NORDIC INNOVATION HOUSE SINGAPORE – “SCALING THE BEST OF THE NORDICS”
The Nordic Innovation House celebrated its soft launch in Singapore on September 13th, 2018. Below Sami Jääskeläinen, who was recently appointed Community Manager and is heading operations here, provides us with more details about the Nordic Innovation House Singapore (NIH-SG).
What is the Nordic Innovation House and how does it function?
Nordic Innovation House is a platform accelerating high-quality Nordic startups and scaleups in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Via our strong community and network, we connect Nordic companies into the right ecosystem stakeholders, such as investors, incubators, accelerators, different innovation platforms, government agencies, academia and also relevant service providers.
We are a unique collaboration between five Nordic countries Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark – we all share the mission of building bridges between the Nordics and Southeast Asia.
Today the Nordic Innovation House has a presence in Silicon Valley, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. While we are developing a global network and framework our operations will always be tailored to serve the local ecosystem needs.
What brings the Nordics together and how do you see the Nordics collaborating in Singapore?
Besides a similar culture and mindset, we share many core values. Nordic collaboration has a long history back home and over time we have realized that we are much stronger together.
In Singapore, the Nordic collaboration is well established. I believe that the Nordic Innovation House as an umbrella will make it even more comprehensive as it brings together Nordic countries and different organizations on many different levels. This will also help lift and strengthen the Nordic brand here in Singapore as well as in Southeast Asia.
Let me mention a few concrete examples. We have already hosted a start-up company delegation participating in the education Fair EduTECH Asia and next week the Nordic Innovation House will be organizing a seminar on digitalization in the energy sector in conjunction with Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW). In November we are hosting several Nordic Fintech delegations as part of the Singapore FinTech Festival. Across all these activities, our role is to organise matchmaking and networking events with potential investors and business partners.
Singapore is a hub that attracts regional and global talent and capital. It is also the regional home base hosting the headquarters of most multinational corporations and decision makers. The whole startup ecosystem, the infrastructure and the supporting functions are world class here making Singapore a natural springboard to Southeast Asian markets for startups and scaleups that want to tap into to the potential of this 630 million plus consumers market.
The Nordic Innovation House will have a strong focus on industries where Singapore and the Nordic countries share similar interests and where the Nordics have high-quality growth companies. The main areas are MedTech and HealthTech, EdTech, FinTech, Energy and CleanTech, ICT (e.g., Internet, Mobile and Software) as well as Smart Cities related technologies.
What is your background and how did you end up to this role?
I am originally from Finland but I have been living in Singapore for almost 9 years. After graduating from Helsinki School of Economics (currently Aalto University), I was working in digital advertising and from there I jumped to the exciting world of innovation, startups and international business.
One of my previous positions was with Slush Singapore so joining an organization which connects the Nordics and Southeast Asia was a very natural step for me. I also believe that the Nordics has so much to offer in terms of talent, innovative solutions and mindset. As such, being able to work with an organization which the main purpose is scaling the best of the Nordics is a big personal driver for me.