Smart City Barcelona, Stockholm, Turku
“By working together the SMEs find it easier to enter new markets and, ideally, we can form consortia where different companies can provide complementing solutions and knowhow”, promises Sami Uusitalo.
This November saw several events centered around the theme of smart cities. The annual Nordic Smart Cities live was held at the start of the month in Stockholm where innovative and influential smart cities thinkers gathered together to share knowledge, present visions and highlight opportunities. Then, the largest smart city event of the year, Smart City Expo 2016, took place in Barcelona in mid-November.
The city of Turku of was part of the Finnish delegation of six cities and a dozen companies, led by Tekes’ Witty City programme, that participated in the expo. It was an opportunity for the cities to present their smart city solutions and highlight future projects together with our Nordic friends from Norway and Denmark. The event was a success in strengthening the cooperation between Nordic cities as well as expanding our networks internationally with, for example, Amsterdam and New York.
iWater – possible stage for Finnish water cluster?
This year saw also the iWater conference held alongside Smart City Expo in a separate hall. More than 100 water solution providers, mainly from Spain and Denmark, presented their solutions and knowhow together with countries such as Mexico, Peru and Brazil highlighting future business opportunities. Next year, iWater could be an interesting opportunity for the Finnish water cluster to promote its knowhow for an international audience.
Finally, the end of November saw our project SME2Go hold its, admittedly rather humbler but just as inspired, Smart City Meetup in Stockholm. We had nearly 100 participants hear different markets and opportunities presented by chosen experts. Also, we had almost 50 meetings take place between the attending SMEs.
This event was also an opportunity for us to tease our upcoming reports on business cases. These are six market opportunities prepared by experts from such target markets as the US, Japan, Mexico, and United Arab Emirates. The business cases present needs for smart city related technologies and solutions within promising markets. These reports will be ready by the end of November and SME2Go will then present them to SMEs in Finland, Sweden, and Estonia.
SME2Go helps to enter new markets
After the reports have been released, we aim to form consortia from all the interested companies that can then seek to pursue these opportunities. Our thinking is that by working together the SMEs find it easier to enter new markets and, ideally, we can form consortia where different companies can provide complementing solutions and knowhow and are thus more capable to compete for these opportunities. The project will also provide other support for these consortia like for example targeted training in relevant issues like IPR issues, cultural matters, or local tax laws etc. Finally, we can help the companies in visiting the chosen markets by providing them with local expert help on how to enter that market.
Of course, this is not the only way SME2Go seeks to help smart city companies. We speak of a project, but with SME2Go our aim is not “to do a project”, but to be as concrete, flexible, helpful as possible. There are many more events and opportunities coming, so watch this space.
The author works as a senior advisor in Turku Science Park Ltd. He currently focuses on internationalization of smart city SMEs in co-operation with Swedish and Estonian partners in SME2GO project.