Expanding your business? Helsinki is your gateway to Europe

Thinking about international market expansion? Find out how Helsinki Partners welcomes business owners, executives and scaleups with incredible support.

7 min read

  • Helsinki Partners offers free programs to help you test the Finnish market including the Venture Nordics Program, Founders to Finland, and the 90 Day Finn Program.
  • The 90 Day Finn Program gives international executives the chance to spend 90 days living and working in the capital, with the option to shorten the experience to 30 days if needed.
  • The program includes relocation support, networking opportunities, direct introductions, matchmaking with local friends, company visits, and cultural activities.

Thinking about European expansion?

Helsinki is a gateway to Europe

Finland has a global reputation for innovation and one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe. It’s no wonder why Finland’s capital, Helsinki, has caught the attention of international corporations and scaleups—and Helsinki Partners welcomes newcomers with incredible support.

Helsinki Partners matches people with possibilities

Helsinki is known for its collaborative business networks, promising venture capital infrastructure and culture of approachability. Wanting to attract international business, city-owned Helsinki Partners helps investors and corporations thrive. How do we do it? By matching people with possibilities.

We help international executives get the best start with hands-on consultancy and soft landing services. Think practical advice on how to expand your business to Finland, direct introductions to some of the brightest minds in the city, and immersive programs such as Venture Nordics, Founders to Finland and the 90 Day Finn Program.

90 Day Finns experience the best of Helsinki

One of the ways Helsinki attracts global innovators is through the 90 Day Finn Program. The program gives top executives the chance to spend 90 days living and working in the capital, with the option to shorten the experience to 30 days if needed. From business visits to networking opportunities and family-friendly leisure events, the 90 Day Finn Program is a highly polished curation of our services at Helsinki Partners. While these services are available individually, there’s an added benefit when a group can experience them together—and 90 Day Finns think so too. 

It’s an amazing experience for somebody with an open mind to meeting other global citizens with an innovative approach to life. It brings a group of change-makers together, creating a multiplier effect

Amelia Schaffner, strategy and innovation partner at Lexicon Strategies and 90 Day Finn 2023

“It creates opportunities organically. Professional opportunities have spontaneously arisen within my cohort. I am now an advisor for a fellow 90 Day Finn, and I’ve asked another to be my professional business mentor. By connecting with the 2023 cohort this year, I’ve had the opportunity to pitch as a side event at Slush through one of the 2023 participants”, says George Tang,  founder of Thought/Form Labs and 90 Day Finn 2022.

How does Helsinki Partners match people with possibilities?

Networking

Business in Finland is very open and collaborative, and our experts at Helsinki Partners offer opportunities designed to help you make the most out of it. These connections are invaluable for large corporations considering European expansion.  “Helsinki Partners is the golden ticket for making connections. Instead of searching and asking people, you ask Helsinki Partners, and they connect you to the right person”, says Boutros Lama, CEO of STARBOX and 90 Day Finn 2023. 

Networking opportunities come in many forms—from organised events to direct introductions:

Events

Through organised networking events, our experts at Helsinki Partners connect investors, executives, and business owners with Helsinki’s top influencers. Events like those held at Maria01, the Nordic’s leading startup campus for VC investors and founders, earn high acclaim among 90 Day Finns. 

“My favourite event was the networking event at Maria 01 because it gave me the opportunity to meet a large number of people outside of my potential network”, says Tanya Khanijow, CEO of The Travelling Souk and 90 Day Finn 2023.

Direct introductions 

Ecosystem knowledge is everything. At Helsinki Partners, we have our own Business Intelligence Unit that can provide you with industry-specific data to support international market expansion. We can also introduce you to the right people, from government officials and business owners to research and development institutions. For example, 90 Day Finns get access to a personal business advisor who helps them navigate business in Finland and arrange direct appointments with relevant connections.

“Maria, my Helsinki Partners Business Advisor, was exceptional – she’s a business development Jedi! Before I arrived in Helsinki, we had already identified the best startup ecosystem, investor and fintech contacts for me to meet, so I was well-prepped. Maria made introductions and then we met every two weeks to track progress. She also got me invites to some pretty special events, like the Fintech Farm Summer Party hosted by the Bank of Finland”, says Caroline Hughes, CEO of Lifetise and 90 Day Finn 2023.

“Direct appointments with Helsinki-based organisations were great. The information and connection could get deeper when we met in person”, says Masahiro Kunieda, business innovation lead at Moon Creative Lab and 90 Day Finn 2023.  

If we need something or have a question, we ask our friends in Helsinki Partners, and they make an introduction

Ladi Carr, Global Director of the
University of Virginia Darden School of Business Executive MBA Program and 90 Day Finn 2021

Matchmaking with ‘Local Friends’

Local Friends are well-networked experts who are your friendly point of contact in the city. They offer valuable industry insights, give advice and open doors socially and professionally. Unlike business advisors, a Local Friend provides informal support to help you feel more connected and at home in the city.

