Finnish Business & Culture in Poland 2024

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Żurawie Project in Gdańsk


Growth support from from Poland Poland Spondeo is a Finnish-Polish family company that was established in 2014 in Poznań, Poland, to help others enter and conduct business on the Polish market. In early 2022, we expanded to Lviv, Ukraine and currently we have 11 team members able to carry out projects on a pan-European scale. Our core values include transparency, flexibility, and openness to various people and ideas. Our clients range from manufacturing and engineering to IT and startups to the TOP companies. In 2023 we had nearly 50 clients from eight countries, including nine companies listed on the stock exchange. At the end of 2023, we also expanded to the Czech Republic.









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+250 11

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recruitment & headhunting


• Full cycle recruitment • Headhunting and direct search • Recruiter team as a Service • HR consulting

sales boost & lead generation • New client & RFQ acquisition • Sales partner network building • Events, fairs and study trips • Sales Manager leasing

go-to-market projects & advisory • Market research & analysis • Business partner search • Early phase kick-off & study trips • Project Management, Subcontracting projects • Ad hoc requests, from labor law to finance • Acquisition screening & real estate search

Please visit and our LinkedIn pages for more information, references and business news from Poland

Finnish-Polish News 2023...........................................................................6 Economic Indicators in Poland ...............................................................8 Greetings from the Embassy of Finland in Poland ............. 10 Business Finland - Calendar 2023 ..................................................... 11 Finnish Trade Guild.........................................................................................12 Finnish Business Succss Stories & New Companies in the Polish Market ..................................................13

Pagero - Pagero in Poland. Facilitating E-Invoicing and Digital Transformation .............................42 Polar Night Software - A Finnish Software House in the Heart of Poland ........................... 43 BPO and Shared Services Centers hiring Finnish speakers in Poland .......................................... 44 UPM - Where actions match words .................................. 45 Spondeo - Building your Dream Team in 2023. Recruitment Trends Explained by Top Spondeo Headhunter................................................... 46 Sand Valley Golf Resort - Summer 2023 .................... 47 Direct Flight Routes from Finland to Poland................ 47 YIT - Quality Urban Developments in Warsaw, Gdańsk and Kraków ............................................. 48

Agileday - Interview with Mikko Virtanen ...................... 14 Efecte - Synergy of Tech & Teams .................................... 15 Geobear - Blending Finnish Values with Polish Business Know-How.........................................................16 ISKU - Inspiring Spaces with Timeless Design ......... 17 Kemira Świecie & Gdańsk Celebrating Milestones in the Polish Market ................18 Kempower - Shaping E-Mobility in Poland...................19 Koskisen - From the Forest to the Van ........................... 20 Miilux - A Decade of Success ................................................. 21 Noli Studios - A Finnish Concept Redefining Co-Living in Warsaw.............................................22 Oddlygood - Oddlygood’s Recipe for Polish Market Entry ....................................................................23 Orion Pharma - Interview with Wojciech Szwedziński...............................................................................................24 Orkla - Orkla’s Expansion to Poland .................................. 25 Purmo - 30 Years of Purmo Radiator Production in Poland........................................................................ 26 Rex Nordic - Market Entry Done Right ........................... 27 Scanfil - Trusted Manufacturing Partner ...................... 28 Salpomec - Conveyor Systems from Lahti for Europe’s Largest Online Shopping Return Center in Poland ...................................... 29 Teknikum - Teknikum’s GREEN & SMART Material Handling Solution Now in Poland........................................................................................ 29 Tietoevry - Growth and Diversity in the Polish IT Landscape................................................................30 Unikie - Unikie’s New Chapter in Poland ....................... 31 Peikko - Insights Into Peikko’s Expansion ......................32 Rebuild Ukraine - Rebuild Ukraine 2.0 and an Interview with Henri Riihimäki .................................33 Uponor - From a Carpenter’s production to a Leader in Plumbing, Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems ............................. 34

Finnish Culture & Sport in Poland .............................................49

Business Support Companies in the Polish Market ...... 35

TOP25 Finnish Companies in Poland .............................................78

Ecovis Legal Poland - 15 Years of Legal Support for Finnish Businesses in Poland ...... 36 Expense Reduction Analysts - From Corporate Challenges to Cost Optimization .................37 Fazer - Fazer in Poland. Making Life Sweeter for More Than 30 Years........................................... 38 HT Laser - Quality, Passion & Common Sense......... 39 Leinonen - A Very Finnish accounting office in Poland ......................................................................................40 Next Step - Developing Industrial Real Estate in Poland. Interview with Marcin Janicki........... 41

TOP10 Finnish Fast Growers ..................................................................79

Discover Finnish Places in Poland .......................................50 Exploring Polish Architecture with Rainer Mahlamäki ............................................................................... 52 Santa From Rovaniemi Visits Poland ................................. 53 Backstage with Blind Channel ................................................ 54 The First Moomin Shop in Poland ....................................... 55 Levi: The New Hotspot for Winter Adventures ........ 55 Behind The Lens In Poland Conversations with Jukka Male...............................................56 Following Mannerheim’s Footsteps in Poland ..........58 Finland in the Nordic Magazine “Zew Północy” ....... 59 Exploring Kalevala - A Finnish Oasis in the Polish Mountains ..................................................................60 Finnish Project in Ukraine - Joy of Play Initiative ......61 Finnish Athletes in Polish Sport Clubs .............................. 62 Mölkky in Poland - From Local Clubs to World Championship................................................................. 63 From Poland to Finland - Julia Zielińska’s Journey as a Rising Ice Hockey ................... 64 Language Schools Offering Finnish Courses ............66 The Finnish School of Warsaw Varsovan Suomi-Koulu...................................................................67 Books Translated from Finnish to Polish in 2023 ....68 Where Two Toms Meet - On the Importance of Reading ..................................................................70 Finnish Author Writing About Belarus, Poland, and East Europe. Interview with Toni Stenström ...................................................................................... 72 Task of The Translator - An Interview with a Finnish Translator of Polish Literature............... 73 Meet our Team.................................................................................................. 74 Finnish Companies in Poland by Industry .................................76


Introduction .............................................................................................................5



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Dear Reader, You are now holding the third edition of our “Finnish Business & Culture in Poland” and I sincerely hope it is visible that we have tried to raise the bar yet again. As publishing is not our main business, this publication will probably never be perfect, but we believe it is always possible to do things a bit better. "Networking is a business student’s lifeblood," said the dean during the first day of my studies at university. I could have stopped my academic life at that point, as that has undoubtedly been the most important advice for my future career. Networking is a crucial part of our business and we are happy to share again plenty of valuable stories, tips and experiences in our publication. You can find success stories, ways to overcome barriers, and hints from companies that are providing business support on the Polish market. We hope that you will discover some inspiration for your business! Of course, our aim is not only to focus on business. In fact, we love exploring all aspects of how Finland is being presented in Poland, from heavy metal to art and books. Every year, we end up finding new projects and are fascinated by the many varied occasions when we see Finnish culture and sport being highlighted. I'm sure you will be surprised a few times! I would like to especially thank Anna and Julia from our team for making this great piece of publication happen – great job! I hope to hear from you,

Tuomas Asunmaa Co-Founder & CEO of Spondeo

PS If you have any hints for the future content, please send us an email.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Driada | Ecovis | Expense Reduction Analysts | Fazer | Finnlines | HT Laser Kalevala | Leinonen | Neste | Next Step | Orion Pharma | Pagero | Peikko Polar Night Software | ReBuild Ukraine | UPM | YIT And our fantastic Clients and the whole Spondeo Team.

Copyright © 2023 Spondeo Consulting Asunmaa. All rights reserved. Editor-in-chief: Tuomas Asunmaa Content manager: Julia Morta Graphic design: Anna Jędrzejewska

Website: Email address: | +48 514 615 048



Finnish-Polish News 2023

MAY Poland


"Sisu", Finnish historical action film, in Polish cinemas

Poland Käärija's "Cha Cha Cha" in TOP 5 on Polish Spotify


Gdańsk/Turku Polish company Baltic Operator signs a contract with Meyer Turku for the construction of the hulls for two patrol vessels The vessels will be built for Finnish Border Guard

Scandinavian Days in Szczecin

Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen directs the NPRSO at the inauguration of Europe's biggest new concert hall organ

Sebastian Musielak nominated for the Award of the Mayor of Gdańsk for the translation of the book "Hunting for the Little Pike" by Juhani Karila



Telko acquires Polish distribution company Eltrex

Finnish representatives at International Day at NATO Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast

Szczecin Gdańsk



Sampo Rosenlew and Valtra present their machines at agricultural technology fair

Warsaw Finnish Day in Jazdów

Warsaw ResultElf event at the Embassy of Finland


Kraków Teknikum introduces a new offer through Polish company PIOMET

Poland Marimekko and IKEA create a new collection for the Polish market

ISKU Showroom opening event in Warsaw. Photo by ISKU




30th anniversary of Kemira in Poland

Uponor announced closing down its assembly factory in Germany and moving it to the company's facility in Poland



“Mannerheim – Polish years” by Jukka and Anna Soisalon-Soininen published in Polish

Purmo increases production capacity of Polish plant



7th Outdoor European Mölkky Championship

Tuomas Asunmaa re-elected Finnish Trade Guild Chairman



Art by Finnish Jósefina Alanko at the exhibition organized by Flow Art House

Opening of ISKU showroom

Zawiercie Fortum begins construction of installation for RDF fuel

Gorzów Wielkopolski

Warsaw Finnish Summer Picnic organized by FTG

Warsaw Sofigate establishes a competence centre in Poland to strengthen its Salesforce business

Stal Gorzów team, speedway vice-champions of Poland, prepares for the next season in Finland

Poznań, Warsaw


Tommi Kinnunen meets Polish readers in Zamek Culture Centre and at the Embassy of Finland

Toruń Reetta Hurske sets a new Finnish record in the 60m hurdles



Reka Rubber starts construction of a new warehouse

Busines Breakfast by Finnish Trade Guild Photo by Marta Szewczyk


Flixbus launches new bus route from Vaasa, Finland, to Warsaw, Poland

Tietoevery opens a new office



Oddlygood products introduced at Kaufland and Carrefour in Poland


Wolt becomes the official partner of Legia Warszawa


Poland YIT Poland receives 5 awards in the European Property Awards

Wrocław Aki Kaurismäki’s "Fallen Leaves" at mBank New Horizons International Film Competition

Metsä Group opens a new service center

Toruń The city of Toruń announces the construction of Finland theme pocket park

Warsaw Insomnium concert in Poznań. Photo by Tuomas Asunmaa

Business Breakfast organized by Finnish Trade Guild and the Embassy of Finland

Sand Valley Golf Resort. Photo by Juha Tuukkanen, JT Golf Photography


Kraków The first Moomin Shop opens in Poland

Pasłęk Sand Valley Golf Resort distinguished with 69th place in TOP100 Ranking of the Best Courses in Europe

Płock/Kuopio EVerywoman Race 2023 Photo by PSPA

Polish company Budmat Bogdan Więcek acquires Finnish Samesor Oy

Poland Jacek Pastuszka appointed new CEO of Finnish Anora

AUGUST Ostrów Wielkopolski Posters by Finnish artists Pekka Loiri and Kari Piippo displayed at the exhibition

Poland RexNordic expans to the Polish market

Sieradz Scanfil invests EUR 20M in a new factory in Poland

Poznań IT Breakfast from Efecte's Digitalize&Automate series

Żary Valmet Automotive expands its Polish plant and will create 350 new jobs between the years 2025 and 2027

Warsaw EVerywoman: New Mobility Race Woman's Race - electric car rally on the Warsaw-Riga-Lahti route Platform for education and support in the fight against breast cancer

Warsaw Premiere of Tactic Games' board game Mother Earth at the Finnish Embassy


Warsaw Sleeping pods produced by Finnish company GoSleep available at Warsaw Chopin Airport

Noli Studios expands to Poland

Warsaw & Kraków


New YIT investments

Poznań IT Breakfast from Efecte's Digitalize&Automate series

Warsaw Lending Talks Hub 2023 with panel discussions led by Jukka Suuronen, CEO of ResultElf

Warsaw First Official Moomin Shop in Poland opened in Kraków. Photo by Artur Halik

Meeting with the authors of "Mannerheim - Polish years"

Warsaw Rebuild Ukraine - participation of nearly 60 companies from Finland


Warsaw President of Finland Sauli Niinistö meets with President of Poland Andrzej Duda

Finnish-Polish News 2023


Gdynia Työvene builds a dredger for Maritime Office in Gdynia

Warsaw Business Breakfast at the Embassy hosted by Ambassador of Finland Päivi Laine and Finnish Trade Guild

Warsaw Efecte organizes Digitalize and Automate event at the Embassy of Finland

Meeting with Santa in Poznań, 2022 Photo by Anna Jędrzejewska

Warsaw Rapujuhlat - Crayfish Party of Swedish & Finnish Sections

Wrocław Unikie opens a new office

DECEMBER Poland Santa Claus from Ravaniemi visits Polish cities

Warsaw Indepenence Day of Finland organized by FTG


Economic Indicators | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Economic Indicators in Poland


Tax rates Source:



28,000 3,000






Purchase Power (adjusted GDP per capita) (EUR, 2022)


Standard rate

Reduced rates, i.a. for small taxpayers

Standard rate

Reduced rates

in relation to 2021 EU avg Finland



Annual percentage change in GDP (%) Source: Central Statistical Office

7.5 5.0 2.5 0.0 -2.5






Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)


*Estimation by International Monetary Fund

Source: IHS Markit

43.1 40.9 Sep 2023

Sep 2022

Annual inflation (CPI)(%) Source: National Bank of Poland

15.0 10.0

General government debt in relation to GDP in 2022

5.0 0.0 -5.0







Average price per m2 (EUR)

Source: IHS Markit

Euro (EUR) to Polish zloty (PLN) exchange rate

Source:, 1 EUR = 4,36, October 2023

Source: European Central Bank










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sk ań Gd


ław roc

ań zn Po

cin ice cze tow Sz Ka

dź Łó

Jan 2018

Jan 2022

Enterprises by size (2021)

Source: National Bank of Poland

Source: PARP

48,700 small 2,288,800 micro

4.0 2.0 Jan 2022

Jan 2020

Reference rate (%) 6.0




a aw rsz Wa




Jul 2022

Jan 2023

Jul 2023

14,600 medium 3,800 large

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Economic Indicators



Leading export partners (bn EUR, 2022)

Annual unemployment rate (%)







billion EUR


22.7 19.7 16.8 2.615.8 3.4 2.3

25 0






3.1 0.5


Source: Central Statistical Office

20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0

Leading import partners (bn EUR, 2022)



Source: Central Statistical Office, Sep 2023


53.6 16.8 15.6 1.515.5










Exports of goods and services in 2022 (% of GDP)




40 billion EUR


Unemployment rate in main Polish cities (%)






Source: Central Statistical







. ań aw ów ńsk ław ódź cin zcz blin tok ice tyn óra ów lce lkp ole k zn a oc rs Ł cze os Lu łys tow lsz a G esz Kie W Op r Po Wa Kra Gd g a O z a n z i w S yd o K R W B ró el B Zi Go

3.12 m

Number of selfemployed people in 2022



Source: Central Statistical Office

Minimum & Average salary (PLN) Source: Central Statistical Office

PLN 7,824.00*


Foreign Direct Investment in 2022 (FDI)(EUR)


34.6 bn

PLN 4,242.00

4,000 2,000 0

Source: National Bank of Poland


2016 PLN (avg salary)

Foreign direct investments in Poland (bn EUR)



PLN (min. salary)



*Forecast of average salary 2024, based on the Budget Law

Average & minimum salary (EUR) Source: Central Statistical Office, 1 EUR = 4,36 PLN, November 2023

Source: National Bank of Poland

40 30 20





Average salary Sep 2023

Minimum salary from 1.1.2024

10 0 2016





Embassy of Finland | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Greetings from the Embassy of Finland in Poland


Mysłowice factory, photography by Wojciech Mateusiak

Meeting with Marshal of Silesia Jakub Chełstowski. Photo by Marshal's office

Finland in the eyes of pupils Photo by Społeczna Szkoła Podstawowa STO 11 in Warsaw

Embassy team after Nordic walking training Photo by the Embassy

Website and contact information @FinlandAbroad @SuomenSuurlahetystoVarsova @FinEmbWarsaw @PLpaivi @FinlandinPoland


The year 2023 was remarkable for Finland. Suomi joined NATO, once again became the happiest country in the world and almost won the Eurovision song contest, turning Europe into a Chachacha-land for a while. Not bad for a small nation of 5.5 million people! How did this year look at Finland’s mission in Poland? Life at the Embassy of Finland is never boring, but the year 2023 has truly been full of inspirational events and meetings. This year we visited Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Gdańsk, Białystok, Szczecin, Borowice, Łódź, Wrocław, Katowice and Zabrze. We promoted Finland’s image and Finnish companies during Polish Bicycle Summit, ITTF Warsaw International Travel & Tourism Fair, National Energy Summit OSE Gdańsk, Circular Thursday, Szczecin Scandinavian Days, New Mobility Congress, DISE Energy Congress, Warsaw Security Forum, Circular Week, EVerywoman Race and many more. The highlight of the year and a great honor was the visit of President of Finland Sauli Niinistö with his spouse Dr Jenni Haukio to Warsaw at the end of November. In 2023, we organized around twenty business events at the Residence of the Ambassador of Finland related to the topics of health, green transition, digitalization, circular economy and food. We closely cooperated with other Nordic Embassies and organized together a Nordic art exhibition at the National

Ambassador opening New Mobility Congress Photo by the Embassy

Museum in Warsaw and a Nordic Day Mysłowice factory,on photography Mateusiak conference the topicbyofWojciech decarbonizing

cities. We supported Finnish values by taking part in “Ring the bell for gender equality” conference, women rights seminar and equality parade in Warsaw. We had a pleasure to host a meeting with a fantastic Finnish writer Tommi Kinnunen and organize a Finnish Day in Jazdów – a whole day full of cultural and sport events dedicated to Finland. Last but not least, we supported the event promoting the book “Mannerheim – polskie lata” by Anna and Jukka Soisalon-Soininen. We encourage you to read it! This year again proved to us that small embassies with limited resources can make an impact. What’s more, when you meet the right people, small efforts can flourish into something exceptional. In September, we shared our knowledge and some materials with one of the primary schools in Warsaw and they transferred their class into Finnish fairytale land. People like them and people like authors and readers of this publication inspire us to keep up our work and reach for more. Thank you for everything you do to promote Finland in Poland! We hope that next year will be full of even more interesting activities than this year. Stay tuned and follow our social media to find out our plans for 2024! Kiitos ja nähdään ensi vuonna!

Business Finland - Calendar 2023

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Finland


Business Finland is the Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion. It is an integral part of the Team Finland network, closely collaborating with Finnish embassies, consulates, and other public stakeholders to support the internationalization of Finnish companies and facilitate their entry into foreign markets. Business Finland’s Warsaw office plays a significant role in supporting Finnish companies, as it not only covers Poland, but also broader Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and the Baltic regions.

Finnish Automotive Trade Mission to the Czech Republic. Photo by Business Finland

Low-carbon Built Environment Trade Mission to Poland Photo by Tomasz Puchalski, Wizerunek Profesjonalisty

Low-carbon Built Environment B2B meetings at the Finnish Embassy in Warsaw. Photo by Tomasz Puchalski, Wizerunek Profesjonalisty

Presenting the Finnish offer at the CEE Automotive Supply Chain conference in the Czech Republic. Photo by Business Finland

2.02 Low-Carbon Built Environment Finnish Trade Mission to Warsaw. Business Finland organized the event to present high-level Finnish solutions for decarbonization to key players in the Polish construction market and organized numerous individual meetings.

12.06 The Embassy of Finland in Warsaw together with Business Finland, supported the Integrated Hospital Design Alliance in organizing a Finnish-Polish workshop to discuss the requirements and possibilities for modern, functional, sustainable, and safe hospitals.

16.03 Opportunities in Healthcare RRF Projects in Lithuania: A successful event focusing on planned healthcare investment projects. Finnish companies had an opportunity to establish direct contacts with Lithuanian hospitals and clinics.

23.08 Export Day "Together to Global Growth – HealthTech Export Day" in Helsinki, organized by Business Finland and Healthtech Finland, focused on knowledge sharing, networking, and collaboration in exports.

20.04 Business Finland arranged the PolishFinnish Airport Technology Workshops together with the CPK (Centralny Port Komunikacyjny) company.

29.08 Poland Maritime Market Update: A webinar for Finnish companies interested in business opportunities in the Polish ports sector.

24.04 Business Finland hosted and organised a Polish e-health delegation at Team Finland’s house in Helsinki. The visit aimed to establish closer cooperation between Finland and Poland in improving health data and European projects.

25.09 Finnish Mobile Machinery Electrification Trade Mission to Poland. 12 Finnish companies had the unique opportunity to present their solutions to key market players from the mining, machinery, battery, and transport sectors in Poland. The Trade Mission program also included participation in the New Mobility Congress in Łódź.

2.05 Battery & Smart Manufacturing Workshop for Finnish companies at Team Finland house in Helsinki presenting business opportunities for Finnish companies in prioritized markets, including Poland and the CEE region. 11.05 In close cooperation with the Embassy of Finland in Warsaw, Business Finland organized a presentation for Polish medical professionals to promote the Planmed XFI, the world's first full-body weight-bearing CT device.

Opening RRF healthcare networking event in Vilnius. Photo by Embassy of Finland in Vilnius

4.10 The 2nd edition of Trade Mission to Poland for Low Carbon Built Environment Companies, bringing Finnish companies and Polish professionals together to explore #sustainableconstruction. 23.10 Finnish Automotive Trade Mission to the Czech Republic, positioning Finnish suppliers of technologies for improving operational efficiency at automotive factories.

We actively encourage Polish and Finnish enterprises to explore and create business opportunities with us: 11

Business Finland | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

FINNISH TRADE GUILD Network of Finnish Companies in Poland The Finnish Trade Guild (FTG) was established in the early nineties as an informal organization integrating and supporting companies with Finnish share capital operating on the Polish market. Since March 2004, FTG has been an integrated National Section of the SPCC - ScandinavianPolish Chamber of Commerce. Today, the FTG has almost 70 corporate members. Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organisation created by business people. For nearly 20 years, it has supported the development of economic relations between Poland, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States. SPCC integrates and inspires the Polish-Scandinavian business community. As Poland's third largest international chamber, it has 430 members representing the most important economic sectors. SPCC cooperates closely with the embassies of the Nordic countries in jointly supporting investors and working to develop PolishScandinavian business relations. Membership in SPCC gives access to knowledge and information, a wide range of business meetings and the opportunity to establish contacts and build long-term relationships, which play a crucial role in Scandinavian business culture.

Independence Day | 6 December 2022, Hotel Bristol in Warsaw

Photos by Piotr Dziubak

Annual General Meeting | 1 March 2023, Embassy of Finland in Warsaw

Photos by SPCC and the Embassy

Finnish Summer Picnic | 3 June 2023, Józefów near Warsaw

Photos by Ewa Chojnowska

Crayfish Party co-organized by Finnish & Swedish Sections of SPCC 15 September 2023, Golf Park Wilanów, Warsaw

Photos by Ewa Chojnowska


Finnish Trade Guild

Finnish Business Stories & New Companies in theSuccss Polish Market

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Finland

Finnish Business Success Stories & New Companies in the Polish Market

New & Expanding companies in Poland

This section features success stories of Finnish companies that have thrived in Poland for decades, along with news articles covering recent market entries or other significant investments in the Polish market. While every case is unique, in all of these stories there are valuable lessons that can prove useful in your own business endeavors. Delve into the experiences of other Finnish companies and discover key takeaways to guide you on the path to success. New ISKU showroom in Warsaw. Photo by ISKU

Kick-off event in Lublin

Kick-off event in Lublin


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Photo by Agileday

Photo by Agileday

Agileday - Interview with Mikko Virtanen

INTERVIEW WITH MIKKO VIRTANEN Co-CEO and One of the Founders of Agileday Agileday, founded in Finland in 2022, provides a SaaS-platform for the knowledge work industry that connects sales, projects, people, and strategies into one single source of truth, providing a connected systems view of the entire operation. Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Mikko Virtanen about entering the Polish IT market.

