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Experiences in cooperation with Russian partners in Oulu region

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I am pleased to present the final results of MIF contribution in the KA4049 SpeakBusiness under CBC Karelia Program.

First of all, we are glad that the program SpeakBusiness has provided MIF opportunity to become a part of CBC joint initiatives with our partners including: Leader of the project – KED Fund- Petrozavodsk, Russian Presidential Academy RANEPA of Karelia and University of Eastern Finland. By realizing all quantitative and qualitative targets of our part of the project I believe MIF has become a valuable and trustworthy partner and we really appreciate our cooperation with Russian and Finnish colleagues and look forward to future joint projects.

Preparing the course was a challenge. MIF’s survey (MIF prepared and conducted own survey of about 1000 people from Oulu region) and intensive analysis of business community in Oulu Region showed limited interest for cooperation with Russian students/social entrepreneurs from the Republic of Karelia, especially among “future entrepreneurs of predominantly Russian origin” as was written in the contract. Nevertheless, this challenge allowed us to discover and assess the importance of growing Russian commune of Rosatom’s Hanhikivi NPP workers and their spouses. This group of potentially 5 000 Russians in Oulu Region becomes more and more important task for local administration and interesting and valuable task for MIF.

MIF ran the course for 17 students in Raahe. MIF provided preparations and realized fully of the program that MIF started on 5th of November 2019 till December 2019 for approximately 48 academic hours. The course covered topics of border proximity, social entrepreneurship and business in crossborder cooperation projects, project management, lean strategy and other issues. The survey and opinions after completing the course proved the importance of selected topic and its value for Raahe students of predominantly Russian origin. MIF was invited to continue with similar initiatives by Raahe and Pyhäjoki communities and administrations of both Finnish and Russian sides.

MIF provided consultations about internships for Russian trainees with project partners in Oulu 26- 29 of February including: preparatory lectures on cross culture, the newest ways of presenting projects, Finnish business characteristics, presentation of the projects in Raahe and Oulu, meetings with local business and academic potential partners as well as the best tourism business example in Kemi.

Our bulk task was providing the digilearning course. After many months of preparatory works, we successfully shared the course with first 50 students.  The course is addressed to students and entrepreneurs who are planning to start business in Finland or expand their cooperation with Finnish partners with a particular focus on the regions of Northern – Eastern Finland and Republic of Karelia.

Thanks to contribution, knowledge and expertise of our staff and partners, we have created a course that will help solve the most important challenges in expanding business including:

How to establish trusting and reliable relationships with Finnish business partners? This issue is presented by Michal Frackowiak within “Intercultural Communications in 7 Steps” program.

The challenges of negotiations are presented by Dave Eade in “Negotiation skills”.

In the following program David Eade shows best Presentation skills.

Important issue of Project management is taught by Johanna Salminen.

She is also the author of Lean Strategy course.

Finally, Business Communication is presented by Larisa Katysheva in her courses “How to pitch”, “Story telling” and others.

Also, our course includes Russian lectures on Strategy of socio-economic development of the Republic of Karelia, Project approach in state and municipal management in the RF and Project Management in Microsoft Project.

MIF planned its online course as auxiliary addition to the full-time program. But unexpected challenges for education in Covid- 19 pandemic have made online education the mainstream worldwide. Thus, we are glad that students of the ”CBC Karelia Program” will be able to continue their education in spite of restrictions and lockdowns studying in a convenient way and at any time. I believe that you can watch some lectures several times and still find them useful.

MIF helped in the surveys organized by partners Ranepa- Karelia and University of Eastern Finland and shared the results of own surveys. It helped to understand the real situation and potential of Finnish – Russian cooperation in the region.

MIF was participating in Capacity building seminar in Joensuu and was presented by two workers of Oulu department (November 2019). MIF Oulu delivered an hour presentation on Intercultural Communications and also MIF actively participated in Capacity building seminar and preparing Petrozavodsk students (October 2019).

Visibility – MIF participated in all obligatory events organized within the project. Before starting the trainings in Raahe (05.11.19) MIF provided powerful marketing of the training program to hundreds of companies, entrepreneurs and institutions in the project area. MIF published and delivered brochure on the program in 2 languages (Russian & English) to potential receivers. Information on the project, main events are visible on MIF’s website, on the Moodle platform for students, in social media Facebook Russians in Finland, in Oulu institutions and in the intranet in Raahe for Titan 2 and RAOS

We thank the European Commission, government of Finland and government of Russian Federation for an opportunity to become an additional value in terms of cooperation between both countries and we hope that this course will contribute to strengthening business relations between Finnish and Russian partners.

International programs aimed at strengthening the partnership between Russian Federation and Finland have been one of the priorities of MIF for several decades. Thanks to our long-term partnership with the Presidential Academy, MIF and its regional office in Oulu have already trained hundreds of Russian students and participants.

One of our recent and most important projects has been a training course for Russians working for the largest Russian investment project in the territory of Finland – a construction of nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki. The CBC Karelia SpeakBusiness project allowed us to understand perfectly the educational demands of this audience and to select the optimal educational tools that we will use in the future.

MIF is always ready to offer relevant, useful and well-tailored programs for our audience and is looking forward to cooperating with Russian partners.

To sum up, MIF’s program showed how important is cross culture in understanding what works and what does not in cross border cooperation and how crucial is to understand that in Finland it is necessary to meet students with students and business to business B2B in a well-organized way with understanding of cross culture background.

CBC Karelia SpeakBusiness project is vital EU initiative as one of few initiatives showing the real state of FIN- RUS cooperation issues.


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Timo Huuskonen, Principal
Management Institute of Finland MIF Oy

Rauno Logrén, Head of MIF Oulu department
Management Institute of Finland MIF Oy


Timo Huuskonen

Liiketoimintajohtaja MIF
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Rauno Logrén

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