Nordic Trade Mission: Day 1

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Visits to Finland offer insights into industry transformation through 5G, nuclear waste management and more

The familiar comfort of the rainy Finnish sky welcomed Commerce innovation cluster Delegates on our first day of Washington State Trade Mission to the Nordic region. The day began with a briefing by US Ambassador to Finland Douglas Hickey and his staff.

We visited the Nokia Experience Center and learned about the work bringing internet connectivity to the US and the global effort to advance 5G technology. It was exciting to see potential applications of 5G networks across a variety of industries. Here in Washington, ours EDGE 5G clusterled by the 5G Open Innovation Labhas field labs in agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, energy, and transportation and logistics.

We spent the rest of the day on the campus of the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. Our delegation members learned about VTT’s efforts in nuclear waste management and their Smart City Innovation Cluster and explored opportunities for collaboration.

Governor Jay Inslee and members of the Department of Commerce’s Nordic Trade Mission meet with executives from the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland

The leaders of the innovation cluster joined Governor Jay Inslee to learn about Finland’s approach to nuclear energy and waste management, and to discuss how Washington State could apply this technology to the Hanford nuclear site clean-up effort. The conversation was particularly relevant to the VERTical cluster in Washington, led by Port of Benton. VERTical is working to build a global supply chain for Advanced Module Reactors (AMR), and Finland is a world leader in recycling AMRs and developing reactors as heat generators.

Our delegates also met with the Smart Cities cluster and members of the VTT Future Lab to hear from companies of different sizes that expressed the value of cluster participation in terms of giving credibility and attracting customers organically, eliminating the need for international travel for company recruitment. The cluster also helps each company gain access to international markets through joint marketing campaigns, thereby generating interest in the country.

What is unique about the Smart Cities Innovation Cluster is that it encourages collaboration between members and helps spark new ideas for innovation.

Our delegates also met with the Smart Cities cluster and members of the VTT Future Lab to hear from companies of different sizes that expressed the value of cluster participation in terms of giving credibility and attracting customers organically, eliminating the need for international travel for company recruitment. The cluster also helps each company gain access to international markets through joint marketing campaigns, thereby generating interest in the country.

What is unique about the Smart Cities Innovation Cluster is that it encourages collaboration between members and helps spark new ideas for innovation.

US Ambassador to Finland Douglas Hickey receives Governor Jay Inslee and members of a Washington State trade delegation in September 2022

US Ambassador to Finland Douglas Hickey welcomes Governor Jay Inslee and members of a Washington State trade delegation to a networking reception with leading Finnish companies, academic institutions, economic development partners and embassy staff.

As one company said, “Together we are stronger. Even the largest company cannot solve an industry-wide problem alone.”

The day ended with a reception kindly hosted by Ambassador Hickey, along with the entire Washington State delegation to network with leading Finnish companies, academic institutions, economic development partners, embassy staff and resident dog Bongo.

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