As Tech Group was founded by former JOT Automation employees in 2003, they have a lot of experience of Finnish business culture. At the moment, Tech Group employs 70 people and the annual turnover is about €9.2m. ‘I am happy to cooperate with Finnish companies. We share the same understanding of how things are run. This makes our communication smooth,’ says Sutrop.
Quality at Least the Same as in Finland Sutrop is also of the opinion that Estonia’s competitiveness is no longer based solely on its low cost − the quality of technology and skill levels of the staff has reached parity on both sides of the Gulf of Finland. ‘There is nothing to gain from coming to look for cheaper projects and the concomitant lower quality in Estonia; the quality needs to be at least as good as in Finland. We have done business for 13 years and convincing references give us our guarantee.’ Together with Enterprise Estonia, Tech Group has participated in trade fairs, events and contact trips. Sutrop has also used EE’s partner search service to find suitable business partners within the EE network. ‘Targeted search helps Finnish companies to find partners in Estonia and vice versa,’ says Irene Surva-Lehtonen.
Growth and Synergy from Estonia Hyrles Oy from Lohja, Finland, launched their factory in Estonia in 2009, because many of the company’s customers already operate here.
‘We spoke a lot about the need to become more international and to benefit from synergies. We weighed various countries in Eastern Europe and due to the logistical closeness we chose Estonia. Also the rate of pay played a certain role,’ says Hyrles’ CEO Juhani Hyry. Hyry emphasizes that his company did not move the production to Estonia, but instead sought growth here. ‘The group’s turnover is now €14m, and we have 85 employees in Finland and 65 in Estonia. We have grown raidly and the majority of the growth has come from Estonia. The situation in Finland would be more difficult if we hadn’t decided to come to Estonia to meet the customers’ needs.’
Hyrles got investment support from Enterprise Estonia. ‘EE came along in quite an early stage and were very active. Thanks to their support we dared to invest with little more up-front,’ Hyry estimates.
Various Success Stories Investment advisor Pilvi Hämaläinen encourages Finnish companies who are interested in doing business in Estonia first and foremost to contact Enterprise Estonia Helsinki office.
‘My job is to help Finnish companies succeed in Estonia, to find the right partners and contact persons, and to share information about the opportunities Estonia has to offer. We work closely together in the EE project team.’ Ruth Vahtras, Investment Project Manager of EE names, in addition to Hyrles, other Finnish success stories in Estonia: from the field of electronics PKC and Dicro, the miniloaders’ manufacturer Norcar-BSB, contract manufacturer Fortaco in Narva, the manufacturer for military industry Milectria in Pärnu ... ‘We act as consultants and advisors. I know a lot about Estonia and Estonian industry if information is sought about the availability and suitable placement of labour force. In cases where a company is looking for EU support, we can also discuss the opportunities for support search,’ Vahtras says.
www.hme.ee ‘Estonian work culture sits well with Finnish businesses. It is similar to that in Finland: namely people working responsibly who are easy to manage.’ www.eolane.com
LIFE IN ESTONIA #43