Why Helsinki is the perfect place for a Smart City Company

In 2021, Jaime Alvarez got a chance to experience the happiest country in the world. He liked it so much that he decided to stay in Helsinki and start a business.

3 min read

Carmen Nguyen

Join a network of change-makers

When Jaime Alvarez and his family arrived in Finland for the 90 Day Finn programme, his four-year-old daughter was suspicious.“Daddy, where are we?” she asked.“We’ve landed in Helsinki,” Jaime replied. The story of the Alvarez family’s journey to Finland, and their experience participating in the 90 Day Finn programme, is a testament to the opportunities available for those seeking to build a better future.

Building a better future

Jaime calls himself an “Anticipation Specialist” and helps companies and governments understand how to plan for the future. When his business partner Andro Lindsay told him about the 90 Day Finn programme, he saw the perfect opportunity to bring his expertise to the world of sustainable and smart cities. With the support of Helsinki Partners, Business Finland, and other specialists, Jaime, Andro, and their business partner Alberto Scherb registered their company, 100 Thousand Million, and set about building a better future in the heart of Finland.

Finland is a leader when it comes to sustainable smart cities. Technology is very important, but although Finland is a global leader in many technologies, what sets Finland apart is the governance of cities. Neighbourhoods are diverse, not segregated. Municipalities encourage the participation of citizens in decision-making.

Jaime Alvarez – 90 Day Finn Programme 2021

A World-Renowned Education System and Cultural Diversity

Jaime’s wife Leonor Menares, a teacher, was eager to participate in Finland’s world-renowned education system. And with their young children, aged four and six, ready for any adventure, the family was eager to start their new life in Finland. “We wanted to move when the kids are younger,” Jaime explains. “We want them to grow up as global citizens, learning different languages and experiencing life in different cultures.

Why Helsinki is the Perfect Place for a Smart City Company

Finland has the right identity around the world for our company. If we were based in a big country people might be unsure of our intentions. But Finland has an identity of trustworthiness all over the world. Identity is crucial for our vision.

Jaime Alvarez – 90 Day Finn Programme 2021

Jaime, Andro, and Alberto believed that Helsinki was the perfect place to base their company, and their experience has only confirmed that belief. “Finland is a leader when it comes to sustainable smart cities,” Jaime says. “What sets Finland apart is the governance of cities. Neighbourhoods are diverse, not segregated, and municipalities encourage the participation of citizens in decision-making.”

Finns also have a reputation around the world of being quiet and humble. They might have good ideas, so the stereotype goes, but Finns are no good at selling those ideas abroad. Is this a weakness or a strength? “On the contrary, Finnish humbleness is a strength!” Jaime exclaims. “You don’t have to cut through bullshit when you talk to a Finn. Finns are honest and if they say something, they mean it. Finnish humbleness is an unexploited asset.”

Join the 90 Day Finn Programme and Build a Better Future

Jaime and his family were open to the possibility of moving permanently to Helsinki even before they arrived, but things went so well their decision to stay was easy to make. They are now embracing life in Helsinki. Leonor Menares enrolled in an intensive Finnish-language course. Jaime participated in the Slush conference to meet potential impact-focused investors for 100 Thousand Million. His two kids are enrolled in kindergarten and fitting in well.

The story of Jaime and his family is just one example of the many opportunities available to those who participate in the 90 Day Finn programme. If you’re interested in building a sustainable and smart future, in a place that values diversity and citizen participation, then the 90 Day Finn programme is for you. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this amazing opportunity. Apply for the 90 Day Finn Programme before February 24th, 2023.

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

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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