The Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. doesn’t only consist of employees of the Foreign Ministry of Finland. The Jewel of the Embassy Row, as the Embassy is often called, is also a home to five other U.S. based Finnish organizations. One of these organizations is Finpro – Finland Trade Center.
“What we do here at Finpro is quite unique compared to other government trade offices ” says the Head of Finland Trade Center in Washington D.C., Mr. Val Kratzman. “Our aim is to enable Finnish companies to focus, grow, and succeed in the U.S. markets,” Kratzman continues.
The US is a different business environment than other countries where Finland is active, if not by size alone. Finpro USA has pioneered many of the services and tools that it employs with Finnish companies globally ranging from corporate mentoring to the critically acclaimed Gazelle Accelerated Market Entry program to Test Drives to VC funding, global and local industry partnerships, and incubation practices. Finpro USA is proactive and its staff spends valuable time in Finland working with its clients in their offices and factories. According to Kratzman, “I cannot do my job as well as I can if I am not in Finland with my clients. My presence there is a critical success factor.”
Finpro is a global professional services company that partners with Finnish companies to focus, enhance, and accelerate international growth. Today, Finpro has over 350 professionals in 66 offices in over 50 countries. Finpro’s service offering is a unique combination of strong industry sector and target market knowledge, foresight, and globalization processes.
In addition to the U.S. head office in Stamford, Connecticut, Finpro has offices in Washington, DC, Santa Clara, California, and Houston, Texas.
The demand for Finpro’s services is on the increase. As the global markets change and become more complex and competitive, the local and market expertise that Finpro adds significant value to Finnish companies in their quest for global success. Many Finnish companies cite Finpro’s wide market reach and on-the-ground expertise as one of the primary reasons for partnering with Finpro. And, partnering is exactly what Finpro does. It becomes a part of the companies that it works with and allocates the best persons to each company.
In some cases one Finproner (as they refer to themselves) may work with a company, and in other cases a team is built to support a company. While Kratzman is a healthcare expert, he leads a team for an industrial products company that has resulted in that company securing international contracts. So, spending time with companies, listening, brainstorming, mentoring, even sparring, but always working side by side with the company is part of the Finpro success formula.
Mr. Kratzman has worked with start-ups through Fortune 100 companies and is an expert especially in strategic market entry, restructuring and repositioning and corporate image and identity from both client and agency perspective. He has established the U.S. operations for more than 10 companies, launched over 20 consumer, medical and scientific products and negotiated an equal number of licenses.
When asked why Finland and why for 18 years, Kratzman was quick reply. “Each day is different and I am challenged each and every day. This is so much in Finland from ideas to new companies to innovating thinking that I learn every day. Finland is the R&D capital of the world and it is fascinating and rewarding for me to be a part of it. But to be honest, it is a lot of hard work and I am learning to become the diplomat that our Ambassador is.”
Val Kratzman will be writing a monthly blog on the Finland in the U.S. Newsletter “Insight Finland” about Finpro U.S. operations, Finnish companies and innovation, and working at the Embassy in D.C., as well as other interesting notions about maneuvering in the local business ecosystem.
Head of Finland Trade Center Washington D.C.
Finpro’s North American Director of the Health Science Practice
Author of Finpro’s market entry program and co-developer of Gazelle Market Entry program
Lead member of team that addressed a national IP globalization and commercialization strategy
Instrumental in the restructuring of KPMG’s International Trade and Investment Service transforming it into Bearing Point.
Vice President and Global Director of Economic Development for Burson-Marsteller Vice President at Hill and Knowlton, New York.
Education: The Wharton Business School, George Washington University, and the Pennsylvania State University.
University of Chicago’s Executive Education Program
Guest lecturer at The New York University Executive MBA Program and published author.
Mr. Kratzman resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, an environmental educator