You are a relatively young company and have already entered the Polish market – how did it come about? We launched last March, and from day one our company has been focused on international growth. We were considering both Sweden and Poland as our first export markets, but things started to happen in Poland much faster and we gained our first Polish client in May. And then you stepped up a gear? We then investigated the Polish market more closely and began meeting people there. During our visits, we held around 15 meetings a week and received a positive overall reception. We also joined SoDA* and their event. Our target is now to focus more on the Polish market. Why Poland exactly?

*SoDA - Software Development Association Poland - which helps promote, support, grow and integrate Polish software companies. Mikko Virtanen +358 50 5583 777


Well, I can give you four reasons. First, it's a large market with high volumes. Secondly, it's a growing market. Third, the IT market is already mature and ready; companies are engaged in numerous international projects and successfully compete in tough markets, especially in the UK and USA. Other CEE countries have not yet reached that level. Finally, all of that means that Polish companies are very focused, hungry for growth, and eager to expand

rapidly. The energy level is great and we are helping them reach the next level. Yes, the Polish IT market is experiencing lots of top-level startups nowadays. Exactly, and it's also fun to work with Polish companies! Have you encountered any surprises? At times, Polish business culture is still quite hierarchical, with managers overseeing even the small details. But the IT companies are challenging these norms and leading the change big time now. However, there has been nothing too significant overall. What would you advise other foreigners looking to enter the Polish market? First, meet people face to face. Online meetings followed by demos and followups won't suffice; you have to establish a local presence. If we weren’t physically present here, we would have failed. Secondly, be curious and creative and meet with everyone who is willing to connect with you. Don't exclude them if you don't see an exact match. You will gain something from every meeting. Last but not least – if you come from Finland, a small gift like Fazer chocolate always works wonders!

Efecte - Synergy of Tech & Teams

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories +48 227 656 000 Kick-off event in Lublin. Photo by Efecte

SYNERGY OF TECH & TEAMS Kick-off event in Lublin.

Photo in byLublin Efecte Kick-off event

Efecte, a growing Finnish SaaS company, helps service organizations digitalize and automate their operations. In 2022, Efecte entered the Polish market by acquiring conversational AI company InteliWISE to strengthen its position as a leading European service management platform. Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Niilo Fredrikson, CEO of Efecte, to explore the motivations behind this move into Poland, challenges and benefits of the integration, and lessons learned during the process.

Was investing in Poland part of your strategic plan or did it happen somewhat unexpectedly? Many things just fell into place during the process. Of course, we were already familiar with the market due to our ongoing R&D cooperation with Polish subcontractors. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of European markets, and Poland emerged as one of the most promising destinations. What's most important, in this case, the technology and team matched really well.

Efecte's CEO on Acquisition Journey in Poland What do you consider the key benefit of this acquisition? The main advantages lie in the technology - conversational AI, and the highly skilled team behind it. We can also see now that our timing was lucky. Thanks to the acquisition, we got ahead of the competition right when the generative AI revolution started. How did the integration process unfold? Did you put a lot of effort into aligning the teams? Yes, we focused a lot on culture integration because our distinctive, positive culture serves as a competitive advantage. Right from the beginning, integrating teams was our top priority, and I am very satisfied with how it went. Following your journey on LinkedIn, it seemed that you had a lot of fun. Is there any special memory? I think one culmination point was our kick-off event in Lublin at the end of January. It brought together the entire team from all countries, making it a special occasion. It was also the first face-to-face kick-off after the pandemic, and now with the new Polish team on board.

Was there something that surprised you? We knew that financial integration would be a lengthy process, but it proved to be even more time-consuming than we initially thought. This was due to a lot of differing practices and regulations. How would you compare Polish and Finnish cultures? In our case, we noticed the same spirit to take action and get things done, aligning well with Efecte's core value of make it happen. Sometimes, we observed a bit more hierarchy in Polish culture. Poles are also hard negotiators, although we knew about it before. Overall, there are certainly more similarities than differences. What advice would you give to other CEOs considering Polish market entry? It definitely makes sense! However, it is crucial to invest in strong company culture, and reserve time and resources for the financial integration process. It can be a positive experience and beneficial strategic move if managed effectively. What does the future hold for Efecte in Poland? We want to achieve growth from Poland, and expand our talent hub further.


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Geobear - Blending Finnish Values with Polish Business Know-How Oskar Nojszewski Photo by Geobear

GEOBEAR Blending Finnish Values with Polish Business Know-How Geobear, founded in Finland in 1983, is an international ground engineering organization that provides subsidence solutions and treatment for ground experiencing subsidence or instability. In 2016, Geobear opened a branch in Poland. Julia Morta talked with Oskar Nojszewski, commercial director at Geobear Poland, about his experience in managing a company with Finnish roots and the current situation on the Polish market.

Geobear Global recently turned 40. Did you also celebrate in Poland? Of course, we did! Even though the Polish branch is relatively young, it is very important that we are supported by 40 years of experience and technological development of the company. We emphasize this because it is a significant competitive advantage that sets us apart on the market.

most challenging in terms of technology and quality. One very memorable recent project, LK257 railway line, involved strengthening a rail embankment for one of the main railroads in Poland. The most important thing was to ensure the highest possible safety standards. There were also engineering and logistical challenges due to difficult geotechnical conditions. Nevertheless, the project turned out to be very successful.

What elements of Finnish culture have been integrated in Geobear Poland?

What are the biggest challenges on the Polish market at the moment?

We value openness, foster partnership relations, and minimize hierarchical structures. Regardless of one’s position, we all feel like a part of one team working towards a common goal.

I think that a complicated business environment remains a big challenge, mainly legal and tax issues. Big challenge is the difficulty in finding the right professionals to work with. Currently there is also some uncertainty in the Polish construction sector related to the suspension of national recovery funds, which has led to delays in many investments. This situation contributes to lower prices in the market, a significant increase in price-based competition, and greater contractual risks when working with different partners.

What are the main elements of your management style? Trust and partnership within team are crucial to me. I think that without them we couldn't operate very well. Our Finnish work culture also plays a very important role. Among the projects executed under your management, which was the most memorable? I think infrastructure projects are especially interesting for us because they are the


And what are currently the most promising opportunities for Geobear? It’s worth remembering that the Polish economy continues to grow. The facility maintenance industry, in which Geobear

operates, is also experiencing significant growth now. During times like this, when funds for new investments are limited, there is often an increase in budgets for repair and maintenance. This is a great opportunity for Geobear. What are Geobear's plans for the Polish market in the coming years? We aim to increase our presence in Poland as much as possible by expanding intensively to penetrate the B2B, B2C, and infrastructure markets. Of course, the company's growth is impossible without the development of our team, so we are constantly recruiting new specialists. We want to develop both our sales as well as engineering & technology departments, while also increasing execution capacity. What advice would you give to a Finnish company interested in entering the Polish construction market? First of all, it is essential to be aware of the different business cultures in Poland and Finland. It can sometimes be problematic for Finnish managers to understand the nuances of interpersonal relations in and between Polish companies. It’s also important to remember that conditions on the Polish market are very different to what they may be used to in the Nordics.

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

ISKU - Inspiring Spaces with Timeless Design ISKU Showroom, Warsaw, Poland. Photo by ISKU

ISKU Showroom Ul. Marcina Kasprzaka 4/ C.U.01 Lixa Office Building 01-211 Warszawa Izabela Świtek Head of ISKU Poland +48 513 786 615

ISKU Inspiring Spaces with Timeless Design ISKU Showroom, Warsaw, Poland Photo by ISKU

ISKU’s history began in 1928 in Lahti, Finland. The company is soon to celebrate 100 years of operations while still remaining family-owned, now by the third generation of the Vikström family. New Horizons In March 2023, ISKU inaugurated its showroom on Kasprzaka Street in the bustling Wola district of Warsaw. This grand event gathered numerous esteemed guests from the business world, including prominent figures from the furniture industry, as well as enthusiastic designers and architects. Notably, the presence of the Finnish Ambassador, Päivi Laine, alongside Elise Tarvainen, ISKU’s Vice President of International Business, made the occasion even more special. “Polands rich history, vibrant culture, and exceptional craftsmanship align perfectly with ISKU’s values as a design and furniture company. We believe in creating spaces that blend functionality with artistry, and Polands design tradition is a testament to that philosophy. By strengthening our presence here, we aim to embrace the local talent, collaborate with skilled architects, and weave the essence of Polish design into

our creations. This strategic move is not just about expanding our business, but about celebrating the beauty of design that transcends borders and enriches lives”, says Elise Tarvainen. The showroom opening in Warsaw was just one of four worldwide openings in 2023. Alongside Poland, ISKU has recently expanded by opening showrooms in Dubai (UAE), Almaty (Kazakhstan), and Oslo (Norway). Always Responsible Finland’s largest furniture manufacturer is currently focusing on growth and expanding into new markets. Today, Finnish design and ecological, sustainable production are at the heart of its core value proposition. ISKU represents more than just furniture; it embodies a production philosophy that seamlessly blends traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology, all while minimizing its carbon footprint. The company has always prioritized responsible action and endeavours that create a positive impact. A remarkable milestone stands as a testament to this commitment: 100% of ISKU’s production in Lahti, Finland, is powered by solar electricity. Building upon this achievement, ISKU aspires to push boundaries even further, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality

in its production by the end of 2023. ISKU’s dedication to environmental consciousness is mirrored in many of its products, which have garnered recognition and awards for their innovative utilization of green solutions and incorporation of recycled components. Naturally from Finland What characterizes ISKU is its simple design, often drawing inspiration from the beautiful nature that shapes Finland. The country’s harsh weather conditions have an impact on the mentality and resilience of its people. As a result, Finland is gravitated towards timeless products that are crafted with quality and, most importantly, durability. The ISKU collections showcase elements reminis-cent of Finland’s windswept cliffs, enchanting forests, and picturesque lakes. When you visit the ISKU showroom in Warsaw, you can experience Finnish design firsthand. Feel the softness and buoyancy of the sofas, appreciate the craftsmanship and wooden details. All of this is complemented by vibrant, positive pastel colors, as well as original lamps and paintings. Izabela Świtek, Head of ISKU Poland, proudly states, “We take pride in creating a space where Finnish design intertwines with art, fostering discussions not only about interiors and furniture but also about the values that our brand holds dear”.


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Kemira Świecie & Gdańsk - Celebrating Milestones in the Polish Market

30th anniversary celebration of Kemira in Poland. Photo by Kemira

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KEMIRA ŚWIECIE & GDAŃSK Celebrating Milestones in the Polish Market Mysłowice factory, photography by Wojciech Mateusiak

Photo by Kemira

Kemira globally – over 100 years of history Kemira is a global leader in sustainable chemical solutions for water-intensive industries. Kemira provides the best-suited products and expertise to enhance customers' product quality, processes, and resource efficiency. The primary focus areas include pulp & paper, water treatment, and the energy industry. Kemira Świecie – 30 years on the market In 2023, Kemira Świecie proudly celebrates three decades of excellence in the Polish market. As a key player in the Pulp & Paper segment, the journey has been defined by innovation, commitment, and a team of nearly 60 highly skilled specialists dedicated to serving clients across Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, and the Caspian Region. Throughout these years, Kemira Świecie's production plant has consistently delivered high quality products, contributing to the success of clients across the entire EMEA region. Our growth and achievements wouldn't have been possible without the unwavering support of our valued clients and dedicated partners. To express our gratitude and celebrate this significant milestone, we recently gathered in the enchanting surroundings


of Gniew Castle. The occasion fostered a warm and friendly atmosphere, bringing together clients and collaborating companies for meaningful interactions and mutual appreciation. Kemira Gdańsk – 10 years on the market Meanwhile, Kemira Gdańsk marked its 10th anniversary in Poland. Over the past 10 years, the Business Services Center in Gdańsk has evolved from a transitional phase with centralized management to a value-adding hub seamlessly aligned with the global business strategy. A dedicated team of 250 professionals from 12 nationalities powers the Gdańsk center, handling customer order management, finance & administration, IT, and orders for goods and services. In the last few years, a transformation towards knowledge-based roles has been observed. This is possible thanks to prioritization of internal recruitments, work-shadowing programs and the unwavering pursuit of excellence. Gdańsk employees have therefore undertaken positions in logistics, trade operations, sourcing, payments, VAT & intrastat, talent development, digital solutions, operational excellence, regional planning, and many more. Striving for excellence and great knowhow cannot be enough in today’s world.

Kemira is a very egalitarian company, diverse and inclusive. That is why the center got nominated to the ABSL Diamonds Award in the category of Vibrant Workplace with Kemira Wellness 360 program. Recognitions such as "The Most BeLOVEd BSC in Tricity", "Most Foreigner Friendly Employer" and also “Social Responsible Employer” underscore the center's commitment to social responsibility. Kemira has taken bold steps by establishing employee networks such as KemPride (LGBTQIA+) and Woman Network, emphasizing ethics, sustainable development, diversity, and inclusion. Marta Gołubowicz, Managing Director of Kemira Gdańsk, encapsulates this commitment, stating,

We have launched two employee networks and are open for more. Topics such as ethics, sustainable development, diversity, and inclusion are treated with the greatest attention”. In summary, Kemira's journey is not just about operational tasks; it's a narrative of resilience, transformation, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in a world that demands more than just know-how. Any questions? Write to

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

Kempower - Shaping E-Mobility in Poland Grzegorz Kujawa Justyna Masztakowska Photo by Kempower

KEMPOWER Shaping E-Mobility in Poland Kempower, founded in Finland in 2017, designs and manufactures fastcharging DC solutions for electric vehicles and machines. The company is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. In 2023, Kempower expanded to Warsaw, Poland. Julia Morta talked with Grzegorz Kujawa, who is a manager for CEE Commercial Vehicles, and Justyna Masztakowska, responsible for CEE Private Vehicle Charging, about Kempower’s expansion in Poland. Kick-off event in Lublin

What is the potential of the Polish market for Kempower? Grzegorz Kujawa: When it comes to e-mobility infrastructure development, Poland is just starting its journey to reach even the level that Western Europe is at now. There is tremendous potential because of the size of the market, as well as the fact that Kempower is entering Poland now and we are able to offer very modern solutions. We begin right at the top – instead of starting with small 50 kW installations, and we provide fast charging models with multiple plugs. How does Poland differ from other e-mobility markets, and how does it influence Kempower’s strategy here? Justyna Masztakowska: Poland has taken a different approach to planning and implementation of the infrastructure. As a result, there are currently mainly freestanding chargers with a single CCS2 connector. However, this trend has started to change. It is becoming more important to build multi-station charging hubs, which are already present in many other European countries. This is the direction Kempower is heading in as well, and it is the best model to accommodate the increasing number of electric vehicles on the roads.

GK: Yes, our company's vision is to create the most desirable electric vehicle charging infrastructure for everyone everywhere. We are very focused on the user experience. Both of us drive electric cars and it can be frustrating when you pull up to a charging station and the device doesn't work. Therefore, we really appreciate Kempower devices because they are convenient, aesthetically pleasing, and above all reliable. What is Kempower’s sales strategy? GK: At Kempower, we focus on the design and production of devices and software. When it comes to sales, we rely on our network of installation and service partners who distribute our devices and have direct contact with end users. Are there any elements of Finnish culture in the Polish team? JM: Yes, there are quite a few! We all share the values promoted in the company, appreciate teamwork, care about the environment, and have courageous attitudes. GK: And we love saunas!

Kick-off event in Lublin Kick-off event in Lublin

How would you compare Polish and Finnish cultures? GK: I believe we have more similarities than differences. Perhaps the Poles could still learn something about environmental awareness and work-life balance from Finns. Kick-off event in Lublin

JM: I think both cultures also share a practical approach and unpretentiousness. What tips would you give to a Finnish company considering entering the Polish market? GK: First of all, it’s important to know that Poles have a very positive attitude towards companies from the Nordic countries. Secondly, I would advise putting trust in Polish people. The younger generation is well-acquainted with European business practices and is capable of running things smoothly. There used to be a belief that people needed constant supervision, but Poles truly know how to take initiative and find their way. What are Kempower’s goals for the next few years? GK: We aim to establish a significant presence in all forms of transportation, including cars, trucks, buses, heavy equipment, and various types of boats.


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Koskisen - From the Forest to the Van

KOSKISEN Photo by Koskisen

From the Forest to the Van Koskisen Sp. z o.o is a subsidiary of the international wood-processing specialist Koskisen Corporation, located in Järvelä, Finland. In Toporów, Poland, Koskisen started operations under the brand name Kore® some 16 years ago with a handful of employees. Today it all looks a lot different. Kore’s daily business is all about high quality van protection kits and accessories, delivered to the customers often single packed, all the way to their doorstep. There is a diverse team of 76 experts in Topórow who take care of everything from production and customer service to front office sales, CAD-work, item creation, quality management, and maintenance. Przemysław Dąbrowski Factory Manager


The company is responsible for its own material, harvesting logs in Finland and processing them to plywood panels.

In the machining center in Poland, they use top-tier CNC-machines to cut the plywood into tailored, protective panel shapes for professional van owners, meaning that their van’s chassis is protected throughout the years of use. The company sees a bright future and has a strong growth strategy that aims high. Kore is currently evolving from a small unit to a market leader, though this needs effort in the background operations. Sustainability is one of the key values in the company. Koskisen and Kore live of the forests and is passionate about keeping the carbon footprint low. However, the average employment length at Koskisen is 14 years, showing that the company truly cares about its employees and provides an international environment to grow and develop.

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

Miilux - A Decade of Success

A DECADE OF SUCCESS Miilux's Journey on the Polish Market

Pekka Miilukangas

Tomasz Fedoryszyn

What influenced your decision to expand to Poland?

What is your favorite thing about working at Miilux?

Poland was one of Miilux's first export countries and we had a very important customer there. Poland is also attractively located at the center of the European market.

Miilux, as a company, always appreciates initiative and responsibility. This is what I expect from my employees and what the Finnish owners expect from me. It is really exciting for me to work like an entrepreneur, shaping the business according to my vision. In 2023, we will break another record as Miilux Poland had already doubled last year’s revenues by the end of September.

Were there any surprises during the market entry process?

Miilux manufactures and sells wear-resistant and personal protection solutions, utilizing its own brands and innovations. In 2014, the company expanded to the Polish market and has been growing here ever since. Tuomas Asunmaa asked Pekka Miilukangas – the Owner & CEO of Miilux Group – as well as Tomasz Fedoryszyn – Managing Director at Miilux Poland – about the company’s successful journey in Poland.

Photo by Jacek Bulski

Maybe not big surprises right away, but the crisis in the Polish coal mining industry in 2016 was a big setback and threatened the continuation of our business in Poland. How did you plan market entry to Poland? We started with a short preliminary study made by a Polish consultant. After that, we conducted a more extensive analysis, and finally a third study aimed at establishing ourselves. What are the key values you apply when leading the Polish team? The values of the Miilukangas family business date back to the foundation of Miilukangas in 1967. The most important is honesty, which is reflected in the careful fulfillment of our social obligations. Continuous improvement and profitable growth have also guided the Polish operations. How significant is the Polish market within Miilux's global strategy? The importance of the Polish business has been increasing every year. Miilux Poland currently accounts for about 20% of the Miilux Group's turnover. The Polish business is growing significantly, as is the Miilux Group as a whole.

Photo by Marcin Markiefka

What are the key elements of your management style?

What advice would you give to Finnish CEOs considering expansion to Poland? One of the most important tasks is to find a reliable president, member(s) of the board, and manager in Poland. They should have experience in working with Finnish companies. You can’t run your business from Finland, so you must carefully recruit a very reliable team in Poland. And finally, how are you planning to celebrate Miilux's 10 years journey in Poland? Miilux Poland will celebrate its 10th anniversary on 14-15 June 2024 in Tarnowskie Góry. The anniversary is shaping up to be a year of significant investment and growth.

Support, responsibility, critical thinking, rationality and entrepreneurship guide me in managing the Polish production branch of Miilux. I think that Finnish people have a similar approach to business, which is what makes our cooperation so fruitful. What is the most memorable project you have managed in Miilux? I started working in Miilux in 2017, and just two years later we decided to double the area of our production facility. Since then, we have also increased our revenues 10 times and tripled our staff. It is all a result of many projects, some easy, some very complex, that have contributed to the development of the company. Next year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Miilux Poland and I am convinced that we have good reason to be proud. What are the main opportunities and challenges currently facing the Polish market? There are challenges related to the current slowdown of the Polish and European economy. At the same time, we see a big opportunity for Miilux in the defense sector. Our business is structured in such a way that it allows us to achieve our goals even in difficult times. What advice would you give to a Finn considering entering the Polish market? Business culture in Poland has changed over the years and generations. Nowadays, it is increasingly transparent and based on mutual trust. Therefore, I would suggest having local, reliable support at least at the beginning of market entry to overcome potential cultural differences and better adapt the product to the situation in Poland.


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland Noli Studios - A Finnish Concept Redefining Co-Living in Warsaw Noli Mokotow. Photo by Noli Studios

NOLI STUDIOS NOLI STUDIOS A Finnish Concept Redefining Co-Living in Warsaw Noli Mokotow. Photo by Noli Studios

Noli Studios, a concept created in 2019 in Helsinki by NREP, is dedicated to young home-seekers and travelers looking for the comforts of home and the amenities of a hotel. In October 2023, 280 studios in Noli Mokotow were opened in Warsaw. Tuomas Asunmaa and Julia Morta talked with Head of Commercial for Noli Studios Ilkka Kaakinen about the company’s entry to the Polish market.

Polish people. I love that it feels like the whole nation is actively moving forward.

Do you also plan to move to other Polish cities in the next few years?

Why do you think that Noli Studios will be interesting for Polish customers?

We entered the Polish market very recently, but of course we are planning to expand as rapidly as sensibly possible to other major cities in Poland as well. The first impression we got from the market is that we are very welcomed here. The Polish people seem very fond of our Concept already.

In the Nordic countries, around 50% people live alone. The percentage is slightly lower in Poland, but it’s increasing as well. We created this co-living concept, Noli Studios, to offer a home-like, flexible solution for any length of stay. We provide things that people need to live full lives, for example, by creating activities for our tenants that help them connect. What is your target group?

Why did you decide to expand to Poland? NREP identified significant potential in the residential market in Poland. It seemed that the Finnish concept of Noli Studios would fit well into the Polish market. We started the collaboration together with YIT.

The main target group are young urban professionals looking for home. Other than that, we host people with temporary housing needs as well as for those who look for regular hotel accommodation. Noli Studios are also great for expats or international students who have difficulties finding proper housing in a new country.

Were there any surprises from the Polish market?

What is included in your offer?

When it comes to real estate, everything is different in every country. The biggest surprise in Poland was the legislation, such as fiscal policies and construction development processes. What positively surprised me was this optimistic, can-do attitude of

The prices start from PLN 3 400 per month and include a furnished studio with a balcony, utilities, and access to 580 sqm of common area, such as a gym, meeting rooms, co-working spaces, movie and game rooms, and a rooftop terrace.


Are there any Finnish elements in the design of Noli Mokotow? Yes, we have integrated a lot of Finnish design ideas there. For instance, we have small Moomin characters on the shelves and other little hints to our Finnish roots. We also always make sure that our site fits into the neighborhood. That’s why we used the help of Iliard, a renowned Polish company for interior design. What advice would you give to someone planning to enter the Polish market? It's very important to get to know the local legal regulations and taxation procedures, because they are quite complicated. I believe that good research takes you a long way. Don't underestimate the importance of knowledge and data when going into business in Poland. And of course, remember to put effort in sourcing good local partners.

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

Lev Rubinstein

Lev Rubinstein. Photo by Oddlygood

Oddlygood - Oddlygood’s Recipe for Polish Market Entry

ODDLYGOOD'S RECIPE FOR POLISH MARKET ENTRY A Conversation with Lev Rubinstein Oddlygood, founded in 2018 in Finland, offers plantbased products with exceptional taste. The company entered the Polish market in 2021 and has been expanding there ever since. Lev Rubinstein, Head of European Sales at Oddlygood, talked with Julia from Spondeo about the company’s journey on the Polish market, Finnish and Polish business cultures, and main trends in the food industry.

