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Sitra starts Russia programme

The sub-divisions of the programme are strategy, forum and integration


The sub-divisions of the programme are strategy, forum and integration Press release 20 December 2004 Russia’s rapid economic growth and political stabilisation since 1998, its clearly lower price levels than Finland and expanding internal markets offer Finnish companies a new and historic opportunity to extend their business to Russia. Russia also offers them an alternative way to increase their competitiveness on global markets and provides new strategies for growth and great­er profitability. It is with all this in mind that Sitra now sets in motion its Russia programme. The aim of the programme is to create a broader frame of reference for cooperation between the Russian and Finnish economies and for the establishment of a Finnish Russia strategy in cooperation with Finnish com­panies operating in Russia and by listening to Russian counterparts. Other goals of the pro­gramme in­clude opening a forum for high-level interaction between industrial and civil bodies in Fin­land and Russia. The programme also aims to lower the barrier that at present exists, especially for Finnish small and medium-sized enterprises, to setting up business in Russia and help them to integrate into Russian markets. The three sub-divisions of the programme form the basic structure of the programme for the years 2005-2007. The purpose of the first sub-division is to formulate a Russia strategy for Finnish commercial and economic cooperation. This will be done with representatives from all sectors of business. Finnish experts on Russia will examine the current situation between the two countries with respect to trade, investment and other forms of economic cooperation, and draw up strategic guidelines and scenarios for the future. In doing so, they will take into account the risks, threats and opportunities involved and listen to the opinions of their Russian colleagues. The forum section of the programme will attempt to achieve an open, unofficial dialogue between influential persons and bodies from high levels of industry and society. The aim is to consider what issues are of central interest to both countries and what can be done to promote these interests. Participants in the forum will be invited from the highest levels of Finnish and Russian business. The integration part of the programme has been set up to create new opportunities for Finnish companies to operate and network in Russia. It will also aid them in integrating into Russian markets, whether on their own or in joint ventures in business or science parks or by acquiring sub-contractors that can supply products and components or services. Out of a total of some 130 applicants Sitra has selected approximately 80 Finnish companies from different branches to take part in the programme. Five main clusters have been set up according to the aims and needs of the companies taking part in the programme. For the programme to succeed and achieve its goals Sitra will carry out the programme in cooperation with Finnish and Russian authorities, ministries, and other partners and actors with long experience of trading and doing business with Russia. Further information: Maaret Heiskari,, phone +358-50-431 1650 Background information about Sitra’s earlier projects concerning Russia Sitra began a project for the transfer of technology with the Soviet Union in 1989. To this end Sitra set up a joint venture Sitrans Oy in 1991. At the same time Sitra took part in the so-called arms industry conversion project by seeking out sub-contractors for Finnish industry. One of the results of these two projects was Russia’s first venture-capital fund, which started operating in 1995. Sitra played an active part in the Russian Technology Fund (US$ 10 million). A second fund, Norum 1 (US$ 88million), of which Sitra was a co-founder, began the same year. At the end of the 90’s Sitra organised courses on Russia for Finnish and foreign journalists and in 2001 and 2002 held three Russian Future-Makers seminars for young Russians. Russia was also the main topic on the agenda of the Finland 2015 programme, which covered the years 2001-2003. In 2001-2003 Sitra funded the Advantage Northwest Russia research project. This took the form of cooperation between Finnish and Russian experts and was designed to study the competitiveness of industrial clusters in northwest Russia. Sitra’s new Russia Programme is a natural continuation of what has already been achieved.