristol to meetings and has managed to get to London three times since March.  

Mark’s number one tip for working from home is to avoid spending too long a time in front of the screen. If you are lucky enough to live near nature, go for a run or a cycle. Keeping healthy is very important – this includes eating well and keeping your mind active. Do not let the lockdown get you down. Another key is to communicate with people. Most of the time it has to be online via Zoom or similar technology but if you can meet people physically in a safe way and if it is at all possible, you should do that.  

The biggest benefits of being part of the FBCC for Europartnerships are of course networking and making those business connections, as well as other opportunities they get from the FBCC, such as business referrals. Mark points out they have been very pleased to have been able to work with other prominent FBCC members, such as Outokumpu and Digitalist Group. 

Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce

The FBCC is an independent, non-profit organisation, recognized throughout the Finnish, British and international business communities. The Chamber offers four different membership categories: Patron, Corporate, Professional and Young Professional.