Why did Oddlygood choose Poland as a direction for expansion? Our parent company, Valio, was already successfully operating on the Polish market with PROfeel protein products. I was responsible for this project from Valio’s side, so it was a natural step to also bring Oddlygood to Poland. We pay close attention to the desires of local consumers and we have observed a growing interest in plant-based products, especially among young Polish consumers. This has made Poland an appealing market for us to enter. It is also true that Finnish quality is appreciated in Poland, both by consumers and professional society. What challenges did you encounter when entering the Polish market? The Polish market is known to have some of the lowest retail prices in Europe, which was one of the major difficulties given that Oddlygood products are in the everyday premium category. However, prices have been increasing in recent years and are now nearly at the same level as in Western Europe. A second challenge is that the plant-based sector in Poland is also fiercely competitive, with well-established local companies like Inka and Sante. Despite that, we are confident that Oddlygood, with its great taste, will be a success on the Polish market.

You have seven years of experience in doing business in Poland. What surprised you the most when you first came here? During my first negotiations on the Polish market, I was surprised by how straightforward the managers and buyers are. However, I appreciate this direct approach because it challenges me and makes the sense of achievement after successful negotiations even more satisfying. What are currently the main trends in the food industry? Major trends in both countries include sustainability, reducing sugar content, and increasing nutritional value. Plant-based products have also been gaining popularity among flexitarians, who incorporate them into their diets because of the health benefits and superior taste. What are the main differences between Polish and Finnish markets? One significant difference is that Finland only has three modern retailers, while Poland has over fifty, including both modern and traditional ones. The practices also differ. In Finland there are specific trade windows for product reviews and adjustments to the product list, whereas on the Polish market things are more flexible. The strategic approach in Poland

can vary depending on what retail you are targeting. For example, discounters like Biedronka, Dino, and Lidl play a major role in the retail landscape, and significantly impact product performance and distribution. What advice would you give to a Finnish company considering expansion to Poland? It may be surprising for newcomers to discover that starting a business in Poland is a very personal thing. Everything depends on relationships, and it is crucial to establish them right from the start. Your success depends on both product quality and the person leading the expansion. Therefore, I recommend choosing the project leader carefully. Of course, it is also important to ensure that the product fits well with market conditions and to have someone on the ground in Poland. What are Oddlygood’s further plans for Poland? We are continuously working to expand our presence on the Polish market, including retail, food service, cafes, and gas stations. We consider Poland a strategic market and have plans to introduce more 'Oddlygood' products in the near future. Stay tuned!


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Orion Pharma - Interview with Wojciech Szwedziński

INTERVIEW WITH WOJCIECH SZWEDZIŃSKI Insights from Managing a Finnish Pharmaceutical Giant in Poland for 20+ Years Poland is the largest and the most important country in the region and one of key countries for Orion Pharma globally.

for me was the importance of good communication and collaboration with HQ to secure the growth of local operations in Poland.

Do you use Finnish roots in your marketing? Finnish quality and sticking to regulations is well known in Poland and we use it a lot in our marketing communication. Quality is key for medicines and Finnish quality makes a difference. Wojciech Szwedziński. Photo by Orion Pharma

Orion Pharma is a globally operating, Finnish pharmaceutical company that expanded to Poland in 2002. Currently, the Polish team consists of over 100 professionals. Tuomas Asunmaa interviewed Head of the EE Region Wojciech Szwedziński, who has been managing Orion Pharma in Poland for more than 20 years. What is the history of Orion Pharma in Poland, and when did you join the company? I have the honor of being the first Orion Pharma employee in Poland and I established Orion Pharma’s operations in Poland. However, the history of Orion Pharma products in Poland is far longer, as some of them were already authorized back before the political changes of 1989. What market entry strategies did you use when first establishing the Polish branch? Orion started operations in Poland with a relatively short product portfolio. From the beginning, we agreed to expand operations through portfolio development directed to a selected customer group – the CNS segment of the pharma market. How important is the Polish market in the CEE Region?


What sets Orion Pharma apart from its competitors in Poland? People we have in our organization are the most important, given that advertising prescribed medicines to the public domain is not permitted. What was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Orion, and the pharma market in general in Poland? As COVID-19 is a disease, it did not impact the pharma market negatively itself. There was much higher consumption of products directly or indirectly linked to COVID-19. However, some market segments were declining. For Orion Pharma in Poland, 2020 was a challenging year as the consumption of certain products decreased. Despite that, we managed and are back on the growth path now. With over two decades at this company, what major changes have you observed in the industry? The Polish pharma market is very dynamic. The industry is highly regulated, much more than other sectors. Changes in regulations (such as price or reimbursement) trigger changes that affect the entire market and have a huge impact on our business. Over the last 20 years, I’ve noticed an increase in innovative treatments available to Polish patients, thanks to coverage by the reimbursement system. That was not the case during the first 10 years after 1989. What lessons have you learned during that time? I have learnt so many lessons that it’s hard to list them all. The most valuable

What achievements are you particularly proud of? I’m most proud of the talented colleagues I have been able to gather around me at Orion Pharma Poland, and who have been a massive support for company growth in the past and securing its growth in the future. How would you compare Finnish and Polish cultures? In my opinion, Finns and Poles share many similarities. I would say that Finns are more patient. What are your top 3 rules of effective management? Listening, asking the question “why?”, and delegating/empowering team members. What advice would you give to Finnish companies considering expansion to Poland? Do it, as soon as possible! Poland is a great country and there are still many great business opportunities. The most critical thing is to find a committed and trustworthy individual to start operations. An entrepreneur ready to build your success in Poland. This is not easy, but possible. What are your next plans on the Polish market? To develop Orion Pharma’s business further. We plan to introduce more products in the CNS segment, but also to enter new therapeutic areas. We would also like to continue to introduce to Poland more and more self-care products, available through pharmacy channels. These products are very popular in Finland. It would be beneficial for Poles if they were able to purchase and use them as well.

Orkla - Orkla’s Expansion to Poland

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories Photo by Orkla


Founded over 360 years ago in Oslo, Orkla is a leading supplier of branded products and concept solutions in Norway, Finland, Benelux and Germany. Orkla also owns The European Pizza Company, one of the top pizza franchise chains in Europe, with a network of 860 outlets. In 2022, Orkla acquired 74% of the shares in the Polish franchise chain Da Grasso. The CEO of The European Pizza Company is Finn Tommi Tervanen, the former CEO of the Finnish Kotipizza chain, which Orkla acquired in 2019. Tuomas Asunmaa had a chance to sit down with Tommi and exchange a few words about the company’s expansion to the Polish market. How was Da Grasso selected? Did you specifically look for targets on the Polish market, or simply attractive companies on a European scale? We actively scan the European market and focus on out-of-home spending and market size.

Acquiring a Large Slice of the Polish Pizza Market Poland checked a lot of boxes in our view and Da Grasso, being a market leader in Poland with a well-established operation since 1996, convinced us to take a closer look. Did anything surprise you during the acquisition or integration process? The acquisition went smoothly, largely because we are an industrial buyer who knows this business inside out, from dough to toppings. We also selected great local advisors to ensure a swift due diligence process and effective work. How does the Polish pizza market look from a Finnish perspective? The Polish and Finnish pizza markets have many similarities. In both countries there are national hero brands like Da Grasso and Kotipizza, as well as international competition and artisanal Neapolitan-style pizzerias. Da Grasso has tailored their pizza taste to satisfy Polish taste buds, much like Kotipizza is made specifically for Finnish consumers. We have a fantastic franchise chain in both Poland and Finland, operating a total of 480 restaurants. Da Grasso currently has 180 restaurants in Poland, and the potential for further growth is very promising.

Have you implemented any good lessons or practices from Poland in your work? Yes, I have spent one and a half years working with Da Grasso management, and we have shared best practices regarding franchisee culture and product development. What's your favorite place and restaurant in Poland? Do you also enjoy Polish cuisine? Before this acquisition, I had never been to Poland. The last 18 months have made me fall in love with this country. I love spending time in Warsaw's Old Town, Manufaktura in Łódź, and in the City Walls in Kraków. Polish cuisine has also taken me by storm. It’s difficult to say no to tartare, pierogi, or delicious kiełbasa. Warsaw and Lodz have many great restaurants. In Warsaw, my favorites are Alewino, Bar Rascal, and Epoka. In Łódź, I usually hang out in Manufaktura, checking out various casual restaurants. What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about entering the Polish consumer market? A strong brand is everything. That's my philosophy with Da Grasso. A strong brand provides you with security and also experimental flexibility.


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Purmo - 30 Years of Purmo Radiator Production in Poland Purmo Group Poland sp. z o. o. +48 22 544 10 00 Purmo factory in Rybnik. Photo by Purmo


When the Purmo brand of panel radiators appeared on the Polish market in 1992, it completely changed the market for heating solutions in the country. How did this company, belonging to an international concern with Finnish roots, sell a record number of over 17 million panel radiators in Poland over 30 years? Statistically, this means that there is at least one Purmo brand radiator in every Polish home. Most of them come from the largest factory of the concern, located in Rybnik, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Expanding in Rybnik Poland is one of the most important and developed markets for the Purmo concern. Therefore, already after the first year of activity in the country, a strategic decision was made to build a new Purmo factory in Rybnik. It started production of panel radiators in 1993 and quickly became the largest and most modern production plant of the concern. Currently, more than 2 million radiators are delivered from Rybnik to customers worldwide every year.


The factory's management is constantly working on increasing the efficiency of production. Currently, the factory employs almost 500 people and is one of the largest employers in Rybnik. In March 2023, a new production hall was officially opened, where a so-called hybrid line - capable of producing both vertical and horizontal radiator models will be installed. Effective team, extraordinary results In 2017, the management of the Rybnik factory was taken over by a new director - Barbara Katychów, who has been associated with the plant for 20 years. In just one year production reached a record level - 2.7 million radiators! "In any process, the most important thing for me is the people. The success we achieve in the production plant in Rybnik is possible primarily thanks to the team of specialists who work with full commitment for the success of the Purmo brand. The building of the new production line was possible thanks to extremely effective teamwork between all departments of our factory. Some of the people who symbolically cut the ribbon have been working in our factory since the very beginning - that is, for 30 years! Thanks to a team of top-notch specialists in the Rybnik factory, we are constantly improving our processes,

keeping in mind the ecology of the entire production cycle, which has become our passion." - concludes Barbara Katychów. Green production Already at the production stage, Purmo searches for solutions that optimize energy consumption and reduce negative impact on the environment. All steel radiators are durable and 100 percent recyclable after use. In the future, the company intends to use so-called green steel - made using hydrogen instead of coal and coke. Such steel is already being produced in Scandinavia. In addition, Purmo uses recycled brass with low lead content in its products. Comfort delivered In recent years, Purmo has also been strengthening its position as a supplier of complex heating systems, which include pipe systems, surface heating, radiators (panel, bathroom, decorative, duct) and control mechanisms. The company's philosophy is briefly and accurately conveyed by the slogan "comfort delivered", which means that Purmo solutions combine various elements in one goal - the most effective heating corresponding to the needs of the house and its inhabitants.

Rex Nordic - Market Entry Done Right

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

MARKET ENTRY DONE RIGHT Rex Nordic Storms Into the Polish market

Photo by Rex Nordic

Poland was on our roadmap for 2023 and we have managed to create an efficient & skilled sales team to cover the market. We think that the market in Poland is ripe with opportunities, and our top-quality products are wellpositioned to capitalize on this growth. With a focus on excellent customer support and reliable after-sales service, we aim to build trust and deliver the best possible experience for our Polish customers. We are committed to delivering superior products and services to contribute to a more sustainable and comfortable future for all.”

Rex Nordic coolers are environmentally friendly cooling solutions for larger spaces like factories, garages, warehouses, greenhouses, restaurants, shops and for industries like manufacturing, aviation, horticulture, animal farming, etc. They are natural and effective cooling solution with GWP 0 – only using water to cool, no refrigerant!

”We strive for market leadership for our product groups on all markets that we enter: now we are market leader in mobile heaters and coolers in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and UK, soon in rest of Europe. In hot tubs we’re growing fast with the same target. At present we have +1200 retailers and our own operations in 9 countries. We believe in excellent customer service and strive for that in everything we do. Our head office and hot tub

production facilities of 3500 m2 are located in Askola, Finland, about 50 km east of the capital Helsinki. And our new central warehouse is in Gerbershausen in Thüringen, Germany”, says Caspar Berntzen, the CEO of Rex Nordic Group. During 2023 Rex Nordic entered the Polish market by establishing a local company and hiring 4 sales representatives and sales support to grow the Polish sales network.

Photo by Rex Nordic

The CEO of Rex Nordic, Caspar Berntzen, is excited to be able to bring new top productsto the Polish market and promises to offer innovative solutions for all kinds of spaces. This is a picture from last fall, when Rex Nordic Group did charity work and sent heaters to Ukraine worth almost 90,000 euros.

Pho to b y Re x No


Photo by Rex Nordic

Rex Nordic Group is the market leader in mobile heaters and coolers in Europe. The company is rapidly growing with a turnover of over 20 million euros and has unique high quality products and the best customer service and after sales. Two main product groups of Rex Nordic are: the most efficient mobile heaters & coolers for professionals for different sized spaces, and handcrafted premium hot tubs with the fastest heating time.

Rexener Bio Water Heater is the most affordable and fastest heating system for whirlpools, swimming pools and hot tubs. It can heat 1500l of water in two hours from +7 degrees to +38 degrees, including the time spent adding water. Rexener Bioheater also has the power to heat up a really large 50,000 liter swimming pool – all year round.

Airrex (est. 1986) is the market leader in infrared mobile heaters. The bioheaters work with biodiesel or diesel. With Airrex heaters you can save money on heating costs. Example of consumption: 2,5L / day, when heating a space of 500m³ with 15°C inside temperature and -0°C outside (the consumption is affected by the insulation of the space).


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Scanfil - Trusted Manufacturing Partner

Scanfil Poland +48 32 746 79 00 Brzezińska 59, 41-404 Mysłowice, Poland Mysłowice factory. Photo by Wojciech Mateusiak

TRUSTED MANUFACTURING PARTNER Mysłowice factory. Photo by Wojciech Mateusiak

Scanfil is an international manufacturing partner and system supplier for the most demanding customers in the electronic industry. The history of Scanfil dates back to 1976 when Jorma J. Takanen, an entrepreneur from North Ostrobothnia, established Scanfil Oy, a manufacturer of sheet metal mechanics for the electronics industry, in Sievi, Finland. The first production facility was a garage but the plans for a Scanfil factory soon became a reality. Today, Scanfil is a trusted manufacturing partner that provides its customers with an extensive array of services, ranging from product design to product manufacturing, material procurement and logistics solutions. Its network of factories consists of 9 production units in Europe, Asia and North America.

Scanfil Invests Significantly in its Growth in Poland supplier of after-sales market services, and through the transaction, doubled its size in terms of turnover, personnel, and number of production facilities. As a result of the acquisition, Scanfil also gained two factories in Poland, located in Mysłowice and Sieradz. From the very early on, it was clear that Poland would be one of the primary growth markets for Scanfil. As stated by the former CEO Petteri Jokitalo in 2017, when Scanfil announced that: it will double the size of its Sieradz factory:

We believe that growth will continue at our plant in Poland, and the objective of this investment is to secure our services and competitiveness, also in the future. For our customers, this investment means that we are better able to respond to their growing demand in Europe and globally”. Scanfil to invest EUR 20 million in a new factory building in Sieradz, Poland

Poland is one of the key growth areas for Scanfil In 2015, Scanfil acquired its Swedish competitor, PartnerTech AB, a globally operating contract manufacturer and


In August 2023, Scanfil announced that it decided to invest in a new factory building of 14,000 m² in Sieradz, Poland. With the expansion, the factory floor area will increase by over 70%, making Scanfil

Sieradz the largest Scanfil factory in terms of floor space. The investment of EUR 20 million covers the construction of the new building and associated building technology. In addition, the expansion will require investments in production and warehouse technology. The project was started in August 2023, and the new building is estimated to be ready for production in 2025. This marked the second large investment in less than a year in Sieradz. In January 2023, Scanfil decided to invest EUR 6 million in electronics manufacturing capacity that came into use in August 2023. Moreover, in the past years, Scanfil has invested significantly in automation in its Mysłowice factory. The future of Scanfil Poland looks bright In September 2023, Scanfil appointed Christophe Sut as the new CEO of Scanfil. According to Sut, Poland offers interesting investment opportunities for Scanfil also in the future. “Both Sieradz and Mysłowice factories are important close-to-customermarket facilities that enable us to serve the growing manufacturing needs of our existing and new customers in Europe”, says Sut, and continues: “In addition, we could not be happier with our dedicated employees in Poland that continuously work to develop our operations and practices to meet and exceed customer expectations”.

Teknikum - Teknikum’s GREEN & SMART Material Handling Solution Now in Poland Salpomec - Conveyor Systems from Lahti for Europe’s Largest Online Shopping Return Center in Poland

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories Piotr Świeżawski Business Development Manager PIOMET

Teknikum’s GREEN & SMART Material Handling Solution Now in Poland Teknikum’s GREEN & SMART abrasive material handling solution became available in Poland in March 2023. The comprehensive pipeline solution, including abrasive hoses and rubber lined steel pipes, is represented by local sales company PIOMET based in Kraków. Teknikum is a forerunner in wear-resistant solutions for highly abrasive environments. Known for its long experience and innovative material development, the Finnish company introduced new products utilizing renewable and recycled

Photo by Teknikum

rubber in 2022. The solution includes a new line of ceramic hoses and bends that have proven exceptional for over a decade in transferring boiler sand and slurry, including coal and iron ore. Completed with expert field-services and engineering know-how, Teknikum has now set foot on the Polish market, offering the best possible customer experience for its industrial customers.

“Power plants and other industrial operators who handle abrasive materials in their process are looking more and more into innovative and cost-efficient solutions. Additionally, the use of sustainable linings and recycled materials increases operational and environmental safety”, says Mr. Piotr Świeźawski, business development manager in PIOMET.

Conveyor Systems from Lahti for Europe's Largest Online Shopping Return Center in Poland Tripoint Oy, a Lahti-based supplier of hanging garment systems, has been delivering products manufactured under the Salpomec brand all over the world for three decades, focusing on companies in the clothing industry. On the domestic market, Tripoint also provides businesses from other sectors with mezzanine floors and storage solutions.

Salpomec conveyor systems Photo by Salpomec

Tripoint maintains close cooperation with Polish logistics operator Spedimex (since June 2023: ID Logistics) and recently delivered a large conveyor system to its facility in Stryków, which is Europe's largest online returns center. "Our products are well suited to the logistic needs of the growing e-commerce market. They enable efficient processing of deliveries and returns," says Tripoint

CEO, Jarkko Kuusisto. The delivered system is almost completely automatic and developed specifically for processing returns. "The goal is to process considerable amounts of clothing returns as efficiently and quickly as possible." ”Poland is one of the main logistics hubs in Europe for the e-commerce sector and the market is experiencing very dynamic growth. We are constantly in negotiations for more installations and hope to release more news soon. Meanwhile, we have recently delivered our systems to markets such as Turkey, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.”


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Tietoevry - Growth and Diversity in the Polish IT Landscape Photo by Tietoevry

TIETOEVRY? TIETOEVRY Growth and Diversity in the Polish IT Landscape The new office opening, Warsaw. Photo by Anna Jędrzejewska

Tietoevry is a leading technology company specializing in cloud, data, and software, and serving thousands of enterprise and public-sector customers in more than 90 countries. The company entered the Polish market in 2002 and currently has more than 1000 employees in six cities: Szczecin, Wrocław, Kraków, Warsaw, Gliwice and Poznań.

Tietoevry Poland in 2023 This year Tietoevry opened a new office in Warsaw. The teams are responsible for building search engines and creating corporate searches, for example for the e-commerce industry. The official opening of the new office was combined with a panel focused on the female perspective in IT. Tietoevry believes that diversity significantly increases the innovativeness of its projects. At the moment, 23% of the company’s staff in Poland are women, while the national average in IT is about 15.5%. Tietoevry aims to achieve equal representation of men and women by 2030. To reach this goal, in 2023 the company carried out the “Being an IT Girl”


campaign. It began with lectures in schools to encourage young people, especially girls, to develop an inte rest in IT. The objective was to show that this industry is for everyone, with many different job opportunities, not only for programmers but also in areas like project management. The culmination of the campaign was a conference in June in Szczecin. In September, Tietoevry Poland signed the Diversity Charter, an international initiative promoted by the European Commission. The signatories declare their intent to ban discrimination and create diversity in the workplace. Where do your customers come from? Most of Tietoevry Poland’s projects are for foreign companies operating in automotive and telecommunications sectors. We have an increasing number of projects for public healthcare in Nordic countries. Tietoevry also conducts business in Poland for domestic customers, especially in the area of search and information findability. What distinguishes Tietoevry from other IT companies in Poland? I would say that our Nordic origins and values are what make us different. We look at every employee as a human being first.

We are also heavily investing in diversity. By taking into account the points of view of various social groups, we are able to implement our projects in a more innovative and effective way. We also pay attention to sustainability. What is the overall growth potential of the IT market in Poland? The potential is still huge. Even though many companies have been affected by the ongoing difficult economic situation in Poland, there is a demand for good specialists and a shortage of them on the market. While it is currently much more difficult for juniors to enter the industry, the demand for high-end specialists remains high. What advice would you give to a Finnish tech company interested in entering the Polish market? I can say that they will certainly find many great experts in Poland who approach work in a very conscientious way. Countries from all over the world are now remotely recruiting in Poland because they know that the level of education here is very high. Just by looking at the example of Tietoevry, you can see the massive potential of the Polish market – we keep opening new offices and our teams are constantly growing.

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

Unikie - Unikie’s New Chapter in Poland New office in Wrocław. Photo by CitySpace


Photo by New office in CitySpace Wrocław

Unikie, a Finnish software company known for its innovative solutions, opened its Polish branch in early 2020 with just three people on-board. By the end of 2022, the team consisted of 60 members and the company has continued to grow. In July 2023, Unikie made a strategic decision to expand its operations by opening a new office in Wrocław.

New office in Wrocław. Photo by CitySpace

Office opening celebration Photo by Unikie

Combining Finnish Expertise with Polish Innovation New office in Wrocław

Unikie’s ambitious plans in Poland

The new office represents more than just physical expansion – it signals Unikie's commitment to harnessing the abundant IT talent pool in Lower Silesia. Situated in a prime location near Germany and the Czech Republic, Wrocław has emerged as a leading IT hub in Central Europe. Recognizing this, Unikie's decision to set up an office here serves a dual purpose: bringing the company closer to its expanding clientele in the automotive sector and tapping into the city's vibrant tech community.

The company has set its sights high, targeting a growth rate of 20-40% in the next six months. This ambitious goal is rooted in a strategy that focuses on two main areas: strengthening its foothold in the automotive sector and making significant inroads into the field of secure communication.

Wrocław office, although starting with just 10 members, is a powerhouse. The team is deeply involved in automotive services, playing a pivotal role in Unikie's automotive R&D. Their focus on Automated Vehicle Marshaling and product development shows the company's dedication to pushing the boundaries in the automotive tech realm. "Diversification in both business and technology is the key to our success," emphasizes Piotr Januszko, the country manager for Poland. Under his guidance, Unikie Poland has ventured into domains such as Industry 4.0 and Automotive. In terms of technology, Januszko has focused on expanding in cloud computing, Embedded C++, Golang, QA, and Python.

Beyond service offerings, Unikie is investing heavily in product development. Their Automated Vehicle Marshaling solution, which has already garnered interest, is set to undergo further enhancements. The vision is to adapt this technology for broader applications, including buses and autonomous parcel transport. Unikie's journey in Poland, especially with its new office in Wrocław, is a testament to the company's forward-thinking approach and commitment to innovation. As the line between software and automotive tech continues to blur, Unikie stands ready to lead the way, combining Finnish expertise with Polish innovation.

Piotr Januszko Country Manager +48 880 266 992


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Peikko - Insights Into Peikko’s Expansion New office in Wrocław. Photo by Peikko

INSIGHTS INTO PEIKKO'S EXPANSION Interview with the CEO Topi Paananen. Photo by Peikko

Peikko, headquartered in Lahti, Finland, operates in the construction field, specializing in steel components related to concrete structures and frames. In October 2023, Peikko established an office in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Topi Paananen, the CEO of Peikko, shared with us the story of expansion to the Ukrainian market.