“It was so good to have a Local Friend who could give me the inside scoop on Helsinki. Laura was a great match. On the day we met, we were both wearing almost identical neon multicoloured sneakers. It was fate! Laura’s a leader in creating 3D immersive worlds, so it’s the perfect blend of tech and creative. She’s also really good fun. In addition to spending time together at the events organised by Helsinki Partners, Laura also very kindly took me to her yoga studio and we did a class together”, says Caroline Hughes, CEO of Lifetise and 90 Day Finn 2023.

Business visits

Matching people with possibilities isn’t just about making connections; it’s also about sparking ideas. 90 Day Finns get access to Finland’s top companies through organised business visits designed to exchange knowledge. This year’s participants met with leaders from IQM, a quantum computing hardware company, Sulapac, a plastic alternative materials company and KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, to share industry insights and network with top ecosystem players. 

“KONE was the best kind of company visit because it included a real demo of the business, inspiring cases of the company’s innovation, welcoming people and warm hospitality”, says Amelia Schaffner, strategy and innovation partner at Lexicon Strategies and 90 Day Finn 2023.

While 90 Day Finns get special access to Finland’s top companies, our experts at Helsinki Partners offer customised experiences individually too.  Whether you’re a business owner, scaleup or multinational corporation, find out how we can help you grow your business internationally.

Cultural activities

Helsinkians enjoy the best work-life balance in the world. What does that mean in practice? 90 Day Finns get to find out. Think forest walks, sauna experiences and Finnish language lessons. Participants enjoy family-friendly culture, leisure events and experiences to sample the Helsinki way of life.

“Lonna Sauna was just mind-blowing. It helped me understand the beauty and tradition of sauna culture in Finland. It opened my eyes to a different way of living in a different country that immediately made sense. Plus, the island’s location and taking the boat there… Island trips are an important part of Helsinki living”, says Alice Lloyd, independent audio executive producer and 90 Day Finn 2023.

“The rain walk in the woods in Nuuksio…the full immersion in a Finnish forest with outstanding guides was a highlight for me”, says Amelia Schaffner, strategy and innovation partner at Lexicon Strategies and 90 Day Finn 2023.

I realised what makes Finland and Helsinki so happy and sustainable. I strongly recommend Japanese entrepreneurs to participate in this flagship initiative if they are serious about relocating to Helsinki

Yusuke Matsuo, an official of the Fukuoka City Government and 90 Day Finn 2023

Open new doors and investments 

Helsinki offers alluring opportunities for startups and scaleups, as well as multinational corporations. From information on tax benefits and accessible funding for large companies to matchmaking with local and foreign investors, our experts at Helsinki Partners help you make the most of what’s on offer. With ample networking and business support, the 90 Day Finn Program presents a unique opportunity for established companies and founders alike. 

Jessica Mendoza is a great example. She was selected to compete at Slush 100 in 2023 — the most coveted startup competition in the world. Jessica is a tech entrepreneur, Forbes contributor and 90 Day Finn who founded Monadd, a home bill management software that helps users manage their bills. Her company, Monadd, was selected out of 1000+ companies, progressing to the top 20 in November 2023  with the chance of winning a significant €1,000,000 in investment. 

“Being a 90 Day Finn provided me with a clear picture of the tech ecosystem in Finland. Some key conferences were highlighted to me, and while I had heard of Slush, I had never participated in or engaged with it until now. Now my startup is one of the top 20 startups that got selected for SLUSH, and I would not have considered the competition if it wasn’t for having new awareness about it from the 90 Day Finn program ”, says Jessica Mendoza, founder of Monadd and 90 Day Finn 2023.

Get access to a growing network of opportunities

Once a Helsinkian, always a Helsinkian. The city’s doors are always open and ready to welcome business owners and executives worldwide. 90 Day Finns are invited back to the city each year to connect with people from different cohorts and explore a growing community. Travelling from near and far, 90 Day Finn alums reunite with familiar faces and meet new ones to explore ideas and business opportunities. Now in its 3rd year, with 40 alums from over 14 countries worldwide, the 90 Day Finn alumni is a gift that keeps giving. 

“It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and to make some new ones…the 90DF is an excellent initiative, and the reunion served as a way to extend its impact and reach”, says a 90 Day Finn about the Alumni Reunion in Helsinki in 2023.

Are you considering business expansion in Europe?

Thanks to ample government support, enticing tax benefits in Finland and a city brimming with top talent, Helsinki is an attractive gateway to the rest of Europe and an ideal place for companies considering international market expansion.

Curious? Get in touch to access free 1-2-1 consultancy, business advice, matchmaking services and more. 

Apply to become a 90 Day Finn

The 90 Day Finn Program is an initiative from Helsinki Partners. Participants get to experience everything Helsinki offers over 90 days, fostering long-lasting synergies and joining an exclusive network of growing alumns.

Learn more about the 90 Day Finn Program

Experience the Helsinki business ecosystem like a local. Immerse yourself in the world’s happiest country and experience a unique blend of professional growth and personal fulfilment. 

Group photo of the 90 Finn cohort of 2023, their families, and Helsinki Partners staff

Contact Helsinki Partners

If you are interested in learning more about Helsinki and its possibilities – please contact us via the form here. We’ll make sure to get back to you within a few working days.

Juhana Hurtig