In July 2018, The Global Access Program (GAP) at the UCLA Anderson School of Management held its annual Company Launch event with nine Finnish companies who are supported by Business Finland, amongst a total of 40 companies from nine other countries.
The Company Launch event is the commencement of the program where 5–7 initial hypotheses are decided for participants’ project in hopes of expanding their operations to the US.
This year, the mix of nine companies includes companies coming back for a second study, as well as completely new companies that are seeking to enter the market. Representatives from both the companies and Business Finland attended the event, and it proved to be a very productive weekend that was highly appreciated by all participants.
The list of companies who are attending in 2018 are:
The months leading up to the final presentations, held at the University of California in Los Angeles on December 1, include secondary research to comprehend the market and a minimum of 150 in-market research interviews that will give invaluable insight to the voices of the market such as potential customers, industry experts, and competitors.
The project encompasses over 2,000 hours of work by a team of 5–6 fully-employed MBA students (mid-level executives) that are currently gearing up to visit trade conferences in the prospective market and visit both Helsinki and Turku depending on the company the students are working for. Upon returning, the students will compile and analyze their research to create an investment-quality business plan with actionable recommendations for their client and prepare for the final presentation.
The Global Access Program runs every year for companies seeking to expand to the US. All of the 778 companies who have participated (including companies outside of Finland) have received over $1 billion in investments since their participation in the program. Program applications are due prior to April 1.
Each company that applies goes through a screening process prior to being accepted into the program. The screening process includes a review of the size of the company, which entails having a minimum of 10 employees and a minimum of $500,000 in revenues. Each company from Finland is brought to the program through Mr. Teemu Varonen at Business Finland who oversees the Finnish application process. An extensive list of all prior participating companies can be found on gap.ucla.edu.
Some of the other Finnish companies that have participated in GAP are:
Business Finland and GAP have a long-standing relationship in bringing Finnish Companies to new markets, which now totals 210 Finnish companies since the start of the relationship in 1999. Hearing the voice of a customer before entering a new large market allows companies to prepare with the advantage of reliable information. The relationship provides companies with low-cost, high-value research that gives companies insight into the current and future state of the market in the U.S, rather than what a search will tell you online. In the end, participant companies can take their next steps with accuracy and confidence.
Dr. Fredrik Leuhusen, Executive Director, Global Access Program
Visit GAP online
Visit Business Finland online