Based on information from our customers, there is a shortage of labor due to war-related demands. To stimulate the construction industry, it's crucial to have a workforce. While it is just the beginning of the rebuilding process, we are already committed to being a part of the revitalization process – not just because our products help optimize labor costs, which is essential in a market with limited labor resources, but also because we want to do business ethically. We aim to create jobs and contribute to Ukrainian society.

Peikko's international expansion has been quite impressive. Can you share more about the company's journey?

Could you share any other insights about the rebuilding efforts in Ukraine?

Peikko has come a long way since its inception. Our innovative solutions offer a faster, safer, and more sustainable way to design and build. We've expanded to as many as 34 countries. Our largest factory is located in Finland, but our Central and Eastern European locations are supplied by plants in Lithuania, Slovakia, and Romania. With 12 factories globally, we ensure fast and efficient deliveries to our markets. Office opening celebration You've recently made the decision to open a branch in Ukraine. What is the current situation on the Ukrainian market?


It's important to approach it with the right perspective. For example, there has been ongoing construction in Lviv due to a rapid increase in population since the start of the war. However, the situation in the eastern part of Ukraine is quite different. What advice would you offer to a company considering entering the Ukrainian market now? I would emphasize the importance of taking a long-term view. In these challenging times, there are no quick solutions. Commit to actions that make sense in the long run. Being present on the market from the very beginning

can be a huge advantage. It will be remembered and may result in real business opportunities. If you decide to work with consultants promising miracles, be cautious in selecting them. How do you see Poland's role in the rebuilding efforts in Ukraine? I think Poland has a crucial role to play. Poland’s support will be remembered and I’m sure it will have a significant impact on mutual business in the future. The recently elected democratic government further enhances the prospects for collaboration. Additionally, Poland's geographical proximity is a great advantage. What areas do you think Ukraine should focus on improving in the near future? Ukraine, like Poland in the early '90s, is at a stage where the financial resources are flowing. The challenge is to control and direct it effectively. Addressing issues related to Russia, corruption, and oligarchs is paramount. Ukraine needs to ensure that funds are allocated efficiently and that economic growth is sustainable.

Topi Paananen, CEO +358 50 384 3001

Rebuild Ukraine - Rebuild Ukraine 2.0 and an Interview with Henri Riihimäki

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

REBUILD UKRAINE 2.0 IN WARSAW and an Interview with Henri Riihimäki from Foreign Ministry of Finland What surprised you about the fair?

The ReBuild Ukraine exhibition and conference took place on 14-15 November 2023 in Warsaw. The event gathered over 5000 attendees from various global organizations. 26 Ukrainian communities were represented at the Ukraine Pavilion. All participants were able to visit a unique exposition of construction technologies, equipment and materials, green technologies and showcased global achievements of construction and energy industries introduced by the leading 557 manufacturers from 21 countries. Finland had the second largest delegation after Germany, comprising almost 60 companies as exhibitors and plenty of other visitors. Business Finland attracted over 40 companies to their delegation, together with the Minister of Foreign Trade, Ville Tavio. Business Finland also organized a networking meeting before the fair officially started. The event organizer Premier Expo team would like to sincerely thank Business Finland and all participants from Finland for being a part of ReBuild Ukraine powered by Energy. Weronika and Tuomas from Spondeo spoke to Henri Riihimäki from the Ukraine team of the Foreign Ministry of Finland about the fair and opportunities.

There was a large crowd, but we would have liked more Ukrainians to attend. Especially Ukrainian companies that could be partners for Finns. Overall, we are satisfied by the fair and the Finns' understanding of the reconstruction of Ukraine certainly increased a lot. Will delegations from Finland also come to the next ReBuild Ukraine fairs in 2024? This will be decided according to the situation. Business Finland does not usually organize such extensive delegations for fair events, but if we find interested participants then future fairs must be seriously considered. Our goal is to support Ukraine and Ukrainians in their efforts during Russia's aggression and long after. Do you think Finnish companies have also become more interested in the Polish market? Yes, there were quite a few Polish companies at the fair and Finnish participants had a chance to get to know them. Some companies see Poland as a natural stopover destination for Ukraine. As a market, Poland is generally considerably larger than Ukraine. I think that all these factors will encourage Finnish companies to be more interested in Poland. Do you have any tips for Finns who are thinking about possibilities in Ukraine? Finnish companies have to learn a new way of doing business, especially when the buyer's financing comes from a third party and the buying company may not have it directly. Establishing yourself in Ukraine requires at least the same amount of work as establishing yourself in any other country. However, Ukraine is a more unfamiliar market for us Finns, so some homework was required to get to know it better. That’s what the fair was about. In the future, Finns will have a better understanding of what is needed in order to do business in Ukraine.

Photos by Tuomas Asunmaa & Weronika Gidel-Asunmaa


Success stories | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Uponor - From a Carpenter’s production to a Leader in Plumbing, Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems

Uponor Sp. z o. o. Photo by Uponor

UPONOR’S HISTORY Uponor Thermal Active Building System (TABS) - an innovative solution for modern buildings. Photo by Uponor

Initially confined to its local area of operations, Uponor has grown into a global player that is revolutionizing the construction industry with top-quality solutions for water piping, radiant heating and cooling systems, control automation and pre-insulated networks. For more than half a century, the company has been successfully winning the trust of global customers with innovative products, continuous improvement, and superior quality. Today, Uponor is focusing on its growth strategy in Poland and the rest of Europe. Historical outline It's hard to say that the 1920s was a favorable time to open a business. However, this was the decision made by Aukusti Asko-Avonius, who in 1918 established a factory in Lahti, Finland, to mass-produce furniture. Great success led to the opening of Upo Oy in 1938, which was dedicated to the manufacture of cast iron products and household goods and was headed by Asko-Avonius' son. Since then, production has expanded, first


From a Carpenter’s Production to a Leader in Plumbing, Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems

Uponor solutions for multifamily and commercial buildings

focusing on the manufacture of sewer pipes, to the production of plastic pipes and fittings. After 1990, the company has began to expand internationally, entering the European market and the US. In Poland, Uponor's operations are conducted by two separate companies: Uponor Sp. z o. o. (since 1995) - solutions for construction and Uponor Infra Sp. z o. o. (since 1993) infrastructure solutions for external networks. Growth in Poland in the spirit of sustainability Today, Uponor products are used in a wide variety of construction projects in Poland and around the world, from luxury residential complexes to schools, hospitals, industrial facilities or playing fields and airports. The company not only provides technical solutions and top-quality customer support but is also committed to the development of sustainable construction, focusing on energy efficiency, and minimizing environmental impact both in its operations and encouraging its customers to do the same.

“Sustainability is very important to us. As part of Uponor's operations, we take several measures to reduce CO2 emissions, protect water resources or support local communities. We also encourage our customers and partners to do the same. We believe that only systemic change makes sense. We want to change the face of the construction industry, which is why more and more products containing renewable or recycled raw materials are appearing in our portfolio like Uponor PEX Pipe Blue - world’s first bio-based PEX pipes, and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), ensuring full transparency of the environmental impact of our solutions, have an increasing number of items in our portfolio. We aim to cover 90% of our product portfolio EPDs by 2027, and the entire product portfolio latest by 2030”, explains Sylwia Palasz-Talarek, Manager, Marketing Communications Poland, Ukraine & Baltics at Uponor. In addition, Uponor has completed the integration process with Polish manufacturer Capricorn in 2023. After intensive months of preparation, customers were presented with a new harmonized portfolio and even more efficient technical support. The expansion of operations in Poland also made it possible to move production from the factory in Ehingen, Germany, to Świebodzice in Lower Silesia.

Business Support Companies in the Polish Market

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Success stories

Business Support Companies in the Polish Market When Spondeo asked for advice for Finnish companies that might be thinking about entering the Polish market, several managers of Finnish-Polish businesses emphasized the importance of having a strong support network in Poland. This section comprises articles and interviews with experts boasting years of experience in helping Nordic companies to enter and expand in the Polish market. The provided insights cover a wide array of industries, including production, real estate, food, software development, law, and accounting. Andrzej & Piotr from Spondeo Photo by Anna Jędrzejewska


Business Support | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Ecovis Legal Poland - 15 Years of Legal Support for Finnish Businesses in Poland


Ecovis Legal Poland Multan, Pruś & Partners Law and Tax Firm is a well-established law firm with more than 20 years of history. We have assisted more than 60 Finnish companies starting to conduct business in Poland. Ecovis has 15 years of experience in serving Finnish companies investing in Poland and actively participates in the Finnish business community in Poland, supporting it and performing several functions at the Finnish Trade Guild (FTG) and the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce (SPCC). We provide comprehensive assistance for businesses in the following areas: company law and contracts; foreign companies entry support; investments, mergers and acquisitions; tax advice on domestic and international taxes; litigation; negotiations and mediation; legal due diligence on projects and companies; labor law. What is Ecovis? Ecovis is a global consulting firm with its origins in Continental Europe. It has almost 11,100 people operating in more than 90 countries. Its consulting focus and core competencies lie in the areas of tax consultation, legal advice, accounting, auditing as well as M&A deals making.

Ecovis Legal Poland Multan, Pruś & Partners Law and Tax Firm +48 22 400 45 85

36 Sponsored article

15 Years of Legal Support for Finnish Businesses in Poland How did you start working with Finnish businesses?

Compliance paperwork is comparable as both jurisdictions are subject to EU law.

Our company has enjoyed more than 15 years of successful cooperation with dozens of companies from Finland that are now our clients in Poland. We serve a range of clients, mainly in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, but also IT and service companies. I think our success is due to the fact that we avoid excessive legal jargon, we are transparent and open – all aspects that are highly appreciated by our clients.

If Finns wanted to open a new company in Poland, what would be the basic process?

What are the basic differences in the main areas of law between Poland and Finland? In our legal systems some key differences stand out. One notable distinction is the involvement of notaries in setting up limited liability companies in Poland, a step not required in Finland. Foreigners face a number of complexities and certain simplified procedures, such as establishing limited liability companies online, are not available to foreigners. Tax and statutory reporting obligations require EIDAS e-signatures, but inconsistent standards across governmental portals complicate the process. In addition, Poland doesn’t really have the position of CEO, with management boards handling company management. And in litigation, winning parties receive legal fees capped by the law, often falling short of actual expenses. How about labor law? Is it stricter or more flexible in Poland than in Finland? Polish labor regulations offer more flexibility, but also come with more bureaucratic hurdles in critical areas as well as more bureaucracy in basic compliance requirements. Employment can only be terminated for valid reasons in both countries, but Poland caps compensation for wrongful termination at three months' salary, whereas Finland often awards higher compensation. Polish law strictly outlines contract types, whereby a trial period lasts for three months and employees can’t have more than three consecutive fixed-term contracts lasting a total period longer than 33 months.

Opening a company in Poland is straightforward, but foreign investors should certainly use a Polish lawyer. The foreign company can grant a power of attorney enabling remote setup without requiring a visit to Poland. The lawyer drafts the documents and files for electronic registration and it should take just a few weeks. However, setting up a bank account is timeconsuming due to strict AML rules. Very few banks allow remote signing, and certain Finnish banks, such as Nordea and Handelsbanken, do not operate in Poland. What advice would you give to Finnish companies wanting to enter the market now? Over the years, we have assisted in a number of Finnish investments in Poland, some of which have been successful, while others have faced event in Lublin challenges. Poland is a Kick-off developed, highly competitive market in many areas, so successful development in Poland requires trust and scale from the outset. It is essential to create a strong local organization with the right internal tools to ensure compliance and oversight of the local unit. Challenges arising from cultural differences can be overcome with effective solutions. Would you recommend entering by acquisition? Poland's mature market offers opportunities through acquisitions, especially as aging entrepreneurs are now thinking about exiting. Entering via acquisitions can be high risk and high reward. Investors must adhere to best practices, including proper documentation, exclusivity agreements, thorough due diligence, and be prepared for tough negotiations, particularly when dealing with family-owned businesses.

Expense Reduction Analysts - From Corporate Challenges to Cost Optimization

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Support

FROM CORPORATE CHALLENGES TO COST OPTIMIZATION A Journey to Business Success in Poland Henri Fagerstrom, a Finnish entrepreneur based in Poland, works with companies to increase their profitability and cash flow by optimizing costs. As a partner in Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), Henri has access to a global network of experts and resources to help clients in setting up, leaning and moving processes across Europe. The savings obtained are the result of his in-depth knowledge of the sector, professional negotiations with suppliers, and qualitative assessment of performance.

You lived in Poland for nine years before starting your own business in the ERA network, how did you end up there? Before joining ERA, I worked in the IT industry, leading regional and global teams on designing and re-engineering the finance processes and systems. However, my true passion has always been process and cost optimization – from strategy to execution. Unfortunately, in a corporate environment, there were always more pressing priorities than continuous improvement work. While working on the third global transformation and restructuring program, I started to explore alternatives to the 9 to 5 work. I always wanted to set up my own consulting practice where I could fully dedicate my time to process optimization. I tumbled into ERA and noticed that their operating model was strongly aligned with my values of transparency, efficiency, and results orientation. What is your typical case in Poland? My typical client is an international corporation running a manufacturing site in Poland for 5+ years. Once the company has established its operations and operates independently, we step in and support the management by optimizing their spend and leaning their processes to facilitate their growth.

Photo by SPCC

What do you typically find when you start crunching the numbers?

Photo by SPCC

There are no typical findings. Each project starts with a detailed analysis of the client’s spend and it always surprises me how much we can learn about the company and its operations just by looking at the spending. The experts can even quantify the company’s CO2 emissions just from invoices. What makes our work so interesting is that you never know what solution you will need to fix the issues identified from the numbers. Although the companies already know their costs, by grouping and categorizing we can bring a new point of view to the data. The alternative view starts to bring ideas about how to optimize the cost.

As someone who has been working in Poland for over a decade, I'm here to help others navigate this dynamic business landscape. Poland is a land of opportunity, and if you're considering making your mark here, don't hesitate to reach out – I'm just a message away. Henri Fagerstrom + 48 782 309 089

Can you name a few projects that you are most proud of? Certainly. We have just completed a cost optimization program that resulted in PLN 4M in annual cost savings for my client. The project was challenging but also very rewarding. My biggest achievement on a single project was savings of PLN 2M (43%). I believe we will be able to outperform this result within ERA Poland still this year. On average, the savings on my projects exceed 15%. I am particularly proud of projects related to decarbonization, which are great not only from the financial standpoint but also environmentally. Where are your clients from? My client base is truly global, but I am happy to share that Finnish companies have been the top 36% of the total clients in Poland since 2021, followed by Polish and American companies. What advice would you give to Finns running a factory in Poland? Whether you have just established your factory or you have already been operating in Poland for years, the truth is that you will need help to manage the operations. Do not hesitate to ask for external support. Poland is a big market where you can find the right solutions to meet your needs, you just need to know where to find them – and that’s where my clients turn to ERA for help. Why does Poland continue to attract production investments? Its geographical location makes Poland an ideal place to establish a manufacturing site. Germany, with 83M consumers, is justaround the corner and, combined with Poland’s population of 38M, that gives direct access to 120M consumers (27% of the EU population). Based on my experience, the Polish workforce is well educated, multilingual (nearly all millennials speak English) and hard-working. There are also attractive government initiatives supporting the manufacturing sector. I believe Poland is a very attractive market, in particular for Finns because of the core values shared by both nations – humbleness, strong work ethic, and diligence.

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Fazer - Fazer in Poland. Making Life Sweeter for More Than 30 Years Photo by Fazer

Business Support | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

FAZER IN POLAND Making Life Sweeter for More Than 30 Years Everyone knows that Fazer chocolates are the favorite treat of Finns. What you might not know is that the brand has also been known and loved by Poles for decades. If you ever wondered about the perfect business gift from Finland, Fazer sweets are a choice that is always appreciated by Polish partners. The Finnish food giant first appeared in Poland in the early 1990s. Right from the beginning, the Dumle brand has gained massive popularity on the Polish market. In 2021, Fazer set up its own company in Poland. Director CU International Michał Wójcik talked with Julia Morta about Fazer and the confectionery industry in Poland.

What brands do you offer in Poland? We used to offer mainly Dumle, but we recently expanded our product portfolio to include Geisha products and sweets under the Moomin license. In addition, we offer healthy oat milks (Aito and Willja brands) and 100% fruit smoothies. Are the preferences of Polish and Finnish customers similar? In Poland, Dumle remains a well-known and beloved brand that we also actively promote on our social media. In Finland, our umbrella brand is Karl Fazer, currently not available in Poland. Karl Fazer bars sell in large quantities and noticeably dominate the market. Apart from sweets, Fazer also offers bakery products in Finland, such as rye bread. Since most Poles prefer white bread, we haven't yet introduced any bakery products in Poland, but who knows, perhaps we will in the future. And what's your favorite candy? My favorite is the premium Fazer brand Geisha. It is based on a Japanese dessert recipe featuring a delicious combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.

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What have been the main challenges in the food sector in recent years? Everyone has faced significant challenges due to the sharp increases in raw material prices. Over the last three years, sugar, packaging, and milk have all become more expensive. Next year, chocolate mass is expected to reach its highest price ever. In Poland, the cost of all products on the shelves has risen, and the confectionery industry has not been immune to that. How would you compare Finnish and Polish cultures? I was quite surprised to discover that Poles and Finns have a lot of similarities. Finnish people are honest, keep their word, and approach work seriously. We also share a somewhat dark sense of humor. There are also some parallels in both nations’ history and their fight for independence. What trends are likely to shape the industry in the upcoming years? We'll have to wait and see what happens with raw material prices, as a great deal depends on that. There are many interesting developments in the industry. For instance, Fazer has been researching the potential of cellular agriculture for

future sustainable cocoa raw material production. Fazer, along with other companies, also makes an effort not to waste food and production waste, but to recycle them entirely. Last but not least, there is an increasing focus on obtaining and using energy efficiently. What advice would you give to Finnish food companies considering expansion to Poland? I think it’s important to have the market entry handled by Poles, or people who have lived in Poland for a while, because the reality of Polish trade can be shocking for those new to it. The market is very complicated and differentiated, with numerous customers. There are various chains, such as French, German, Portuguese and Lithuanian, and negotiations with retailers can be very demanding, so it’s helpful to find someone who knows how it all works. What are Fazer’s further plans for the Polish market? We aim to present ourselves as a strong premium brand in the minds of Polish customers. Fazer is committed to delivering authentic chocolate. We ensure that our recipes remain unchanged, consistently maintaining the highest quality.

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Support

HT Laser - Quality, Passion & Common Sense

HT LASER Quality, Passion & Common Sense Photo by HT Laser

HT Laser is a system and component supplier for global machine building companies and a flexible subcontracting partner for forest, paper, energy, marine, mining, and other industries. The company expanded to Poznań in 2011, with the Polish branch being run by Juha Savolainen, who is one of just a few Finnish factory managers in Poland. Juha shared with us what helps HT Laser to thrive on the Polish market, even during an economic slowdown. It seems like your production is running at full speed? We cannot complain at all. Let’s put it this way – we are not seeing any signs of a market slowdown. Of course we know that it is happening, but the trend is not having any influence on us. At least not yet. We have quite a good backlog of orders, at least until June 2024. Due to increasing demand, we will continue to invest strongly in 2024. We plan to double our cutting capacity with a new Bystronic 10 kW fiber laser in January 2024. In this way, we are able to ensure enough capacity for our current and future customers.

What are the main drivers of such a good order situation at HT Laser in Poland? Quality. Our goal is to keep it at the top level. That is our obsession. We have a really low number of claims from customers and that’s how we want to keep it. Quality comes first, everything else follows from that. As Henry Ford used to say: "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” You must have a fantastic crew? Correct, our staff is well qualified and very responsible. We employ 70 people here, with 20 of those from Ukraine. They feel the same passion for quality as I do. We are constantly looking for new well-qualified professionals to elevate our performance to the next level. We offer fair salaries and, from 2022, also private medical care. Where are your customers from? About 80% of our production is exported outside Poland, mainly to Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Our main focus is in the railway, mining and machine building industry. We also specialize in stainless steel and aluminum structures. This includes various kinds of fuel, water, and oil tanks.

We will have a new government in Poland soon. What do you expect from the political situation? I try to avoid politics. Maybe if the tax system was easier it would be good for everyone. I hope that the new government will at least not make it more complicated. What do you think about a 4-day working week? I don’t think it will work. At least not in the subcontracting business. It could be an option for office businesses and hybrid work models, but not in production companies for now. Do you work according to lean manufacturing principles? All our operations are managed by certified quality and environmental systems built according to ISO:9001 and ISO:14001 standards. In addition, we have the following certificates: EN 1090-1, EN 3834-2 and EN 15085-2 CL1. We follow the principles of lean manufacturing, but I like to call it lean manufacturing with a common-sense twist.

Juha Savolainen

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Leinonen - A Very Finnish accounting office in Poland

Maria Onikki-Górski Photo by Leinonen

LEINONEN A Very Finnish Accounting Office in Poland Leinonen Poland, a subdivision of the Leinonen Group, provides expert accounting, tax, payroll management and other services to foreign-owned businesses to help facilitate their integration into the Polish market. The team consists of around 30 employees. This year Leinonen Poland celebrates its 15-year anniversary!

Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Maria Onikki-Górski – Managing Director at Leinonen Poland – about Finnish connections in Leinonen and the accounting system in Poland. Maria is fluent in both Polish and Finnish and has over 20 years of experience in working for various Finnish companies in Poland. Leinonen is the only Finnish accounting firm, how do you use that to position yourself on the market? Our roots are very precious to us; we call ourselves a very Finnish accounting office. We apply Finnish management style and leadership principles in our daily work. Our team is straightforward, transparent and has a can-do attitude, which leads to quick decision-making. It is also valued by our clients that I can relate to those entering the Polish market; I understand their expectations and assumptions well. Where are your clients from? Approximately 60% of our clients are Finnish companies, while the remaining 40% includes mainly companies from other Nordic countries, the Baltics, and, more recently, also from Germany and Spain.

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What keeps surprising your clients in Poland?

Do you think that national e-invoicing mandate will be postponed again?

One thing that is always hard to understand, not only for Finns, is the complicated payroll system in Poland, with its many variables. Foreign clients sometimes also forget that Poland does not use the euro, so you need to take the exchange rates from the Polish National Bank, not from the European Central Bank.

No, our guess is that this time it will go live because it was already postponed twice. In the beginning, it will result in a lot of work and challenges for many companies, but at the end of the day, I think it’s great that it will finally happen. The system is very transparent and safe from a tax perspective and it will reduce the amount of manual work.

What are the most common complaints that Finns have about the Polish accounting system?

What advice would you give to Finnish companies that are thinking about entering the Polish market?

They get overwhelmed by all the details. The clients want to see only the executive summary because the deeper you go, there are too many complicated details and exceptions.

It is important to plan well before starting operations, for example by considering things like the legal form of the business and financing options. I believe that “well planned is half done.” The second thing I would recommend is to network and find local partners to support you, because Polish regulations can be challenging even for the locals. It is a waste of time and money to do something based on incorrect assumptions, if you can find someone who can propose solutions that have been shown to work. I think it is also useful to just be open-minded, because Poland is a huge and advanced market with many technical opportunities. In my experience, Finns can quite easily find a common business language with Poles.

What do you expect could change in the accounting world in Poland after the elections? We expect that one change for businesses will be the restoration of flat rate health insurance contributions. In general, I hope that there won't be too many changes introduced in a very short time period, like it was during 2022 in the Polish Deal program.

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Support Photo by Next Step

Next Step - Developing Industrial Real Estate in Poland. Interview with Marcin Janicki

DEVELOPING INDUSTRIAL REAL ESTATE IN POLAND An Interview with Marcin Janicki, the CEO of Next Step

Next Step is a development and investment company that implements designs of warehouse, logistics and production facilities in Western Poland. Next Step builds facilities in the BTS (Built to Suit) formula according to the individual requirements of the tenants. In addition, the company introduces its clients Leinonen Poland, a subdivision of Leinonen Group, provides expert to local communities, authorities, and recruitment accounting, tax, payroll management and other services to foreign-owned experts. Julia Morta talked with Marcin Janicki about businesses to help facilitate their integration into the Polish market. During the industrial real estate market in Poland. 15 years in the Polish market, the team has grown to around 30 employees.


