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In March, the international SME2GO project enabled – in cooperation with Vesterås Science Park – a networking trip for SMEs to the Food Valley in the Shandong province in China and to Rizhao National Forest Park.

This trip was for Finnish and Swedish companies that implement smart city technologies related to the SME2GO project. The aim was to provide the SMEs with deeper understanding of the provinces and towns outside the proper megacities and of the challenges and opportunities these regions present by meeting with local decision-makers and businesses. A total of six companies took part in the trip.

The biggest offering for the SMEs was to form an idea of the possibilities and challenges China offers, and to meet some decision-makers and company representatives in person. We believe the fresh Chinese connections will come in handy once the companies launch export activities in China.

We travelled in China for five days, and became acquainted with the Weifang city officials as well as with the development project of Food Valley, while also learning about the Weifang High-Tech Zone. The vast, 120-square-kilometres Food Valley offers opportunities also to Finnish companies in the food industry and in cleantech technologies. Of the companies in the High-Tech area, many deliver components and products to international brands such as Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, and LG.

One of the stops we made was in the city of Zhucheng to meet with a subcontractor manufacturing chairs for Ikea, and one company in our travelling party signed a cooperation agreement with them. In Rizhao, we met with the city’s leaders and people in charge of its development. The city of Rizhao is eager to seek shared development targets, and they show an interest in, among others, waste water treatment in the Nordic countries and the construction of wooden houses. Some of the companies found local counterparts for further discussions.

Posintra Oy and Västerås Science Park, who represented the delegation’s companies, received certificates of honour for their contribution to cooperative activities between the project’s companies and the cities of Weifang and Rizhao. The host organisations will be receiving more detailed information regarding the Finnish companies that are deemed suitable for the needs discovered during the trip.

The international SME2Go project promotes the competitiveness of the Finnish, Swedish, and Estonian SMEs who concentrate on smart city solutions by improving their readiness and know-how related to entering new markets. The smart city solutions are often high technology solutions, and may come from new, emergent areas. The target market for this is mainly in third countries outside the EU.

For more information, please contact: Matti Herlevi, Posintra Oy, matti.herlevi@posintra.fi, tel. +358 40 543 8349