Laurea helps small companies from Uusimaa region going global
Laurea’s digital experts and students in cooperation with international talents help local SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) expand their business internationally
Expand2eBusiness (Kansainväliseen kasvuun digitaalisin työkaluin) is a project that focuses on e-business from the perspective of sales and marketing. The goal of this initiative is to support SME enterprises to rich international markets. Experts from Laurea are leading the project in collaboration with Uudenmaan yrittäjät, YritysEspoo and YritysVantaa. European Regional Development Fund and Uusimaa Region (Uudenmaan liitto) fund the project that started in 2018 and will be continued until February 2020.
“We want to help SME enterprises to enter international markets. It is important for them, because Finland is a small country and if they want to grow, they have to reach other markets. During the two years of the project, we will offer several seminars and workshops that focus on internationalization and digital tools as well as digital channels”, says Merja Iiskola, project manager from Laurea.
Many of the SMEs don’t know how to start, they don’t know the digital tools and channels, and they don’t know the foreign markets. Therefore, they need support in creating a website or an online shop, in developing content strategy, web analytics and social media, to mention few areas.
“This is why we invite to our project international talents, who have those skills and knowledge already. For them taking part in this project is a great opportunity for networking and gaining new experience in Finland”, says Iisola.
The Expand2eBusiness project is also addressed to Laurea’s students. By doing a real life project for a company, they gain knowledge and learn new skills. They can apply the theory into practice. Digital experts from Laurea guide the students.
All SME from Uusimaa area (Helsinki Region) and the international talents are welcome to the seminars and workshops. They can increase and deepen their knowledge in the most used digital tools in sales, marketing, and e-commerce. “Our seminars are also a perfect opportunity to network with enterprises and international talents. They have been very popular so far”, says Merja Iiskola.
Marketing with magic tricks
Many of the participating companies have already completed a project based on their special needs. One of them is Bisnestaikurit. The company uses magic tricks in the marketing and sales process; they work mainly on fairs and trade shows, bringing together potential customers. Beside of entertainment that magic tricks bring, there is a psychological process involved as well: what kind of memories it leaves, what kind of emotions it brings.
Reijo Mylläri and Juha Laurila, the company’s owners were interested in Laurea’s project because they try to expand into European markets. “We needed help on how to do this efficiently. We needed some advice on where to start, to figure out competitors, how they work, what kind of social media they use”, says Mylläri.
For Mylläri and Laurila the greatest challenge in going international is time. In addition, how to find the right people and what channels to use to reach them.
From Laurea they got a students’ team and a supervisor. The team included second year Business and Security Management students from Digital Living Lab. Asko Mononen, Laurea’s senior lecturer, guided them.
During the first meeting, Mylläri and Laurila showed the students one of their business magic tricks to present, what the company is doing. They also told about their needs. Based on that the students have found three other companies doing similar business and they checked what kind of marketing tools they are using. They also found out what European country has the greatest potential for them.
“Thanks to Laurea now we have those ideas where to expand first. They helped us to find companies, which could be our potential customers. In our business the most important part are the personal meetings, we try to build networks people to people. Quite important for us is also LinkedIn and we are going to focus on that”, says Mylläri.
“We would recommend cooperating with Laurea to other businesses, because it was a very good experience. The students were independent, the meetings we had together were very efficient. It was time saving and not time consuming. We can give good credits to Laurea”, adds Laurila.