A very Finnish accounting office in Poland

What is the current state of the industrial real estate market in Poland? Due to a decrease in sales, the interest in large warehouses for e-commerce has dropped. On the other hand, European manufacturers are realizing the importance of being closer to their sub-suppliers and customers. As a result, nearshoring is gaining popularity and new production projects are emerging, particularly from companies transferring from Asia. What are the main trends in the industry at the moment? At the moment, the market is waiting for the cost of raising money to stabilize. In the next 15-20 years, Poland will remain an attractive destination for investors due to its geographic location, labor force, and the size of the country. However, the growth is unlikely to match the intensity of the past few years, when several million square meters were developed. What types of projects has Next Step been involved in? Before the pandemic, and for some time after, we were co-investing in large warehouses for the e-commerce industry. Over the past 20 years, we have also been involved in building production

facilities ranging from 5 to 20 thousand square meters. Currently, our primary focus is to be the fastest and the best in this field in our region. What was your most significant project to date? An e-commerce facility that we built with our investor near Gorzów Wielkopolski. Although it was our biggest project (120,000 sqm), we managed to complete it very quickly.

We select places where local governments have a pro-investment attitude. Unlike a fund, we don't prioritize scale – instead, what matters to us are long-term relationships, reliability, and delivering the best solutions in our buildings. What would you advise companies who are considering locating their warehouse or factory in Poland?

What are Next Step's unique selling points?

Choose the location thoughtfully. There is a common misconception that businesses should be located in major cities. As a result, many companies in Poznań or Wrocław have to transport workers from smaller towns up to 150 kilometers away. Instead, consider placing your factory where people live, and offer them competitive wages. This is the approach we promote. By locating your business within a community and engaging in local projects, you gain respect and loyalty among employees.

First of all, our local presence. We are strongly focused on our region, and I think there are few large companies as responsive as we are. For instance, we can agree on a 30-million-euro investment in two days, and finish it in just five months. Another crucial aspect is our focus on people.

Marcin Janicki

Where do your investors come from? Most of the investors are from Germany. The Scandinavian markets also show potential due to rapidly rising prices. We have also noticed increasing interest from Korean companies. Depending on policy changes, Chinese businesses may also want to establish a presence in Poland to shorten their supply chains.

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Business Support | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Pagero - Pagero in Poland. Facilitating E-Invoicing and Digital Transformation

Andrzej Pijanowski during his speech at the CFO Forum 2023. Photo by Pagero

Pagero Poland Andrzej Pijanowski Country Manager

PAGERO IN POLAND Facilitating E-invoicing and Digital Transformation Pagero provides a global network connecting buyers and sellers for the automated, compliant and secure exchange of orders, invoices and other business documents. Pagero started operating in Poland in early 2022, to meet growing demand as the National System of e-Invoices (KSeF) is set to be implemented in July 2024. Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Andrzej Pijanowski, Country Manager at Pagero, about e-invoicing and digitalization in Poland.

What can you tell us about KSeF that foreign companies in Poland should be aware of? It is important to know that KSeF does not support the distribution of invoices or the inclusion of attachments. At Pagero, we provide a solution that facilitates the domestic and international distribution and receipt of invoices. We ensure full compliance with KSeF regulations and guarantee the secure electronic delivery of documents, invoices and attachments. In addition, our extensive network reaches 14 million recipients across 140 countries. How are Polish companies preparing for e-invoicing? How would you compare it to Finland? In Finland, more than 99% of invoices are submitted electronically, while in Poland that figure is significantly lower. While some sectors in Poland are highly digitized, such as banking, there is great dispersion in digital adoption. For example, many SMEs and construction firms still rely on paper-based processes. Moreover, some Polish businesses tend to underestimate the complexity of e-invoicing. There are also still many companies that have not heard about KSeF, which poses a significant business risk for them. That's why it's important to talk about it.

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Do you plan to support companies in their digitalization journey beyond e-invoicing? With KSeF set to launch next year, our primary focus right now is e-invoicing, but that is only one part of the larger process. We want to help Polish and international companies to go fully digital. E-invoicing is a solid first step, but without going further, you will not be able to grow. How many companies use Pagero services in Poland? We have around 200 customers in Poland, and a team of 10 professionals assigned to the Polish market. In addition, we rely on the global support of 1,000 people from four support centers worldwide. What could surprise a Nordic company about the Polish market? Tax law is very different in Poland. The Nordic approach is somewhat more flexible and trust-based, while in Poland you must be meticulous in reporting everything accurately. However, this challenge can be managed by using the support of one of the top companies like Pagero. For example, you probably have your ERP system in place, which we can help connect and align with upcoming Polish regulations, adapting your invoice framework to Polish e-invoicing law.

There are several key reasons why we make it work: prior experience, global approach, cooperation with the Big Four, and local presence. You’ve been working with a Finnish-Polish team, and you also used to live in Denmark. What are the differences and similarities between the cultures of these countries? Finland is quite unique compared to other Nordic countries. I think Finns have their own way of doing things and their mentality resonates the most with my Slavic soul. Poles and Finns can cry and laugh together on the same topics. At times, we may be a bit grumpy, but in the end, we manage to find positivity even in difficult situations. We also share a similar work attitude – we focus on getting things done. What three tips would you give to Scandinavian companies coming to Poland? First, don’t reinvent the wheel, but take advantage of the best practices that already work in Scandinavia. Second, don't resort to half-measures. You can focus on building an MVP, but it's also crucial to establish a solid foundation that will allow you to expand into other areas. Last but not least, remember that you can have hygge in Poland too!

Polar Night Software - A Finnish Software House in the Heart of Poland

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Support

POLAR NIGHT SOFTWARE A Finnish Software House in the Heart of Poland Polar Night Software, a software development house in Łódź, Poland, delivers a broad range of services related to the development of digital products and services for companies across multiple industrial domains. Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Henri Jääskeläinen, founder & CEO of Polar Night Software, about changes in the company and the Polish IT market in 2023.

How has the IT market changed over the last year? I would say the market is tougher, probably for all software development houses in Europe. Most companies are struggling with new sales. What sectors are generating the most demand at the moment? Health tech seems to be running a bit better than the market on average, at least based on our experience. We have worked with some health tech companies and have more potential customers on the table. Recently, we also hosted visitors from Renta. Renta has been our customer for quite a while and we have built up strong cooperation with this company. It’s interesting, because they are in the construction business indirectly, but at least this year they've been investing heavily in future development. What’s the situation on the labor market? Last year, when we published an ad looking for a developer with a certain profile, we received roughly the same number of applications in a week as we get in an hour or two this year. Plenty of candidates are juniors, which tells me that when tough times come, juniors are the ones who are out first. Seniors may have to look a bit longer for a new job now, but they will still be able to find one. Another thing we’ve noticed is that some product companies from our target market have been doing more in-house recruitments than earlier. However, not everybody wants to do that and many decide to have a core team in-house and also use the help of external consultants. What about salary expectations? Not surprisingly, seniors expect senior salaries. The salaries haven’t gone up as significantly as before, but they also haven't dropped. However, I’d say there's a bit more room for negotiation.

Photo by Polar Night Software

Henri Jääskeläinen

You started Polar Night as a software firm serving strictly Finnish companies from Poland. Do you also have customers from other countries?

Yes, our customers still mainly come from Finland, but we also have projects for companies in Estonia and Poland. We have been checking out possibilities on other markets. Have you had any especially cool projects this year? One of our interesting new customers is ValueMatcher, one of the Slush TOP 100 2023. It's an early-stage startup that uses AI to match the right candidates for leadership roles. What makes Polar Night Software different from other IT companies in Poland? I think it’s helpful that I’m a Finn with years of experience on the Polish market, so I understand the perspective of Finnish customers very well. Other than that, we don’t use any special tricks; we simply make sure that we actually deliver and that our customers are happy with our work. We have around 20 developers in our team, all at mid to senior level with 5+ years of coding experience. We hire people we can trust, and give them a lot of both freedom and responsibility. From January 2024, our average hourly rates will be 55-65 euros. We believe that with reasonable salaries comes the highest quality. Do you use trendy AI technologies like ChatGPT? Yes, we have used ChatGPT in our projects. We enter certain data and allow the system to process it, for example, to create summaries. What ChatGPT also does well is create these chat-style interactions that make it seem as if you were actually talking with a human. For internal practice, we developed a bot named Rokko, who is the Polar Bear mascot that comments in discussions on our Slack channels. Generally speaking, in the short term the market expectations regarding AI are probably a bit too high. However, I think that over time people will begin to find more practical applications for it. For instance, in the case of image recognition, technology has existed for years, yet it took time for it to gain widespread attention.

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Business Support | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

BPO and Shared Services Centers hiring Finnish speakers in Poland


BPO and Shared Services Centers Hiring Finnish Speakers in Poland On the basis of own research

GDAŃSK Arla Foods Kemira Metsa Nordea

WARSAW Genpact Lionbridge Nordea Schneider Tata Wipro

POZNAŃ Carlsberg Ikea Miele

WROCŁAW Hewlett-Packard UPM

KATOWICE Barona IT Services

ŁÓDŹ Nordea

KRAKÓW Amer Sports Capgemini



UPM Global HR Service Center OVER



Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Support

UPM - Where actions match words

Learn more about UPM!

Photo by UPM


Where Actions Match Words UPM Business HUB in Wrocław. Photo by UPM

HR Service Center in Kraków. Photo by UPM

With a history dating back over 150 years, UPM has a long-held reputation as a leading employer in the global forest industry. The key to its continued success lies in the responsible work culture and values, which guide the way the company operates, both in its native Finland and across the world, including Poland. Global presence UPM is a global forest industry company focusing on offering renewable, sustainable and recyclable alternatives to fossilbased materials. Headquartered in Finland, UPM employs more than 17,000 people across its operations around the world. In Poland, the company runs two factories and two business locations – UPM HR Service Center and UPM Business Hub.

UPM in Poland

A culture of trust

The HR Service Center in Kraków, in operation since 2012, employs around 100 human resources professionals, who support UPM globally, delivering employee life-cycle administration, learning and recruitment processes to over 40 countries.

UPM’s social responsibility begins with its own people. The company’s core values – trust and be trusted, achieve together, renew with courage – are not just empty phrases but key elements of the work culture UPM-ers strive to live by every day. How do the words translate into practice? UPM fosters a leadership culture where employees are trusted to do their jobs well and given the chance to learn from their mistakes. Allowed to thrive in a supportive, feedback-based culture, they are encouraged to continuously learn and grow. All that adds up to a truly positive company culture:

The company's second office in Poland, UPM Business Hub, was opened in 2020 in the heart of Wrocław. It brings together more than 500 professionals providing a wide range of advanced services in the areas of finance, customer service, sales, marketing, stakeholder relations, procurement and many more. Welcoming environment Both teams take pride in their diverse and inclusive environments, welcoming people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations or ethnic origins. Although representing varied backgrounds, cultures or perspectives, they are all valued, respected and united by a common vision: to build a more sustainable world for future generations. UPM’s vision reflects its deep sense of responsibility – towards the environment and people – which lies at the heart of everything the company does.

“What I like most about my job is that when I wake up on Monday, I smile. I never feel stressed about having to go to work,” says Marcela Przerwa, who works at UPM’s Hub. “For me, Finnish culture means trust, respect for people, care for the natural environment. I identify with the same values, which is why UPM is the perfect place to work for me,” she adds. A similar view is shared by Petra Kukonlehto, her Finnish colleague from UPM HR Service Center: “Working for a Finnish company in Poland has been a very positive experience. I appreciate our fun and trusting atmosphere. I have gained lifelong friends here and I feel cared for at work.” Clearly, for employees, UPM’s values go beyond mere statements.

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Business Support | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Spondeo - Building your Dream Team in 2023. Recruitment Trends Explained by Top Spondeo Headhunter


Building your Dream Team in 2023 Recruitment Trends Explained by Top Spondeo Headhunter Understanding the Market Dynamics First of all, it’s helpful to take a look at the key statistics from the labor market. Unemployment in Poland is currently the second-lowest in Europe (2.7% according to Eurostat). In major cities, the rate is below 1%, indicating near full employment. Salaries have been rising in double digits for several years, with over 7% annual increases since 2017. However, high inflation in 2022-2023 resulted in lower real income growth. The average remuneration now hovers around €1700 gross per month, with a significant salary gap— the minimum wage is approximately €820, while top specialists and managers earn more than their counterparts in Finland. Weronika Gidel-Asunmaa. Photo by Anna Jędrzejewska

This year has been quite challenging when it comes to recruitment, in particular with finding special skilled workers. Several trends are currently shaping the market and affecting the way you build your team. Weronika Gidel-Asunmaa, co-founder and headhunter at Spondeo, has more than 10 years of experience in connecting Finnish, Polish, and other international companies with top talents. She shared an honest overview of recruitment in Poland from a headhunter’s perspective.

We understand that navigating through all those and other rules of hiring talent in Poland might seem overwhelming - but it does not have to be. Reach out to us, we are here to help you build your ideal team! If you would like to talk more about the Polish market or your recruitment needs, feel free to send an email to Weronika at


Top Recruitment Trends in 2023 At the beginning of a recruitment project, it is essential to conduct a reality check. Consider factors like the size and quality of the labor pool in your area, expected salary levels, and your employer brand positioning in comparison to local and multinational players who are fighting fo rthe same talents. According to a recent study by Manpower Group, 7 out of 10 organizations in Poland are currently facing a shortage of suitable candidates, which is leading to fierce competition for skilled talent. At the same time, more and more employees are testing their market value by entering multiple recruitment processes and using potential job offers to negotiate better terms with their current employers. In many cases, this strategy works as their companies agree to raise the salaries significantly, usually by 10-20%. This year, the highest counter-offer by the current employer was a 60% salary increase and company shares. As you can see, the businesses are well aware of how difficult it is to find the right replacement workers. It is worth noting that hiring general specialists remains relatively easy in areas like sales, marketing, finance, or even IT. However, when it comes to positions that require specific skills, experience levels, or education, recruitment presents much greater challenges. The number of available candidates is small and the job ads often

bring inadequate applicants. As a result, nearly all projects must include active headhunting. Some of the most complex recruitment cycles can take up to 6 months, in some cases with only one or two suitable candidates. Best Practices in Recruitment In such a competitive market, there is no room for mistakes in the recruitment process. Communication with candidates must be fast, professional, and friendly. It is better to avoid a hierarchical or overly formal tone. Candidates often have other attractive options on the table. It is also worth remembering that resignations are effective from the end of the month, which means that most of the deals are made around that time. From the candidates’ perspective, higher pay usually remains the top motivation, but there are other aspects that can make a difference. Many people pay attention to career improvement, strong leadership, positive work atmosphere, and hybrid/remote work options. Advice for New Finnish Companies in Poland If you represent a new international business in Poland, here are a few tips that will help you find the best candidates on the Polish labor market: Sell your story and provide clear targets for what you aim to achieve in Poland. Remember that you are competing with big and well-known names that are already considered attractive and stable employers. Listen to the small wishes, such as private healthcare or the possibility to occasionally work from home. Invest in your initial hires by offering favorable conditions and you will gain more in return. Prepare well before talking with candidates, as they may use the interview to evaluate the professionalism and stability of your company.

Direct Flight Routes from Finland to Poland

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Support

Sand Valley Golf Resort - Summer 2023


Direct Flight Routes from Finland to Poland

Turku Helsinki

On the basis of own research

FINNAIR Helsinki (HEL) - Gdańsk (GDN) Helsinki (HEL) - Kraków (KRK) Helsinki (HEL) - Warsaw (WAW) Helsinki (HEL) - Wrocław (WRO) (starting in April 2024)


Modlin Warsaw


Helsinki (HEL) - Warsaw/Modlin (WMI) Wrocław



Turku (TKU) - Gdańsk (GDN)

Photo by Juha Tuukkanen, JT Golf Photography


Sand Valley Golf Resort, run by Finnish CEO Antti Pohjonen, is the place where Polish Dream Golf exists. Located close to Gdańsk airport, the Resort is ideally connected to the whole of Europe. Sand Valley’s Championship Course extends over 80 hectares of picturesque Polish country side. In 2023, the course was ranked 69th by Golf World UK in their listing of the Best 100 Golf Courses in Continental Europe. The onsite accommodation and extras are designed to offer the perfect relaxation after your round: Sit back in your private jacuzzi, re-charge your body in your own sauna and take a swim in your private pool – in Sand Valley, you can do it all. Once ready for dinner, the staff will pamper you with freshly cooked international cuisine and legendary customer service. Every year, golf enthusiasts from around the world make their way to Sand Valley

to participate in a variety of tournaments. This season started in April, when Sand Valley had the honor to host the ECCO Tour series, with a total prize fund of €150,000. The tournament primarily comprised Nordic golfers, with the top performers in the series earning qualification for the Challenge Tour. This marked the first time the ECCO Tour was organized in Poland. From June 30 to July 4, Sand Valley and Mazury GC hosted the XXIII ESGA Super Senior Team 65+ Championship

and the VI ESGA Masters 75+ cup. This tournament was followed by the Heikki Kovalainen Open. On August 19, more than 100 players competed in the thirteenth edition of the competition, with guests from ten different countries arriving to enjoy the amazing Polish summer. For those who missed out this year, there's no need to worry – it has already been announced that the next ECCO Tour Spring Series in 2024 will also be hosted at Sand Valley Golf Resort in Poland, jointly with Camiral in Spain.


Business Support | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

YIT - Quality Urban Developments in Warsaw, Gdańsk and Kraków

Żurawie Project in Gdańsk by YIT


Mysłowice factory, photography by Wojciech Mateusiak

Quality Urban Developments in Warsaw, Gdańsk and Kraków This year YIT became the first Polish (Finnish) housing developer in history to win 5 prestigious awards in the European Property Awards competition. In 2024, the company is set to engage in multiple new and ongoing developments in as many as three Polish cities. Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Andrzej Gorgoń, marketing director at YIT, about the real estate market in Poland and YIT’s further plans for the market. Topi Paananen. Photo by Peikko

What have been the main trends on the Polish real estate market recently? The situation has been very dynamic recently, which was influenced by many factors. The Covid-19 pandemic initially brought a period of uncertainty, followed by a surge in demand due to low interest rates. However, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine combined with the increase in inflation resulted in a series of interest rate increases by the National Bank of Poland. This move, while intended to curb inflation, also limited consumers' creditworthiness. Currently, we are again observing very high customer activity and a dynamic increase in apartment prices, which is partly driven by the government programs. However, the good news is that after a period of uncertainty and lower demand, developers are launching more new projects, which should lead to an increase in the demand-supply balance on the market in the near future. Has the government’s 2% program changed the situation? The program had a significant impact on the housing market in Poland. In the first months since its introduction, banks received over 57,000 applications for loans under the program, and almost 21,000 contracts were signed. The program caused an increase

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in demand for apartments, which led to an increase in prices. According to data, prices of apartments on the primary market in Poland increased by 18% in October 2023 compared to December last year. The program also had a positive impact on the availability of mortgage loans for young people. Thanks to the reduction in interest rates, loans were more accessible to people with lower incomes. What are YIT’s current projects and plans for 2024? We currently have three investments in Warsaw - Nordic Bemowo, Spokojny Mokotów and Aroma Park. We are also building two stages of the Żurawie project in Gdańsk. In 2024, we have two new projects in Kraków, which is a new city for us. It is both exciting and challenging as we need to set up a whole new team, gain brand recognition and build a reputation. Our goal is to show new customers that we focus on delivering quality developments. The first investment in Kraków will be Portowa Zabłocie - we strongly believe that this will be our hallmark in the capital of Lesser Poland. The second investment will start in the second half of 2024. It will be a multi-stage and first fully prefabricated project in Kraków. In total, over 700 apartments will be built here. Also, next year we are

Mysłowice factory, photography by Wojciech Mateusiak planning to start a new development in

the north of Warsaw in Białołęka and the next stage of Nordic Bemowo. You have been to Finland many times what’s your favorite word in Finnish? The first one that comes to my mind is kippis (cheers). Another very interesting word is kalsarikännit, which means drinking alone in your underwear with no intention of going out. Are there any Finnish connections in your projects? Definitely, there are many! For example, in Gdańsk, we have a project called Żurawie (Cranes) because the cranes are the symbol of shipyards in the city. Interestingly, they are the KONE cranes that arrived in Gdańsk in 70s from Finland. What’s more, it was Rainer Mahlamäki who designed this project. Do you use any Finnish materials in your buildings in Poland? Yes! Our elevators are from KONE, and in some locations the balcony glass was provided by Lumon. We have also been considering some other solutions, such as locks and saunas.

Finnish Culture & Sport in Poland

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Business Support

Finnish Culture Sport Music, Business, and the Road & Ahead in Poland

Finnish influences in Poland reach far beyond the world of business. If you look closely, you will find a touch of Finland in literature, photography, sport, heavy metal, Mölkky and, of course, Santa Claus. In this section, you can explore how shared cultural interests contribute to strengthening Finnish-Polish relations. Sand Valley Golf Resort. Photo by Juha Tuukkanen, JT Golf Photography

Tuomas Asunmaa & the Blind Channel


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Discover Finnish Places in Poland


Discover Finnish Places in Poland On the basis of own research

SŁUPSK Sibelius Street

SZCZECIN Honorary Consulate of Finland Scandinavian House

KLINY Finhome

POZNAŃ Honorary Consulate of Finland Finnish studies at Adam Mickiewicz University Padel Court

WROCŁAW Honorary Consulate of Finland


Finnish influences can be discovered all throughout Poland. They include holiday destinations, saunas, cultural institutions, universities teaching Finnish culture and language, the embassy and consulates, Finnish wooden houses, and even Sibelius, Fińska and Finlandzka Streets. Some of these places were founded or designed by Finns, while others were inspired by the essence of Finland. 50

KRAKÓW Honorary Consulate of Finland

KIELCE Honorary Consulate of Finland

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport

Finhome This Finnish-Polish family business is truly a Finnish place in Poland. The complex of Finnish wooden log-buildings situated in a large garden and run by Finhome is called “Finlandia SPOT”. It was built in collaboration with almost 30 Finnish business partners.

GDYNIA Honorary Consulate of Finland Sibelius Street

GDAŃSK Finnish studies at University of Gdansk

PASŁĘK Sand Valley Golf Resort

OLSZTYN Honorary Consulate of Finland

BIAŁYSTOK Honorary Consulate of Finland

TORUŃ Honorary Consulate of Finland Finnish Park

WARSAW Embassy of Finland in Poland Open Jazdów POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews designed by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Finnish studies at University of Warsaw Finnish School of Warsaw Finlandzka Street and Sibelius Street Obelisk in memory of Marshal Carly Mannerheim SAUNA

Vistula Sauna

Finnish Pocket Park “Finnish relax” is a theme park with references to the colors of the Finnish flag, Santa Claus, the Northern Lights, and more. There is also an outdoor reading room "Moominvalley" for kids and a rest area with a gazebo and hammocks. Finnish School of Warsaw Finnish School of Warsaw. The school promotes Finnish culture and language among children with Finnish background. It is part of a global network of Finnish schools. Suomi-koulu provides children with an opportunity to connect with each other and communicate in Finnish. Kalevala A Finnish village located in Borowice near Karpacz. Visitors can find accommodation in a comfortable Lapland tent or Moominhouse, meet friendly huskies and reindeer, taste Finnish cuisine, and experience a traditional Finnish sauna with feasting. Open Jazdów An intimate, green settlement of wooden Finnish houses. It was built right after the end of World War II on Jazdow Street, near the Polish parliament. Now it is also a community of NGOs, open to cooperation with Finnish companies. Padel court Founded in 2022 by Tuomas Asunmaa and Juha Karjalainen, it was the first padel court in the city of Poznań. The facility quickly gained immense popularity among locals and visiting enthusiasts of the racket sport. POLIN Museum The Museum of the History of Polish Jews was designed by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects. Distinguished with numerous international awards, the museum building is a multifunctional center for research, exhibition, education and culture. Sand Valley Golf Resort A TOP100 course in Europe and the best in Poland, Sand Valley is where Polish Dream Golf exists. The project was started by Finnish entrepreneurs in the early 2000s and is currently run by Antti Pohjonen. Scandinavian House Scandinavian Meeting Point promotes the Nordic lifestyle and integrates the local, intercultural community. It also serves as a venue for industry, educational and cultural gatherings, as well as workshops and conferences focused on Scandinavia. Vistula Sauna The hottest place by the River Vistula, this floating sauna, moored at the picturesque Czerniakowski Port, is a unique place where you can regenerate your body and relax. It was opened in 2021 and is operated by Miami Wars.


