Media release 23.3.2005
The three-year EU project was set up to assess the interest of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Finnish counties of North Karelia and Kainuu in building networks as well as in collective purchasing of both roundwood and sawn timber. For SMEs, building of networks to support Russian trade activities is extremely challenging, and not enough will nor common interest were found during the project. The small size of companies, competition between them and varying needs set strictures for formation of fixed networks. Instead, mediation of raw material has been successfully enhanced by increasing contacts between Finnish companies and knowledge on each other’s raw material needs.
Most of the significant companies in the neighbouring areas of Finland have already established trade relations in Finland, which means that there is little need for finding new contacts, particularly in roundwood trade. However, as a result of contact events and service activities arranged for SME forestry and woodworking companies in Eastern Finland it turned out that companies did find new contacts, especially in the area of Arkhangelsk. After the initial contact, the creation of new business relations takes time and requires a lot of travel in Russia.
Russian companies continue to work on a conventional basis of personal relationships, so electronic networking services are not of much use in creating new business contacts.
As a result of the project, an information service about Russian forestry was formed to support companies and organizations. It is an internet website at www.idanmetsatieto.info and in addition to basic information about Russian forestry, it contains an on-line news service with 500 news items and 170 articles published during the past two years on the status and changes in the forest sector. The users have received the internet service well; 50,000 logins have been made since the website was opened. The idea is to continue the service and Metla is taking over the responsibility of maintaining the on-line news service.
In addition to the internet service, the project also produced an index of contact information for companies in the neighbouring areas of Russia, a guide to the importation of timber and a solid information package on the forest sector of NW Russia. The higher-education institutions participating in the project, the University of Joensuu and North Karelia Polytechnic have revised their teaching material on forestry.
The Wood Technology Centre Puugia with company FEG Oy located in Joensuu and the Kainuu Regional Development Company Kainuun Etu Oy located in Kajaani were responsible for providing the information service contents for companies in Eastern Finland. The Joensuu services will be continued after project completion as a market-based service through FEG Oy.The project was coordinated by the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Centre and it was funded by the Interreg III A Karjala programme and the State Provincial Office of Eastern Finland during 2002-2005.
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