As the week-long Nordic activities was drawing to a close in Singapore–probably the most important week of year for the Nordics in Singapore–during Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH), a Nordic Innovation House reception took place at the Swedish Ambassador HE Mr Niclas Kvarnström’s Residence.
All the participants in the Nordic delegations, along with other local and international guests were in attendance to network further and reflect on the events and input everyone had gained from the very hectic week full of pitches, business meetings, seminars and attending the SFF x SWITCH conference for three whole days.
“This is a Nordic event and I have to say that we have a fantastic Nordic cooperation here,” began the Swedish ambassador. “Sometimes we are at the Swedish Residence and sometimes with Finland, Norway or Denmark and we should not forget Iceland. If I may add we also have Estonia here tonight.”
“But the most important thing I want to say is: Singapore always looks for the best solutions; what’s most interesting most cutting edge. And they are particularly attracted to small smart nations. And that really goes for all the Nordic countries and also for Estonia. And particularly I think Finland epitomises this. They’re sort of punching above your weight, staying ahead in terms of technology,” he said addressing Finland’s minister in attendance.
“Second, we should all be impressed by Singapore when it comes to Switch and the Fintech festival. We have had delegations there from the very start and it has grown into something larger than life, now this year with 60 000 participants and one thousand exhibitors – that’s incredible, that’s the world’s largest fintech festival by far. So it’s been fantastic. I’ve been out there at the Expo to feel the buzz. There are interesting things to look at everywhere but the most interesting is of course the Nordic pavilion!” exclaimed Mr Kvarnström.
He also highlighted the fact that the Nordics had managed to put together three different groups in segments that they are really good at: Fintech, Healthtech and Circular Economy & Energy.
“For all of the Nordic countries here in Singapore sustainability is one of the main priorities, one of the things we work the most on and an area where I know that Singapore has devoted increasing attention to,” he commented on the last segment.
Antti Vänskä, Finland’s Ambassador to Singapore stated that he agreed on all things that the hosting ambassador had said and added: “I want to emphasize that I’m a big fan of Nordic cooperation; that is something that we need to do and do all the time and not only here but in many places. And I definitely see the benefit of a lot of Nordic cooperation. Quite often the Nordics MUST co-operate, and it’s fruitful and fun.”
He thanked the Swedish ambassador for hosting the event and was honoured to invite the next speaker of the evening, Finland’s Miniser of Ecocnomic Affairs, Katri Kulmuni.
“I am very delighted to be here this evening. It brings a great chance to see how well the Nordic co-operation works. I come from the border and went to school in Sweden, so I am very glad to see how well it works.”
“We have a joint mission to enable support and boost international cooperation in general, and being minister of economic affairs I would like to add: especially in business and innovation. WE encourage our companies and organisations to establish their operations here in Singapore to access further Southeast Asian markets.”
“This week is full of dynamic programmes and the dynamic spirit of Singapore brings us golden opportunities, no doubt on that,” she concluded as she thanked the Nordic Innovation House and all the other parties involved in the arrangements.
Nordic Innovation House Singapore’s very own Community Director, Mr Sami Jääskeläinen then highlighted two key words in his address: collaboration and the mindset.
“First, this was the first full year for Nordic Innovation House here in Singapore and obviously that means we all have our own ways of working and doing things and now this was the first time when the Nordics were coming together to do these things together. This means finding those common ways of working processes and learning even more about each other. That requires a lot of collaboration and coordination.”
“We managed to get 33 companies from the Nordics this week,” he continued and shouted: “I think we managed to create a big buzz about Nordics in Singapore this week, right!?”
“The second thing, and even more important, is the mindset. If you have the mindset in place, the rest is just execution. Just… Truly, this has happened this year in Singapore, between Business Sweden, Innovation Norway, Finnish Embassy, Promote Iceland and of course with the help of all the Ambassadors and embassies, and we would not be able to do this without the right mindset and right Nordic collaboration,” concluded Sami.