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Exploring Polish Architecture with Rainer Mahlamäki

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Photo by L&M Architects

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects


Professor Rainer Mahlamäki, along with Ilmari Lahdelma, co-founded Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects in 1997. The architectural firm was responsible for designing POLIN, the Warsaw Museum for the History of Polish Jews, which opened in 2013. More recently, Professor Mahlamäki designed the Żurawie mixed-use block in the Gdańsk Shipyard area, currently under construction by the Finnish company YIT. During his visit to Warsaw, Professor Mahlamäki met with Tuomas Asunmaa to reflect on his Polish projects and the architecture scene in Poland. Do you travel to Poland often? Yes, I come here regularly, about 5 to 10 times a year. I receive a lot of invitations to various conferences and events. Currently, I am also involved in a small renovation project at POLIN. POLIN is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. How did that project start?


I think the Jewish association had the idea for it back in the 90s, though the official competition was held in 2005. It attracted almost 200 applicants, and 11 were selected to the competition. We made it to the finals and ultimately won. The beginning of the project is also memorable as there were various delays in reaching an agreement. Finally, it was signed unexpectedly when Lech Kaczyński, at that time the president of Poland, was visiting Israel. I had to fly over from the Venice Biennale in order to sign the papers. Can we see any Finnish influences in the architecture of POLIN? Every architect infuses a part of his home into every project. To me, for better or worse, POLIN does have a "Finnish" look. It is modest from the outside, evoking a sense of tranquility, without any showy elements or overwhelming technological features. We Finns know how to design something impressive with minimalistic methods. Some of the copper parts also come from Finland. Did anything surprise you during the project? Polish contract culture is quite something. Every detail had to be exactly like in the contract, meaning that small issues normally resolved on-site in Finland became grounds for contract amendments. This required

a lot of involvement from lawyers and a considerable amount of paperwork. On the flipside, it ensured that the builders didn't take any independent actions. It's worth knowing that Poles are tough negotiators. I don’t speak Polish, but there were times when I thought every fifth word was "problem". You also designed YIT's new project in Gdańsk. How did that come about? The initiative originally came from Finland, and I got along really well with YIT. I appreciated the fact that the architects were involved in the discussions. The location is wonderful and YIT prioritizes quality. Their marketing efforts are also impressive, from 3D models to the way they arranged the fences. How do you see Polish architects and architecture? There are a lot of young and brave architects in Poland. I would compare it to Spain after the Franco era, and now Spanish architecture is highly recognizable. What I admire about Poland is that the architect's word carries more weight than it does in Finland. What’s also important is Poland’s long cultural and artistic tradition. I'm particularly impressed by Polish poster art and cinema. As for the POLIN project, it has left a significant mark on my life and career.

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport

Santa From Rovaniemi Visits Poland

Meeting with Santa in Poznań, 2022. Photos by Anna Jędrzejewska

SANTA FROM ROVANIEMI VISITS POLAND The Secret and Public Life of Joulupukki Even children know that Santa Claus has existed since forever. He is very old, so old that not even he can remember his exact age. For children in Poland, things are obvious: Santa comes from Rovaniemi, which means – from Finland. What’s more, they know that every year he visits them in Poland, not only in his magical sleigh on Christmas Eve, but at other times he appears here and there to chat with children and get to know their dreams and wishes. In Finland, Santa is known as Joulupukki. The tradition of Joulupukki's personal visits to Poland began in the 1990s. Initially, he visited Olsztyn, the twin city of Rovaniemi. Soon, other Polish cities also extended invitations to Santa. People wanted to host him as an honorary guest during the festive event of lighting up the city's main Christmas tree. First, it was Warsaw, followed by Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław, Białystok, Mińsk Mazowiecki, and Kalevala Village in Borowice. Thanks to these visits, the overall interest in Finland among both children and adults in Poland has grown. Joulupukki has effectively become an ambassador of goodwill. Every year, an increasing number of people have been gathering at these events, knowing that Joulupukki will be present. In 2017, the Christmas light illumination in Warsaw drew such a large

Meeting with Santa in Poznań, 2022. Photos by Anna Jędrzejewska

crowd to the stage in Plac Zamkowy that all the adjacent streets were completely blocked. Then the COVID years froze all possibilities for people to gather. Of course, Joulupukki couldn't disappoint children, but during that time, he had to limit his visits to just the magical ride across the skies of the world. However, in 2022, as soon as it became safe for kids and their parents to meet Santa again, he returned to Poland.

Santa’s Calendar for 2023

This year, in accordance with tradition, Joulupukki has once again arrived in person. Invitations from various places keep pouring into his mailbox, but he can already share a little secret. If you are wondering where you can meet Santa in your city, take a look at his calendar below.

10 December | Sunday Termy Warmińskie, Lidzbark

It is important to mention that Joulupukki's visits are not limited to grand parades and gatherings in town centers. Santa also eagerly travels to meet children who are unable to come to him, such as those in orphanages, hospitals, integration schools, and kindergartens. He frequently engages with kids in libraries and sports centers, where they enjoy spending their leisure time. Every opportunity to meet with children is very important for Joulupukki, as long as it can bring a smile and the sparkle of happiness to children's eyes. Singing Christmas songs with them makes Joulupukki happy.

1 December | Friday The Embassy of Finland in Poland, Warsaw 3-4 December | Sunday Białystok 6 December | Wednesday Mińsk Mazowiecki

11-13 December | Monday Poznań 15 December | Friday Łomża 17 December | Sunday Kalisz 20 December | Wednesday Białystok 26 December | Tuesday Kalevala village


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Backstage with Blind Channel

BACKSTAGE WITH BLIND CHANNEL Music, Business, and the Road Ahead Blind Channel is a Finnish nu metal band who gained wider recognition after representing Finland in Eurovision 2021 with the song "Dark Side". Tuomas Asunmaa interviewed Joonas Porko (guitar) and Olli Matela (bass) backstage, right before their concert in Poznań. They talked about the music business, expansion plan, and shared roots in the grand Kello village.

Tuomas Asunmaa & Blind Channel. Photo by Spondeo

How’s your tour so far? You have 9 gigs on this one? Yeah, we have done three, yesterday we were in Dresden and tomorrow we have Gdańsk. Last autumn we also played in Warsaw and Kraków. So you have seen some of Poland already, any thoughts? There are always big parties. People at gigs clearly come to have fun and enjoy the music, and everyone is really nice and friendly. You can even compare Poles to Spaniards a bit, there is always enormous energy and people come close. You’re saying that Poles are mid-Europe Latinos then? You could say so, yes! And our bus driver is from Poland, we definitely wanted him back again as he is so great. When it comes to revenue streams for the band, how do ticket sales differ from merch sales? Gigs provide us with a guaranteed income that we share with the promoter. If ticket sales exceed the breakeven point, we start earning a commission. As for t-shirts, it depends on the venue's rate of commission. It can be as much as 25%, leaving us with minimal profit. The guaranteed income essentially covers our expenses, as touring is very expensive.


Blind Channel concert in Poznań. Photo by Tuomas Asunmaa

Yeah, you have a big crew with you. That’s right and it means the merchandise income is really important to the band. With 25% commission, it's hard to make a profit while maintaining good quality and reasonable prices. In some venues, especially in the UK, merch can’t even be sold by people from our crew. Many fans prefer to buy online to ensure the money goes directly to the band.

have radio or TV presence, it's basically touring and merchandise. Perhaps some other angle will come along, social media or corporate partnerships. Then you need to tour all the time?

I must admit your merchandise is very nicely done.

When you reach a point when you're selling out large venues consistently, you also make gig income. For us, the Finnish market is important for revenue, Europe is also pretty good. The more audiences we reach, the more streams we have, it’s investing.

We wanted to have products that you can wear and that don’t necessarily look like a band shirt!

In Poland you have 20 cities the size of Oulu, so if you make it here, it’s a big market.

You have six guys in the band - how do you make decisions if it’s 3 vs 3?

Yes, definitely. We are also focusing on the German market now.

We can consult managers and others but... very rarely, if ever, has it been 3 vs 3. We have been together for 10 years, so we discuss a lot and have quite similar opinions. We may disagree while composing new songs, but we usually find a solution easily.

If all goes well, who would you like to support you on tour in five years?

Considering industry trends, how do you see the next five years? What will be the biggest changes and innovations, Blind Channel as a Service? Platforms like TikTok are a hot topic now but we're still exploring how they can fit into the band/music context. Things have gotten more difficult – album sales have largely vanished and for bands that don't

Hmmm... my first thought would be the bands we have now as "special guests" – Electric Callboy and I Prevail. They are arena-level bands. It’s been very nice to tour with them! Realistically, our target is stable growth to the top. What would you say to your 15-year-old selves going to Kello junior high? Go on and be faithful to your passion. Practice a bit more! And remember, you don’t need a plan B, you just need to have a really good plan A.

Levi: The New Hotspot for Winter Adventures

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport


Levi, Finland. Photo by Jacek Ciszak

The First Moomin Shop in Poland

Scan the QR code to watch a video blog from Jacek’s stay in Levi

I was surprised to learn that in the 21/22 season, one of the world's most dynamically growing ski markets, along with Australia, China, and the USA, was... Finland! I decided to find out why. The answer was simple, as I learned after my first visit to Levi. Finnish resorts offer much more than just skiing. There are unique attractions there that can hardly be found even in the most popular Alpine resorts. In the Alps, nothing surprises skiers anymore, while in Finland, they feel the freshness, taste the adventure, and experience sensations like nowhere else.

Jacek Ciszak Jacek Ciszak is a Polish ski vlogger and editor-in-chief of the portal. He recently visited Levi in Finland and shared with us the reasons behind the resort's growing popularity among Polish and other European skiers.

I have had the opportunity to visit most European resorts, but after visiting Levi, I became convinced that this is a very attractive direction for visitors from Poland. I was right. Many of my friends listened to me going on about it and

Moomin Shop in Kazimierz Shopping Center in Kraków, Poland .Photo by Artur Halik


Dive into the enchanting world of Moomin Valley, a timeless tale crafted by the Finnish author Tove Jansson. Beyond the pages of books and the screens of animations, Moomin characters have now come to life in a physical space. As of October 12th, enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the first Moomin Shop in Poland, situated within the lively Galeria Kazimierz in Kraków. For almost 80 years, Moomins have been an integral part of Scandinavian culture, capturing the hearts not only of Scandinavians but also generations of Poles. The values depicted in Moomin stories are believed to be timeless, offering profound insights for both the young and the old. Magdalena Biernat-Heikinnen, the International Sales & Licensing Director at Rights & Brands agency, expressed excitement about their strong presence in Poland in the coming months. Plans include supporting local and global licensees and contributing to public benefit foundations.

decided to visit Finland – more importantly, they said they would go back there. I hope that winter holidays in Finland will soon become a permanent offering in the catalogs of Polish travel agencies.

Soon, the official Polish online store will also be launched. Sign up for the opening at

The Moomin Shop license has been granted to individuals with e-commerce expertise, particularly in Scandinavian products. Małgorzata Piszczek, the co-owner of the store, emphasized the significance of bringing Moomin characters into people's daily lives. The Galeria Kazimierz store marks a new chapter in introducing licensed Moomin products to the Polish market. Step inside the Moomin Shop, located on the first floor of Galeria Kazimierz, and explore an 11-square-meter haven of Moomin-themed treasures. From enamel

mugs, take-away containers, and aprons to clothing, accessories, school supplies, wallets, towels, keychains, and even pet products – the store offers a delightful array of everyday items and collector's pieces. Open every day during Galeria Kazimierz's operating hours, the Moomin Shop invites patrons to experience the joy and reflection that Moomin characters bring to life. It's not just a store; it's a celebration of the enduring magic of Moomins in the hearts of both young and old alike.


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Staszek & Czarna, 1981 by Jukka Male

Behind The Lens In Poland - Conversations with Jukka Male Maria & her daughter Basia, 1979 by Jukka Male

BEHIND THE LENS IN POLAND Conversations with Jukka Male Jukka Male is a Finnish photographer who spends most of his time in Poland. He has produced four long-term collections of photos – in Barcelona, Greenland, the former Yugoslavia and Średnia Wieś, a small village in the Polish Bieszczady Mountains. He took his first photo there in 1979 and the last one in 2015. Julia Morta talked with Jukka about his experiences in Poland. How did you end up documenting life in a small Polish village in Bieszczady? Before I first came to Poland, I had often traveled to German-speaking countries and I felt like I needed a change. I chose the lower part of the Bieszczady Mountains in Poland because they were the farthest away from Finland and not so high that it would be inconvenient to travel there. My project in Średnia Wieś unfolded over two phases. The first phase, which I find particularly interesting, began in 1979 and lasted until the introduction of martial law in Poland (1981). As I did not have a residence permit, I had to leave Poland within a week. However, after 1983 I kept going back – sometimes just to see the friends I had made. Later, I continued with my project, this time in color, in order to show a different era in the development of the region.

regular visits to Średnia Wieś, staying for up to two weeks at a time, and I started to feel like a member of the community. I will always remember it as one of my favorite projects. Even to this day, I maintain contact with more then 150 friends from Średnia Wieś on Facebook, including a lot of young people. However, there was one incident that had a long-lasting impact on some of my relationships there. Normally, I write articles related to my photos myself, but on this occasion, I felt I was too close to the village. As a result, I asked the German magazine GEO to send over a journalist to write the article instead. In the end, the local people did not really appreciate how they were presented in the story and some of them believed that I was responsible for the content, which regrettably damaged our relations a bit. As a result, I stayed away for about ten years, finally going back in 2013. This experience shows that journalists and photographers can have a very significant influence on local communities. While documenting the lives of others, it is essential that we take responsibility for our work, show respect and honesty, and be mindful of any boundaries we may cross.

How did your relationships with the people in the village evolve over time? Many photographers choose not to build personal relationships with people they photograph, but I am different. I made


Gryziecki's yard, 2002 by Jukka Male

What was your first impression of Poland? The main thing that struck me was that the people in Poland seemed more welcoming to me than in other places. They were also curious about me, especially since not many foreigners visited their village at that time. Poland also has a unique aesthetic charm that made the country more interesting to me than Germany or Switzerland. While those countries may have been wealthier, the downside was that many buildings, both inside and outside, ended up looking quite similar and lacking in character. It was as if they were all taken out of the same upscale store’s brochure. By contrast, Poland intrigued me with its individuality and creative expression in architecture. Every home seemed to reflect the distinct preferences and ingenuity of its inhabitants. How many photos did you take in Średnia Wieś? I have never counted the exact number of photos I took, but there were quite a lot. Sometimes I took as many as twenty

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport photos of the same situation so that later I could choose the perfect one. It was almost as if I was recording a movie because my camera was almost always on. This method also proves helpful when photographing people who are initially shy. As time goes by, they grow more at ease and start to forget about the presence of a photographer. Were there any aspects of life in the village that you focused on capturing? I rarely photographed people working. Work tends to be something in which everyone acts the same way. Instead, I was drawn to capturing the things that happen outside the daily routine. In those in-between moments when people usually engage in non-typical activities. That is when you can glimpse into their individual personalities and experience the magic of life. I do not stage any photographs. I prefer to wait for those spontaneous and genuine moments to unfold. Waiting is hard work, even if it seems like you’re doing nothing. What was the biggest lesson you learned during that project? In Średnia Wieś I learned that it is not possible to show everything through photographs. I was not aware of the difficult history between Poles and Ukrainians. Średnia Wieś belongs to the historically problematic area. Despite the highest level discussions between the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda the relations struggle from time to time. The ongoing war in Ukraine adds to its problems. Another thing I learned was patience. I approached this project with specific visions of the photos I wanted to capture. However, every time the actual moments turned out to be far better than I could have imagined. These constant surprises taught me the importance of waiting for days, not knowing if or when

Władek with horses, XII 1981 by Jukka Male

something extraordinary would happen. In the end, the wait was always worth it. While many photographers travel all the time in pursuit of extraordinary moments, I chose to return to the same place – like a lurking predatory fish, I was waiting for the small fish to come to me, rather than chasing after them. This approach allowed me to immerse myself in the community, to truly get to know local people and their way of life. What photograph taken in Poland are you the most proud of? First, I must say that if I could do it all over again, I would probably not want to become a photographer again. The reality of this profession is far more challenging than the romantic idea I had as a young man in Finland. I often felt anxious and disconnected as an outsider, constantly observing and documenting the lives of others without ever truly being a part of them. As a result, I was seldom overly enthusiastic about my photographs, though there were a couple of times when I felt genuine pride. I am quite critical when it comes to photography, though I definitely see the value of my projects grows over time. I have had a unique perspective, which is why my photos will always retain their worth, even in the era of countless billions of available photos. When did you learn Polish? Language played a vital role in my photography projects. I believe in the significance of understanding local people in their own language. I began studying Polish in 1978 and I am still learning to this day. Before my first visit to Poland, I took a month-long Polish language course at a summer university in Finland, which proved to be very helpful. Even with just three words, you can already crack a joke. Knowing a bit of the language made me more likable when I arrived in Poland. During

the initial years, I kept my dictionary always at hand and actively used it. What is it about Poland that makes you enjoy spending time here? I now have permanent residence in both Finland and Poland and I spend a lot of time here. While some Poles complain about their country, I really cherish the spirit of community that thrives here. In Finland, there seems to be a strong emphasis on somewhat forced individualism, where everyone feels like they must show their uniqueness in order to be accepted. Every person wants to stand out and build their life based on this premise. In Poland, there is a natural sense of community, but one that does not hinder individuality. Here, I always feel accepted for who I am when I am in a gathering, without having to make an effort. Whether people know me well or not, there is never pressure to prove myself in any way. The Polish world feels more comprehensible, authentic, and open to me. I have never felt as at ease and accepted in the Finnish community as I do in Poland. What are your plans for the next years? I stopped being an active photographer about ten years ago, but I am seeking opportunities to publish a book and share my photos. Additionally, I have ventured into filmmaking. In a way, a movie is lots of photographs enriched with sound and dialogue. I recently completed a movie in Poland titled "Takamowa – Talking about," which explores the dynamics between men and women. I wrote the script, shot the film and edited it. Recently, I have also rekindled my passion for music, and I even created original compositions for my movie. Jukka Male

Kazio in 1979, 2002 and 2013 by Jukka Male


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Following Mannerheim’s Footsteps in Poland

Jukka and Anna Soisalon-Soininen +358 50 501 54 50 Kozłówka palace of Zamoyski family near Lublin. Photo by Anna Soisalon-Soininen

FOLLOWING MANNERHEIM'S FOOTSTEPS IN POLAND Jukka with The Ambassador Paivi Laine duringOsakunta the Finnish Army reception. Viipurilainen anniversary celebration. Photo by Anna Soisalon-Soininen From the collection of Anna Soisalon-Soininen

Mannerheim - the Polish years After the success of their book "Mannerheim – Puolan vuodet" in Finland, the time came for the authors, Jukka and Anna SoisalonSoininen to publish the Polish version of the book. They were constantly being asked when "Mannerheim – Polskie lata" would be available. However, it was no easy task, with the big publishers asking why they should publish this book when Mannerheim is so little-known in Poland. The authors’ response to them was simple: "To make him better known here." Suddenly, Leszek Celej, the director of the Muzeum Ziemi Mińskiej, came up with an idea. Since Mannerheim was closely tied to Mińsk Mazowiecki, he agreed to publish the book in Polish. Financing was also a significant challenge, but they gratefully received support from several Finnish foundations, the Embassy of Finland, as well as the Finnish Trade Guild and its member companies. Through hard work and good fortune, Jukka and Anna managed to get the book printed just in time for its first presentation on Mannerheim's birthday,


A Journey through His Life in the Book and on Trips June 4, during the Finnish Army Day reception at the Finnish Embassy. An eager audience awaited the release of the Polish edition and initial sales were quite dynamic. Now the book requires more promotional efforts to reach a wider range of readers.

tionally beautiful and well-maintained place, visitors often remark that they can almost feel the presence of Mannerheim and Zamoyski, as if the friends were chatting on the terrace or enjoying cigars and cognac in the library after lunch.

Mannerheim-inspired trips: Warsaw and Helsinki

Hopefully, the book will also inspire travelers to explore places related to Mannerheim in Finland. They can visit his birthplace in Askainen or his residence in Kaivopuisto, Helsinki, furnished with the same furniture he used in his Warsaw apartment. Numerous other interesting places associated with Mannerheim are still waiting to be explored, such as a hospital built at his initiative. He wrote about it to Countess Lubomirska, saying that in ancient times, people used to erect churches, but now they build hospitals to be forgiven for their sins.

Mannerheim's years in Poland are relatively unknown. Traveling in his footsteps makes it possible to discover his fascinating time in Poland and the relationships he made here. There is a lot to explore. Since 2015, over half a dozen trips have been organized for Finnish groups by Jukka SoisalonSoininen, and more are being prepared for September 2024. Groups are guided around Warsaw, visiting Łazienki Park, where Mannerheim's unit was stationed, along with his favorite hunting club, and the former garrison church, in front of which a Mannerheim memorial stone has been placed. The trips continue on to Mińsk Mazowiecki, formerly known as Nowomińsk, where Mannerheim served from 1909 to 1911. From there, the journey proceeds to Kozłówka Palace, which belonged to Mannerheim's best friend, Adam Zamoyski. While visiting this excep-

Other places worth visiting include Mikkeli, the headquarters of the Winter War, or Hanko's "4 Winds Café," which Mannerheim ran during his years of retreat from public activities. And, of course, a must-see is his monument in the heart of Helsinki, as well as his grave in Hietaniemi Cemetery, where he rests alongside his soldiers and other distinguished Finnish individuals.

Finland in the Nordic Magazine “Zew Północy”

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport

FINLAND IN THE NORDIC MAGAZINE “ZEW PÓŁNOCY” The only Nordic-focused magazine on the Polish press market is "Zew Północy" (English: “Call of the North”), published in Szczecin. Finland has a permanent place in it and the number of articles devoted to this country is constantly increasing. What is the story behind the creation of the magazine?

What has surprised you the most about Finland?

Marcin Jakubowski, founder of PCIT TRAMP and editor-in-chief: As a fan of cycling, in 1992, I took one of the first ferries to Bornholm, which I had heard was well-suited for this type of activity. I fell in love with the island. Since there was not much information about it in Poland, I decided to write a guidebook, which was published in 1994. Observing the growing interest in Scandinavia, in 1999 I founded a publishing house specializing in the Nordic countries – PCIT TRAMP. We published several guidebooks, some of which were pioneering publications in Poland, such as a guide to the Åland Islands or the Faroe Islands. In 2004, in cooperation with the ferry company Polferries, I began publishing a free magazine "Bałtyckie Podróże" (“Baltic Travels”), which was available on ferries and at information points. In 2009, "Bałtyckie Podróże" was replaced by "Zew Północy," which appeared in press distribution. Additionally, we started cooperating in promotional activities for Visit Denmark, Visit Norway, Fjord Line, and Scandlines. I have to boast that the new and expanded guide to the Faroe Islands won the Magellan Award at the International Book Fair in Warsaw as the best travel guide of the year 2022.

The Finns' love of tango and crazy sports like swamp football or Wife-Carrying Championship. We wrote about this in "Zew Północy".

What are your favorite places in the Nordic countries? My number one still is Bornholm, which I consider to be a complete island. In Finland, I was fascinated by Lapland and the archipelagos, such as the Åland Islands.

What would you bring to Poland from Finland? We are quite different in temperament, but I would like Poles to be more sporty and to take better care of the environment – in the simplest, everyday form. The Finns are an excellent example here. What articles about Finland have you published in “Zew Północy”? That’s a tough question – there have been many. To mention just a few recent ones: articles about the Finnish Trade Guild, crazy Bonk Business, Kotka, Helsinki, Rauma, Rovaniemi, suopursu, and the history of the Brewster fighter. In the forthcoming 43rd issue, there will be articles on skiing in Lapland, the Laestadian movement, urban national parks, Forest Finns, and Marshal Mannerheim. Do you have any other Nordic-related plans? A new project is a special free version of "Zew Północy" in cooperation with Scandlines, which will be available on all their ferries. We are also working with with partners who organize trips for small groups of our readers. This year, for example, there was an expedition to Spitsbergen. Hopefully, we will be going to Finland in the future.

Do you have any special interests in Finland?

Photos by Zew Północy

Apart from nature, I am interested in Finnish history, especially the Winter and Continuation Wars. Therefore, I would like to visit Mikkeli, the Raate Road, and the museums in Kuhmo and Tikkakoski.

Marcin Jakubowski PCIT TRAMP / Nordic Magazine „Zew Północy” Iwaszkiewicza 67/8, 70-786 Szczecin +48 606 890 860


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

EXPLORING KALEVALA A Finnish Oasis in the Polish Mountains Kalevala is a Finnish village located in Borowice, in the Polish Karkonosze Mountains. The destination was nominated as one of Europe's Leading Tourist Attractions at the World Travel Awards in both 2022 and 2023. Julia Morta interviewed Michał Makowski, who co-founded Kalevala with his wife Magda. Lapońska 1, 58-564 Borowice

Exploring Kalevala - A Finnish Oasis in the Polish Mountains

How did the idea to create Kalevala come about? It was the result of many factors. We visited Finland for the first time in March 2010, even before Magda's high school graduation. Since that time, Finland has stayed somewhere in our heads. While doing my PhD, I delved into the study of “Kalevala”. As we became aware of Finland's approaching centennial, it inspired us to do something more than just open a sauna, as we initially planned. I liked the notion of establishing a place resembling Finland, where I could enjoy time with friends. What are some of the favorite attractions among Kalevala guests? Our guests love walking the huskies, which is also a popular activity in Lapland. The reindeer also generate a lot of enthusiasm. Another interesting experience includes spending long evenings in a traditional Finnish barbecue hut (grillkota) connected to a sauna. Of course, our visitors also enjoy spending time outside in nature, for example going on long walks in the mountains.

in collaborative projects is very valuable, because it means that everyone contributes something to the project. Meanwhile, in Poland, individuals are often more focused on persuading others to join their own side. The Finns also impress me with their honesty and sincerity; there are no gimmicks or excessive negotiations. Socially, the most significant difference lies in the issue of trust. I love the trust culture in Finland, where everyone is given an opportunity, regardless of their appearance or history. In Poland, people trust each other and the state much less. What could surprise Finns about Polish culture? I would say our inability to learn from certain historical events. On a more positive note, Finns could be surprised by our openness to helping each other. In Finland, the state and various associations have organized life so perfectly that the Finns have practically stopped seeking support from each other. For them, it feels a bit embarrassing. In Poland, it's very common to turn to friends or family for help. What is your favorite place in Finland?

Do you also organize any Finnish events? Yes, our goal is to organize four events annually. The first is the Kalevala Spirit Festival. Last year, it was the concert of Apocalyptica, who flew in straight from Wembley, London. The second event is a meeting with the real Santa Claus from Rovaniemi. This year, our guests will be able to meet Joulupukki from 26 to 29 December. We also plan an event related to the Moomins, which will be held periodically in August, the birth month of Tove Jansson. The fourth event is not yet specified, but it could be connected with Angry Birds. Where do most visitors come from? Most of our visitors come from western Poland, while around 20% are from the Czech Republic. We typically host around ten guests from Finland every month, and we sometimes welcome Norwegians and Swedes. Regardless of nationality, our typical guest is a conscious tourist who is looking for deeper experiences than a luxurious resort with a pool. What are the similarities and differences between Finnish and Polish cultures? In terms of common traits, both nations are courageous, hard-working, and individualistic. In Finland, individualism

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Lapland and its vast spaces never cease to fascinate me. I fell in love there with a small Lappish town called Kuhmo, which is similar to Kalevala. However, I would say I feel best in Helsinki. Despite being the capital, it is such an intimate city, very green and peaceful. If you were able to bring only one thing from Finland to Poland, what would it be? Fazer candy, preferably with licorice. Are there any special projects in store for Kalevala? We have a project we call Kalevala 2.0, which will serve as a hub bringing together the most interesting companies from Finland. After experiencing a sauna and meeting dogs and reindeer, tourists often conclude that Finland is quite wild and primarily nature-oriented. We aim to challenge this perception by inviting them to a hall where they will suddenly encounter Angry Birds, Moomins, Fiskars, Nokia and other hyper-modern Finnish solutions. We have already started plans to build such a facility and we are in talks with numerous major companies from Finland to invite them here and show our guests the innovative things they do.

Finnish Project in Ukraine - Joy of Play Initiative

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport

FINNISH PROJECT IN UKRAINE Joy of Play Initiative After: Safe playground. Photo by Leopolis

Before: Abandoned courtyard. Photo by Leopolis

Since February 2022, a generation of children in Ukraine has been experiencing violence, fear, loss, and tragedy across the whole country. The war has had a devastating impact on their mental health and well-being. Leopolis Hotel Lviv, owned by the Hartwall family from Finland, was approached by the principal of neighboring Public School 62, who asked for financial help. The hotel has been financially supporting the school for many years, but this time the task was to turn an abandoned courtyard into a safe place for kids to play, run, climb, and hang outdoors close to the underground shelter. The discussion turned into a whole project on building a playground, which needed reliable partners, local management, professional expertise, and substantial investments - not an easy task for a small business operating in a country at war. First, Leopolis Advisory Board connected local management with Lappset – a wellknown family company with Finnish roots

Opening event. Photo by Leopolis

and global presence, whose expertise is creating playgrounds for people of all ages. Erkki Ikäheimo, Lappset’s Vice President of Design & Innovation, committed to provide the equipment free of charge and created playground design based on school requirements. The next step was to find money for all other tasks. In autumn 2022 Leopolis Board Member Ursula Blässar shared the idea with Elina Björklund, CEO of Reima Oy, who right away got on board offering financial contribution to the project not only in Lviv, but also in Kyiv. The rest of funds had been raised at Ukrainaid charity event in Helsinki in January 2023. That's how Joy of Play initiative was born, with a mission to give Ukrainian children hope for the future. At least 20 Finnish companies and individuals donated money to the project. The main partners of Joy of Play became Reima and Lappset - the best experts in happy childhood and kids’ outdoor activities. The preparation started very soon and other companies got engaged in the project: DSV Road offered to deliver the equipment from Rovaniemi to Lviv free of charge. Leopolis Hotel provided project management and coordination. August Ludvig Hartwall Foundation in Finland and Institute Respublica in Ukraine took care about financial matters

and reporting transparency. New Horizons Ukraine installed equipment in compliance with Lappset safety standards. School management assisted by all means. The works were kicked off in March 2023 and everything was completed in just 2.5 months. Many things had been taken care of: water drainage system, hydro isolation, façade restoration, logistics and customs nuances, playground safety and sustainability, lessons timing etc. All key partners received regular project updates and real-time photos and videos. The brand new playground was officially opened on 7 June 2023. Erkki Ikäheimo, Elina Björklund, Ursula Blässar and Pia Hartwall attended the event and tested the playground themselves. They also expressed their support to kids and commitment to the project. Joy of Play initiative proves that businesses with foreign capital in Ukraine not only pay taxes, create jobs, and drive the economy, but also support local community and unite efforts to take care about well-being of Ukrainian children. Pia Hartwall +358 40 5127902 Ursula Blässar +358 400 623560


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Finnish Athletes in Polish Sport Clubs


Finnish Athletes in Polish Sports Clubs On the basis of own research

TORUŃ Juha Nurminen KH Energa Toruń 2023 Konsta Jaakola KH Energa Toruń 2023 Riku Tiainen KH Energa Toruń 2023 -

POZNAŃ Niilo Mäenpää Warta Poznań 2022 -

GORZÓW WLKP. Timi Salonen Stal Gorzów Wielkopolski 2022 -

ŁÓDŹ Timo Lahti Orzeł Łódź 2022 -

SOSNOWIEC Olli Valtola Zaglębie Sosnowiec 2023 -

ZABRZE Richard Olav Jensen Górnik Zabrze 2022 - 2023

KĘDZIERZYN-KOŹLE Tuomas Sammelvuo ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle (Coach) 2022 -

JASTRZĘBIE-ZDRÓJ Eemi Tervaportti Jastrzębski Węgiel 2020 - 2023



Lauri Huhdanpää JKH GKS Jastrzebie 2022 -

Joona Monto GKS Katowice 2021 -

Olli-Petteri Viinikainen JKH GKS Jastrzębie 2022 -

Matias Lehtonen GKS Katowice 2021 -

TYCHY Olli Kaskinen GKS Tychy 2022 -

Mölkky in Poland - From Local Clubs to World Championship

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport

Mölkky in Poland From Local Clubs to World Championships

Mölkky Championship in Warsaw. Photo by Małgorzata Maniecka

KRAKÓW Benjamin Källman KS Cracovia 2022 -

TARNÓW Tero Aarnio Unia Tarnów 2022 -

SANOK Aatu Luusuaniemi STS Sanok 2023 Dominik Salama STS Sanok 2022 -

Mölkky is a Finnish throwing game similar to bowling or pétanque. It requires skill, precision, as well as strategic thinking. The Polish Mölkky Federation associates over a dozen Mölkky clubs and coordinates Polish Championships and a Grand Prix series. Local clubs often organize regional competitions as well. Representatives of Polish clubs also take part in international tournaments. In 2023, we organized the European Championships in Warsaw. Over 60 teams from 10 countries competed for medals and prizes. In August 2023, six Polish teams took part in the World Championships in Hyvinkaa, Finland. Looking ahead, we are committed to playing and promoting Mölkky. In 2024, the World Championships will be held in Japan. It will be the largest Mölkky tournament in history, with over 500 teams of four to six players. We hope that Polish teams will be among them.

Jere Karlsson STS Sanok 2022 Juho Mäkelä STS Sanok 2022 -

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Niko Ahoniemi STS Sanok 2022 Sami Tamminen STS Sanok 2021 -

OŚWIĘCIM Erik Ahopelto Unia Oświęcim 2022 -

Tommi Laakso Unia Oświęcim 2022 -

Kalle Valtola Unia Oświęcim 2023 -

Ville Heikkinen Unia Oświęcim 2023 -

Mölkky Championship in Warsaw. Photos by Małgorzata Maniecka

Polish Mölkky Federation Rafal Wesolowski


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

From Poland to Finland - Julia Zielińska’s Journey as a Rising Ice Hockey

FROM POLAND TO FINLAND Julia Zielińska's Journey as a Rising Ice Hockey Star Julia Zielińska is a 19-year-old Polish ice hockey player who moved to Finland in 2017 to join Kiekko Espoo. Together with this club, she has won the Finnish Championship twice, been runner-up once and has won the Finnish U20 Championship. Julia has also won Slovakian Championship with Popradske Lisky. Moreover, she is a strong asset of the Polish women’s national ice hockey team. For the 2024/25 season, she has signed with the Beavers in the United States, where she will become the first Polish hockey player to compete in the NCAA Division 1. Julia Morta asked Julia Zielińska about her career and life in Finland. At what age did you realize that you wanted to play ice hockey professionally? From the very beginning I had high ambitions and was motivated to work hard for my future. I knew I wanted to achieve something connected with ice hockey. I started playing when I was around 9, which is relatively late. Compared to the boys I played with, I was just a beginner and had to develop much faster than they did. That made me realize that I had to work harder than the others because I wanted hockey to be a significant part of my life. You trained with boys for several years. How did this experience contribute to your development as a player? Being able to practice with boys from the beginning had a huge impact on my development as a player and as a person.


Being in a team with boys and girls is completely different. At a young age, the physical differences between girls and boys are not as big, but due to my late start it was very challenging for me to play as well as they did. I probably would not have developed as quickly in girls teams. Playing with boys taught me a lot about physicality and the speed of the game. You moved to Finland as a 14-year-old. What was your initial impression of the country? I was just a young girl who wanted to live her dream and play ice hockey at a higher level. I came to Finland because I wanted to develop. I knew that I would be here without my parents, but that didn’t bother me. However, I would not have been able to live a peaceful life without the people I met here who helped me a lot. Of course,

I was a bit nervous before I arrived and during the first few weeks, but soon everything started working out very well. What are your favorite things about Finns and Finland? I love the Finnish mentality and how calm and peaceful life is in Finland. People do not rush, they simply live and enjoy their lives. I had heard the stereotype before, that Finns are very rude and closed off people but, as I said before, without their support I would not have been able to thrive and enjoy my time here. Have you learned the Finnish language? Finnish is super hard, especially because there are two separate spoken and official languages. Since I came to Finland, I have been studying only in English, both in vocational school and the

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport What are the main differences between ice hockey in Finland, Poland, and Slovakia? Where did you feel most at home? There is a huge difference between ice hockey in Poland and Slovakia, and an even greater difference between Slovakia and Finland. The speed, the skills, and the way players are treated and prepared for the season are the most visible differences. In Poland and Slovakia, I only played for one year in each team. In Finland, I have already played for four years, which has created a familiar environment for me here. I have also spent an important period of my life in Espoo when I was growing up, so this culture will probably stay with me for a long time. What was your proudest moment on the rink so far? It was probably winning the championship two seasons ago, in 2021/22. That was my first season actively playing with the women's team in Naisten Liiga. It was my first medal when I actually felt that I helped the team and was a valuable member of it. What was the most valuable advice you received from coaches or teammates over the years? The most valuable advice I received was to be myself, both on and off the ice, and to enjoy every minute of it. I have also been told quite a few times that ice hockey should be fun and there is no need to overthink. In Finland, my coach told me to play with my heart and not think too much out on the ice.

What makes an ice hockey player exceptional? Each ice hockey player is unique, with different styles and ways of thinking on the ice. Personally, I think what distinguishes exceptional players is that they deeply enjoy playing and are able to have fun during the game. What is your favorite thing about ice hockey? One of my favorite aspects is the opportunity to meet many new people and explore different places. I love having people around me and, even though they are not my biological family, it does not take long for me to feel very close to them. Ice hockey creates bonds between people, not only within one team but sometimes also between fans and players, and I think that that is beautiful. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? At the moment, I am focusing hard on the upcoming season. I am trying to prepare as best as I can, because I know this season is going to be very important for me. It is my last year before I leave for the United States to play in the NCAA. I am the first Polish female ice hockey player to play in America. I would really like to show other young girls in Poland that this is nothing to be scared of and they should chase their dreams. That is why my main goal for the next few years is to be the best version of myself, both as a person and a player.

Finnish high school, where I recently graduated from the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which is taught entirely in English. I understand a lot of Finnish, but I have difficulty speaking. What would you bring from Finland to Poland? First, I would bring the mentality of the people. Second, in terms of ice hockey, the way people treat this sport and how much they love it. What do you miss about Poland? I definitely miss my family and friends the most. I also miss playing with the boys a lot, though I know that at my age, I wouldn’t be able to play with them anymore anyway. The other thing I miss is my mom’s and grandma’s food.


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Language Schools Offering Finnish Courses


Language Schools Offering Finnish courses On the basis of own research

GDAŃSK Wave Centrum Językowe Online/Individual courses +48 609 087 301

SZCZECIN British School Online individual course +48 505 845 104

POZNAŃ Edual House Online/On-site individual courses +48 505 845 104

TORUŃ UMK Uniwersyteckie Centrum Języków Obcych Group/Individual courses online +48 566 114 212

ŁÓDŹ Leader School Online individual course +48 607 770 999

KATOWICE LinguaCity - Centrum Obsługi Językowej Online/Group/Individual courses +48 696 434 142


The Finnish School of Warsaw - Varsovan Suomi-Koulu

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport

The Finnish School of Warsaw - Varsovan Suomi-Koulu

WARSAW Centrum Europy Online/On-site Individual/Group courses +48 226 294 588 - Szkoła Języków Skandynawskich Group course online +48 605 436 073 SKRIVANEK Individual course online +48 601 721 999 Towarzystwo Polska - Finlandia Online/On-site Individual/Group courses +48 606 290 008

Summer Picnic finalizing the 2022-23 school year. Photo by Varsovan Suomi-koulu

Varsovan Suomi-koulu promotes Finnish culture and language among children with Finnish background. It is part of a global network of Finnish schools. Suomi-koulu provides children with an opportunity to connect with each other and communicate in Finnish. The teaching is complementary to regular schooling - lessons take place twice a month on Sundays. During the classes, children are encouraged to work together and engage in various activities, including handcrafts, written assignments, various games, and learning Finnish songs and traditions. Additionally, students participate in special events such as a visit from Santa Claus and Summer Picnic at the end of the year. New school year, new location Currently, due to the renovation of the Embassy of Finland, Suomi-koulu is organized in an alternative location in Mokotów. The school continues to run smoothly thanks to dedicated teachers and active parents from the local Finnish community. We like to say that Suomi-koulu is a state of mind, not a place! New volunteers and children are warmly welcomed.

Finnish for employees? Why not! Nothing helps you to get familiar with a country and its business culture better than knowing its language.

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Driada School of Scandinavian Languages offers Finnish courses for companies on beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Learning can take place online or at your company (if you are based in Warsaw). Help your employees and business grow with Driada!

Class in session! A new school year starting in a children's cafeteria in Mokotów. Photo by Varsovan Suomi-koulu

Children learning about kantele instrument in Kalevala, the Finnish National Epic. Photo by Varsovan Suomi-koulu +48 605 436 073

Lassi Vainio, Chairman Facebook: Varsovan Suomi-koulu


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Books Translated from Finnish to Polish in 2023

Books Translated from Finnish to Polish in 2023 Ella at Night-School “Ella yökoulussa” Parvela, Timo | “Ella w nocnej szkole” transl. Kiuru, Iwona | Publisher: Dwukropek


A new adventure of the energetic girl, Ella. Now she's already in the second grade, and her cool teacher is even better than she previously thought. He promised to organize a Night-School. Kind of. The teacher said it'll happen under a ridiculous condition. But he probably didn't expect that the kids would do anything to make that promise come true. Grumblebelly Cat “Kurnivamahainen kissa” Hai, Magdalena | “Kot o burczącym brzuchu” transl. Kiuru, Iwona | Publisher: Widnokrąg

A children's book about a little girl who, thanks to her cleverness, avoids being devoured by a gigantic cat. The Grumblebelly Cat is a fairytale-like story about greed, which can destroy the world, and strength that can be hidden even inside a small child. Little Mouse and the Birthday Present “Pikku hiiri ja syntymäpäivälahja” Jäntti, Riikka | “Myszonek i urodzinowy prezent” transl. Kiuru, Iwona | Publisher: Frajda

"It's Little Mouse's birthday and he opens the door for the guests coming to celebrate together. There will be a lot of lovely presents, delicious birthday cake and some games and quizzes to keep everybody entertained. Warm, realistic and humorous story about Little Mouse and his Mom that shares many similarities with its readers' lives." Little Mouse Goes Camping

“Pikku hiiri telttaretkellä” Jäntti, Riikka | “Myszonek pod namiotem” transl. Kiuru, Iwona | Publisher: Frajda

In the seventh book from this lovely series, Little Mouse and his Mom go camping. After arriving at their destination, they set up the tent and grill some food. In the evening, Little Mouse listens to sounds of nature and tries to recognize them. Next morning, both Little Mouse and Mom are extremely hungry, but fortunately, the nearby restaurant is open. Mur and the Raindrop “Pisara kuonolla, Mur ” Happonen, Kaisa | “Mru Mru i kropla deszczu” transl. Nordling, Natalia | Publisher: Widnokrąg

Continuation of the series telling the story of a little bear cub. This time, Mur tries to understand what it means to be together and apart. Is it possible to be close, even though there is a long distance in between? And how is it possible that the raindrop and the sea are made of the same material? Penny Peanutheart and the Curse of the Brute Bug “Penni Pähkinäsydän ja mörkökuumeen kirous” Snow, Cristal | “Pati Miłorzeszek i klątwa upiornej gorączki” transl. Homanowska, Anna. Publisher: Nasza księgarnia

Second book about the thumb-sized fairy, Penny Peanutheart. In Windnest Woods, a brute bug spreads. One of its victims is Hilda, Penny's classmate who's been making fun of her. However, the small fairy can't turn her back even on her bully and decides to help. A heart-warming story about growth, friendship, honesty, and inner beauty. Penny Peanutheart and the Wretched Banishment Cake “Penni Pähkinäsydän ja kauhea kadotuskakku” Snow, Cristal |“Pati Miłorzeszek i paskudne ciasto zguby” transl. Homanowska,

The first book in the series about adventures of a thumb-sized fairy. This time Penny meets Sean, a know-it-all fairy boy. His company for the whole summer seems unbearable, so Penny and her friends declare a war to get rid of the intruder. The story shows that first impressions can be deceitful, and some friendships take time. Radio Popov “Radio Popov” Portin, Anja | “Radio zapomnianych dzieci” transl. Aniszewska, Katarzyna | Publisher: Widnokrąg

Fascinating story about friendship and loneliness. Nine-year-old Alfred is basically alone. One night he follows a mysterious character, who provides unexpected items through letter holes. The boy discovers the existence of the Sharp Ears, an organization supporting kids similar to him. When he finds an old radio transmitter, Alfred starts his nightly broadcast to help all forgotten children. Shadows: Book 1. The Jingle

“Varjot 1. Helähdys” Parvela, Timo; Pitkänen, Pasi | “Dzwoneczek. Seria cienie” transl. Musielak, Sebastian | Publisher: Dwukropek

Pete's best friend, Sara, suffers from an incurable illness, and he's ready to give anything, even his own shadow, for her to be healthy again. But together with his shadow, something else disappears - he can’t feel any emotions. Soon he learns that he's not the only shadowless person, and even Santa Claus is in danger of losing his shadow. If that happens, the whole world could be in danger. Tatu and Patu at the Kindergarten

“Tatu ja Patu päiväkodissa” Havukainen, Aino; Toivonen, Sami | “Tatu i Patu w przedszkolu” transl. Kiuru,

Another bizarre adventure of Tatu and Patu. The boys have won a lottery prize - a free day at a spa. However, when they arrive, instead of cucumber face masks, they find storytelling and singing. The boys have mistaken two similar buildings and ended up at the kindergarten. Luckily, the day in the Under Fives Club kinder-garten turns out to be much more fun than any spa could be.


Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport In 2023, as many as twenty books from five different genres were translated from Finnish to Polish. Justyna Robak from Literary Translators’ Collective KIRJA prepared a complete list available below. KIRJA consists of nine Polish professionals who actively promote Finnish literature through its social media channels and webpage

The Woodland Night “Mur ja metsän ilta” Happonen, Kaisa | “Mru Mru i leśny wieczór. Opowiadania na dobranoc dla dużych i małych” transl. Kiuru, Iwona. Publisher:

Compilation of ten charming bedtime stories in which woodland animals are the main characters. In the evenings, woods are full of life and little critters that hide during the day carefully explore their surroundings. The emotions these forest inhabitants experience and the discoveries they make surely would be familiar to Mur's young readers. Follow the Butterfly “Terapiassa” Kaukonen, Martta | “Podążaj za motylem” transl. Kojro, Bożena | Publisher: Czarna Owca


Clarissa, a famous psychotherapist, is convinced that only she can save her patients. However, she feels responsible for the suicide of a teenager and is haunted by it. Now, a young serial killer named Ira becomes her new patient. These two women are connected by a secret, but only one of them knows about it. This leads to a cat-and-mouse game, which won't have a happy ending. Swing “Kiikku” Ollikainen, A. M. | “Huśtawka” transl. Kojro, Bożena | Publisher: Czarna Owca

The body of elderly woman is found hanging in the forest. Her death is labeled a suicide, but inspector Paula Pihlaja feels that something doesn't add up. Soon a second body appears. It seems that both victims had to balance on the seesaw just before they died. After a third murder, it is clear this is a case of a serial killer, who needs to be caught immediately. The Rabbit Factor “Jäniskerroin” Tuomainen, Antti | “Czynnik królika” transl. Praski, Łukasz | Publisher: Albatros

Henri Koskinen, an insurance mathematician, calculates everything in life. Nothing unexpected should happen, but of course, that's not how the universe works. He suddenly loses his job and inherits an amusement park, a place with strange employees and huge debt owed to some shady people. He also meets Laura, an artist, whose chaotic lifestyle is incomprehensible for him. Defiance “Ei kertonut katuvansa” Kinnunen, Tommi | “Powiedziała, że nie żałuje” transl. Musielak, Sebastian | Publisher: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie


In 1945, five women found themselves on the way home from the prison camp in Norway. But is there a home to go back to? The decision to follow German troops put them together on a shameful journey through war-destroyed Lapland. The novel shows that the war doesn't have an end date and the choices made during the diicult times have far-reaching consequences. The Colonel´s Wife “Everstinna” Liksom, Rosa | “Pułkownikowa” transl. Bobotek, Artur | Publisher:

This book is an internal monologue of a woman recounting her life story. Her destiny was determined by the men closest to her - first her father and then her husband. This novel portrays the rise of fascism in Finland and Europe as a background for the fate of a woman bound by love and circumstances. Nevertheless, she survives difficulties and finds her own peace. The Woman Who Borrowed Memories

Jansson, Tove | “Kobieta, która pożyczała wspomnienia” transl. Czechowska,

A selection of stories from Travelling Light, Letters from Klara and Fair Play. Although Tove Jansson is mostly known for her Moomin series, she also wrote several novels and short stories. Her characters are realistic, often older, wise, and courageous. Stories from Fair Play contain references to Jansson's friendship with Tuulikki Pietilä. Mannerheim: Polish years


“Mannerheim: Puolan vuodet” Anna & Jukka Soisalon-Soininen | “Mannerheim: polskie lata” transl. Bator, Ewelina; Gąsiorowska-Siudzińska, Mariola; Kulicka-Soisalon-Soininen, Anna; Mączka, Beata; Zipper, Małgorzata. Publisher: Muzeum Ziemi Minskiej

The book is a compilation of articles written by Finnish and Polish historians and journalists. It describes the years that Marshal Carl Gustav Mannerheim spent in Poland and the influence they had on his worldview. Previously unpublished documents provide a perspective on Polish-Finnish relations and diplomacy of that time. How to Raise the World’s Happiest Children “Näin kasvatat lapsestasi mukavan aikuisen” Puura, Kaija | “Jak wychować dziecko na fajnego człowieka” transl. Aniszewska, Katarzyna. Publisher: Luna

Kaija Puura is a Child Psychiatry professor at Tampere University and Chief Physician at the Department of Child Psychiatry at Tampere University Hospital. In the book, she presents examples from everyday life to provide parents with insight how their behavior can positively impact their child's growth. Master storytellers - Scandinavian winter

Short stories

Ivalo, Santeri; Siekkinen, Raija; Raevaara, Tiina; Canth, Minna; Koskinen, Juha-Pekka; Kivelä, Malin | “Mistrzowie opowieści. Skandynawska zima” transl. Matysek, Ida; Musielak, Sebastian; Wojciechowska, Karolina; Szalst, Agata; Kyntäjä, Dorota; Czechowska, Justyna; Kiuru, Iwona. Publisher: Wielka Litera

Short stories in this tome of the Master Storytellers series are centered around winter. Among the Nordic authors whose writing was selected for this compilation, six come from Finland. The collection presents a northern perspective on the season, which, for Nordics, is the longest. 69

Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Where Two Toms Meet - On the Importance of Reading

Author meeting with Tommi Kinnunen in Poznań. Photo by Tomasz Wnuk

WHERE TWO TOMS MEET On the Importance of Reading Tommi Kinnunen is a Finnish writer and a teacher of Finnish literature and language. His debut novel, “Where Four Roads Meet”, became a bestseller and received several nominations and awards. Subsequent books achieved similar success. In February, Tommi met with his readers in Warsaw and Poznań to talk about his fourth novel, "Defiance", which was recently published in Poland. The book presents a unique, historically forgotten portrait of Finnish women who return home from Norway after World War II. It was translated to Polish by Sebastian Musielak.


You are in Poland for the first time, right? How do you like the country so far? Yes, this is my first time here. I must say that I really enjoy Poland. Especially here in Poznań, I am having a great time. I walked this little promenade here today. God, how beautiful this city is. Yesterday, you had the first meeting with your readers in Warsaw. Do you see any differences between Polish readers and Finnish readers? Well, actually, yes. I must say that Polish readers seem to be more intelligent than Finnish ones. For example, when I had an interview in Warsaw, it was about themes and methods. In Finland, I was asked questions like: how do you feel when you write? It was more like an interview about my person. It is an important topic for me because I am not only an author but also a teacher. I teach Finnish language and literature. I wish I could teach my Finnish students

to be the same as Polish readers. I would be happy. How do you do that? You must read a lot in school. In my case, school killed off my desire to read. That was because I was forced to read classical books that were difficult for a young person. I asked the previous question because your book is partly about the Finnish nation. I think Polish readers will approach it with more distance. If you are Finnish, you might feel a little frustrated and angry when you learn how Finns treated the women returning from Norway after World War II. This is a rather difficult topic, because these women who walked back do not officially exist. They really do not exist in the history books. When I was a young child, I heard stories about these ladies who walked back more than 600 kilometers without food. When I started working on this book, I tried to find some information, reports and documents. And I could not find anything. I remember my teacher in upper secondary school once talking

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport about these ladies. I contacted her and asked if she had interviewed any of them. She replied that she had tried to do this in the 80s and 90s, but no-one was willing to talk, and so far they have remained silent. So after I finished writing the book, I was somewhat amazed to receive several contacts from older people who said they had actually seen women marching in a square in the city of Kuopio. I find it quite horrible that we have lost this piece of women’s history. We lost 50% of our country's history because we did not want to admit what happened at that time.

for example, in order for a Polish person to understand it. It is the same book, but at the same time it is a bit different. And I like it. It is starting to live its own life.

Your book opened up some public debate about this lost history.

I know that you are a teacher in Turku. I visited Turku last summer – it is a beautiful city, very different from Helsinki. I wanted to ask about your role as a teacher. Do you think it is also necessary to teach how to read books?

Yes, because history usually includes only men's history. It is all about battles, wars, peace treaties, and so on. But where is the history of women? It is totally lost and now is the last moment to get it back. At the beginning of the book, you wrote that it is not your goal to write a history book. But even as a fiction book, it still has an impact on history. I have a role model, the Finnish writer Kaari Utrio, who is very strict with all the details. We used to say that if Kaari Utrio told us that something happened, we would have to believe her. I try to do the same. I live in the art archives and conduct interviews. So I wanted to be real. As real as possible. I wanted it to be true. I would also like to ask about your cooperation with translator Sebastian Musielak. How did that work and are you happy with how it went?

Do you read any Polish literature? Or do you know any Polish authors? Well, at the moment I am not. I am not so sure what Polish books have recently been translated into Finnish. I remember reading several Polish books while I was studying. For example, those by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk.

Kind of, yes. I used to work in an upper secondary school attended by children from 13 to 16 years old. We have a completely different system compared to yours. For example, we used to go to the library quite often and I would decide what genre we were reading. I would say “now we are reading horror books,” or “now we are reading sci-fi books," and the students decided which book they wanted. Perhaps that could be considered teaching how to read books. In my opinion, there are no people who hate reading, there are only people who have not yet found the right book.

I asked this because I have a lot of intelligent friends who do not like to read books. They do not find it entertaining enough to read. I think it is a problem that these people do not know how to read in order to gain pleasure from it. Reading is slow. When we use mobile phones, we are used to everything happening so fast. After opening the book, you have to read it for two weeks to find out who the murderer is. Of course, it is a long process but it also teaches you concentration. I think the most important thing to teach students at school is how to find the book they want to read. The point is not to read poems, but to find useful reading and enjoy it. I have one last question. I am a big fan of David Foster Wallace. In one interview, someone asked him: what can literature do that other forms of art cannot? I have not thought about it before, but I would say that literature gives us the possibility to fully see other people, understand what they think and feel, and how they see the world. When we watch movies, we only see what people do. We observe their reactions, but we cannot go inside, while literature allows us to do that. Through reading books, you can become someone else for a short time. Literature teaches us empathy, we learn to understand why someone else makes different kinds of choices than we would.

Autograph signing by Tommi Kinnunen in Poznań. Photo by Tomasz Wnuk

Yes, Sebastian is very skillful and professional. There is one thing that I found interesting. Sebastian writes to me quite often. Sometimes he asked about things I did not have the slightest clue about. In Finnish, we do not use two pronouns: he and she. We only have one. And he sent me questions like "on page x.... is this person a he or a she?" or "is the cat a he or a she?" And for me, as a Finn, we do not care about genders at all. It was a horrible thing. Now I have to make up my mind if it is a male or a female. Are you afraid that your book will lose a bit of its meaning after translation into different languages? No. I write a book once and the translator writes it another time, so the book is actually written twice. Maybe something is lost, but who really cares. There are some things that the translator must work out,


Culture & Sport | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Finnish Author Writing About Belarus, Poland, and East Europe. Interview with Toni Stenström Photo by Toni Stenström


Toni Stenström is the author of "Valko-Venäjä - vaiettu historia" (Belarus – a Silenced History), the first chronological history book about Belarus in the Finnish language. Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Toni about the book, which covers Belarusian history from the early Middle Ages to the war in Ukraine in 2022. Naturally, it also features many events from Polish history, especially from the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Second Polish Republic. Toni is currently working on an updated English version, which will be published in 2024. Toni started writing the book after his exchange semester in Minsk, where he took courses at Belarusian State University, specializing in international relations and East European history. During his extensive travels in Belarus and its neighboring countries, he formed long-lasting friendships with many locals. Afterward, he also worked as a tour guide in Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, and other nearby countries. Since the book is about Belarussian history, it must include a lot about Poland as well. Do you think there could be something new also for Polish readers? The western half of Belarus was a part of Poland during the interwar years. My book illustrates how the old border is still very visible inside contemporary Belarus, not only in the architecture of the cities, but also in the mentality and political orientation of the locals. The book also raises questions about the essence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – what exactly was the Lithuania that Mickiewicz referred to in his poetry, and to what extent can historical figures like Tadeusz Kościuszko be celebrated as shared heroes of contemporary Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania?


Is there some connection to Finland in your book? Since the Finnish version of the book was written primarily with the Finnish audience in mind, I included details about the early diplomatic contacts between Finland and Belarus in 1918, as well as the role of the Belarusians in the Winter War of 1939-1940. I also described how the Karelian lands, which the USSR had conquered from Finland, were resettled with Belarusian peasants, many of whom came from land seized from Poland just a few months earlier. What lessons from Poland’s history should we keep in mind when considering the future prospects of Belarus? Belarus has now been a totalitarian dictatorship for almost 30 years and many have lost hope for a democratic transition in the country. There are also Huntingtonian theories that the East Slavs are somewhat predestined to remain under a corrupt dictatorship. One should remember that many felt the same about Poland during Jaruzelski's rule, yet the Poland of 1991 turned out to be very different from the

Photo by Toni Stenström

Interview with Toni Stenström

Poland of 1981. Nowadays, the Poland of 2023 is a thriving and highly developed country, successfully integrated into all Western political and economic structures and playing a significant role in European politics. Some day, Belarus may be the Poland of today. Are there any similarities between Poland and Belarus that we might not be aware of? Having studied Polish and Belarusian, I sometimes feel that the Belarusian language is Polish in a Cyrillic disguise. In fact, the Belarusian vocabulary has many more similarities with Polish and Ukrainian than with Russian. However, Belarus has been Russified to the extent that most of its population speaks Russian at home. Pure Belarusian can nowadays be heard in certain villages in East Poland. If you want a closer look, just take a car and drive from Białystok to Białowieża along the border.

Task of The Translator - An Interview with a Finnish Translator of Polish Literature

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Culture & Sport

Meeting with Tapani Kärkkäinen in Helsinki, Finland. Photo by Tomasz Wnuk

TASK OF THE TRANSLATOR An Interview with a Finnish Translator of Polish Literature Tapani Kärkkäinen and Tomasz Wnuk

Tapani Kärkkäinen is a Finnish translator of Polish literature. He has translated the works of such writers as Olga Tokarczuk, Ryszard Kapuściński and Andrzej Sapkowski. Tomasz Wnuk talked with Tapani about the task of a translator.

The role of a translator is fascinating to me, but also still rather unclear. There are translators who can talk a lot about their profession and their translation strategies. I am not one of those. My strategy is intuition combined with a philological approach. To be a good translator, I must be in some sense a philologist who is well-read and who recognises different styles, intertextual references and so on.

Which Polish author means the most to you?

What are the challenges of translating works by Polish writers like Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk?

I have such a specific relationship with Hanna Krall because she was probably the first Polish author I read. Her "Shielding the flame" was translated into Finnish in 1983, around the same time that I traveled to Poland for the first time. Maybe that's why I have such a fondness for her. Later I had the opportunity to translate her collection of reportage. In his essay, The Task of the Translator, Walter Benjamin writes that the translator's task is to translate what lies between the text, the reading experience and cultural understanding. He also points out that translators are often writers or poets themselves. What do you think about this?

In recent years, I have worked mainly with Tokarczuk and Sapkowski. What I was doing was translating one book by Tokarczuk and one book by Sapkowski, and then some smaller things. Every time I translated Sapkowski, I felt a huge relief when I handed the book back and started translating Tokarczuk. Sapkowski is so linguistically, culturally and historically rich. His prose is dense with cold and old Slavic vocabulary. It is so incredibly complex and extensive. Before I could translate one sentence of Sapkowski, I had to research the vocabulary for a long time and do a lot of philological work. In The Hussite Trilogy, there is a lot of such old vocabulary from the PolishCzech or Polish-German borderlands. I was very relieved that the prose of Tokarczuk is so clear that I can translate

one sentence and only then dive in deeper and explore more. With Sapkowski, I couldn't do anything before I did a tremendous amount of philological work. This does not mean that translating Tokarczuk is somehow easier. In Tokarczuk's language, there are a great many small breaks or gaps, and she leaves a lot of things unsaid, so the reader has to fill in some gaps and holes that are there. In my opinion, the task of the translator is to leave these gaps and ellipses, and not to elaborate and explain more than is there. This is difficult in the case of Olga Tokarczuk. And so we're back to that previous question related to the translator's task! When translation is not done expertly, then the reader will feel some kind of discomfort that something is not quite right there. Maybe it is the fault of the translator who did not translate this passage well. The reader must have the illusion that the text was written in Finnish. It's such an agreement between the reader and the translator whereby the reader knows it wasn't written in Finnish, but believes it for the reading pleasure. I see my role as maintaining that illusion. It's a strange contract between the reader and the translator.


Meet our Team | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Meet our Team

Meet our Team

Tuomas Asunmaa

Weronika Gidel-Asunmaa

Andrzej Wiśniewski

Co-Founder & CEO of Spondeo

Co-Founder & Headhunter

Go-to markets: CEE & Nordics

Tuomas is a Co-Founder and captain of Spondeo but also a headhunter, advisor, event organizer, salesman, controller and business developer. Tuomas started his journey in Poland in 2005, and has lived in Wrocław, Warsaw and now in Poznań since 2015. He likes Polish pragmatism and never stopping dynamics and enjoys making some "funny" observations. In free time he is passionate about music, books, sports and art and is fighting against the world by ordering 5 Finnish newspapers in a paper format to Poznań. His biggest accomplishment is that their 8-year old daughter speaks fluent Finnish and the fact that 85% of Spondeo sales comes from via network and recommendations.

Weronika is Spondeo's Co-Founder and an HR manager with broad experience in a multinational environment. With 13 years of experience in the industry, she is an expert who excels in connecting top talents with Spondeo's clients across various businesses. Committed to her core values, which include a strong focus on development, a belief in independence, and a dedication to promoting work-life balance. Beyond her professional pursuits, Weronika is an enthusiast of the arts - currently a big fan of Polish artist - Lukasz Patelczyk and Finnish painter - Jaakko Mattila. Proud mum of Maria, in love with Lapland's frosty winters and the northern simplicity of life.

Andrzej joined Spondeo in 2016 with little more than a general understanding of Finns and Finland. Since then, he has lauded the people of Finland for their moral character, originality, and dry sense of humor. He genuinely enjoys his work, which is frequently related to cross-border business development and market entry projects. He perceives it not only as a way of growth for companies but also as an opportunity for fostering intercultural understanding and cooperation. Regarding his working style: actionoriented, seeks out the best solutions, has an agile attitude and thinks outside the box. After work, he enjoys doing sports, walking the Polish mountains, and taking the Finnish sauna.

Piotr Worsztynowicz

Tomasz Wnuk

Anna Jędrzejewska

Business & Sales Consultant

Business Navigator

Recruitment & Design

Piotr joined Spondeo in 2018 and ever since has been engaged in sales projects for our industrial and IT customers. He is a graduate of European Studies at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and MBA of Georgia State University program at University of Economics in Poznań. He is a big fan of his family and Lech Poznań football club. He loves to play football, tennis and chess with his 14 years old son. Piotr’s goal is to beat him one day.

Tomasz graduated from International Economic Relations at the Poznan University of Economics and Business and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Marketing. Tomasz joined Spondeo in February 2021 as a business consultant and has been working on several international projects since then. Professionally and academically, he is interested in sustainable development. In this regard he is active in the Student Club at his university, serving as vice president. Privately, he is passionate about fitness, and all kinds of good literature. His favorite author is David Foster Wallace, whose works have inspired him to think critically and creatively.

Anna is a graduate of Poznań University of Economics and Business and joined Spondeo in June 2021. She has an analytical and creative mind - totally into the aesthetics of graphics, photography, design, and, oddly enough, the order of Excel sheets. She finds herself well in any projects, especially the ones involving recruiting and making graphics. She enjoys reading psychological books and learning Spanish. Painting, DIY, and plants are her chill-out zone from the everyday hustle. She can’t wait to go to Lapland this winter to see northern lights for the first time.


Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Meet our Team

Julia Morta

Natalie Kachmar

Tania Sen

Market research & Copywriting

Talent Sourcer

Talent Sourcer

Julia holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and has recently graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s degree in Management from Poznań University of Economics and Business. At Spondeo, she is responsible for various consulting projects, conducting market research, managing business newsletters and overseeing LinkedIn communication. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, making amateur movies and exploring different European cities.

Natalia has graduated from Lviv and Kyiv universities. Joined Spondeo right before the Russian-Ukrainian war and continuing working from Lviv now. Natalia is mostly involved into recruitment projects, but also into sales and marketing ones. In her free time she explores little-known places in Ukraine and show travel stories in her Instagram. Natalia also shoots short cinematic videos and always say “yes” to everything new.

Tania holds a bachelor's degree in English Language. She has a background as a language tutor and has contributed to creative projects at the Lviv Regional Youth Center. Her passion for helping individuals discover their ideal career paths led her to the role of Talent Acquisition Specialist at Spondeo. Tania indulges in clay sculpting, film photography, and watercolor painting. Her favorite show is "How To With John Wilson" because it resonates with her passion for creative writing, street photography and wholesome human nature.

Viktoriia Sviata

Piotr Gidel

Joonas Mäkilä

Market research & Website


Partner for the Czech Market

Mariia-Viktoriia (Vika) has worked in Spondeo for a year now and is focused on sales & market research projects, graphics and website management. Vika holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Lithuania, and currently is pursuing her Master’s in Multimedia in Portugal. In free time, she practices digital illustration and graphic design. Vika is passionate about street and people photography, as she likes to travel and explore different cultures. At the moment, she also practices videography and is exploring documentary films as her hobby.

Piotr joined Spondeo in 2022. He is a graduate of the Department of Law at the University of Wrocław. Most of his professional career Piotr has worked in broadly understood HR, from recruitment and retention to human resources management - with each and every project closely related to Finnish market. At work always goal-oriented and scrupulous yet not headstrong to the limits. Loves to travel and meet new people. Big fan of Finnish sauna, northern lights and rye chips.

Joonas, a seasoned business professional situated in Prague, boasts two decades of expertise in the FMCG and hospitality sectors, spanning local and international markets. His career encompasses roles within multinational corporations, as well as contributions to private equity-backed and entrepreneurial ventures. Presently, Joonas serves as the founder of the Bohemian Growth Company, dedicated to assisting companies in unlocking their full growth potential.


Maps | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

Finnish Companies in Poland by Industry


Finnish Companies in Poland by Industry On the basis of own research

Factories LĘBORK Alteams | Fiskars

BIAŁOGARD Termex Fiber

SZCZECIN FSP Steel Painting | HK Scan Hydroline | Cargotec


GNIEZNO Scanclimber

TOPORÓW Koskisen

POZNAŃ | Kera Awak | Nordec Prevex | Reka Rubber | Ruukki | Stofix

ŻARY Valmet Automotive

WROCŁAW Fortaco | Fortum | Teknoware |

| Walki

OPOLE Eltete | Metsa Tissue | ORAS Olesno | Wipak

GÓRNY ŚLĄSK Fortum | Heatmasters | Huhtamaki | Lammi Fundament | Miilux | Purmo | Scanfil


KRAKÓW Nordkalk | U-Cont



Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Maps


Avaus Marketing Innovations In4Mo Frosmo Iceye Nokia Nordea (IT) Nokia Rive Sofigate Swappie Teleste Tieto Trójmiasto Wolt

Nokia Bitcomp Etteplan Withsecure Nordcloud Vincit

Siili Solutions Tieto Unikie


Szczecin Bydgoszcz

Arnon | Darekon | Gebwell Promeco | Wartsila


Poznań Warsaw



Axopar Boats | Saxdor Yachts VA Varuste | Xo Boats





Górny Śląsk Kraków Etteplan Dunning Kruger & Associates Nokia Siili Solutions Solteq Tieto Unikie

Barona ICT

Nokia Tieto Digital Workforce Eficode ePassi


WARSZAWA Amerplast | Teknos |



Pyroll | Stalatube | Scanfil | Uponor Infra



Allstars Engineering Beweship Deltamarin Ahlstrom-Munksjo Telecom Ahola Transport Ensto Martela Norian Accounting Geobear Metso Kipina Greencarrier Neles Ductor Kemira Halton Nokian Tyres Europress Konecranes HRX Nowa Era (SANOMA) Spondeo Lago Logistics ISKU Onninen Metsa Kemppi Kiilto Pellon Ukkone Kone Raisio Rex Nordic Lindstrom Telko Trójmiasto Valkea Media

Szczecin Toruń

Tikkurila Poznań





Łódź Wrocław Opole Górny Śląsk Kraków BMH Technology Comatec Molok UPM Vilpe Signal Solutions Cavieron Lago Logistics Outokumpu Distribution Renta Tamtron

Amer Sports Tactic Games AFRY Elomatic Nordea Valmet

77 77

Top Lists | Finnish Business & Culture in Poland

TOP25 Finnish Companies in Poland


TOP25 Finnish Companies in Poland in terms of sales (m EUR) in 2022 Headcount

Sales (m EUR)

Stora Enso

1,963 1,358

894 739

Cargotec Nokia


1,332 793 1,844 635 4,903





PKC Group


Fortum Power


Nordea Bank

228 185



Outokumpu Distribution






Metsa Tissue



Axopar Boats



Huhtamaki Foodservice



Nowa Era






Valmet Automotive












Valmet Technologies & Services





409 71











UPM Raflatac



Company name


Data source: EMIS & Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy


250 m EUR

500 m EUR

750 m EUR

Finnish Business & Culture in Poland | Top Lists

TOP10 Finnish Fast Growers


TOP10 Finnish Fast Growers

with sales over 3 m EUR in Poland in 2022 Sales growth multiplier 2021-2022 (%) 90

Company name

Sales (m EUR)

FSP Steel Painting



75 70



Kemira Świecie


Hydroline 62


3 5 12 15




YIT Development




Kera Awak







DELTABEAM® SLIM FLOOR STRUCTURE is a flexible solution always tailored to the customer’s needs. It enables slender and light structural solutions that provide savings in terms of volume and costs. Its composite action between steel and concrete allows for creative structures with large open spaces.

61 22 9 63

Data source: EMIS & Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy


20 m EUR

40 m EUR

60 m EUR


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