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Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, Florida
Issue 12
Volume 4
December 2013


Florida's unemployment rate drops to record low since 2008. Also the consumer market is showing confidence. We have many reasons to be positive and hopeful for our future. New companies are finding Florida attractive for their head quarters, new start ups are bubbling from business incubation centers.


For many this is the busiest time of the year, with many gatherings and celebrations around the corner. Hope you can mark your calendar with our future events and hope to see you there! Still time to register to our Annual Christmas event on the 13th. See our new website for more details.


We at the FACC want to wish you and your loved once happy Holiday season! 


At your service,


Lena Hartikainen

FACC-FL President


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News from Florida

Florida unemployment rate drops to 6.7 percent

For the first time in more than five years, Florida´s unemployment rate went below 7 percent - all the way to 6.7 percent as it added nearly 45,000 jobs in October, more than any other state. Tampa Bay had even more to boast about. Its unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in October, down nearly a full percentage point from three months ago to reach its lowest rate since May 2008. The region added 7,100 jobs last month and is up almost 40,000 over the past year, more than any other Florida metro. To read the article, click here.


Column: Florida's future depends on energy reform

In recent years, an increasing number of Americans have decided to make Florida more than just a vacation destination, choosing our state as their new permanent home. The Sunshine State will soon pass New York to become the third-largest state in the nation. To secure Florida's future, we must prepare for a growing population and its accompanying impact on Florida's energy systems. To read more about the topic, click here.


A new study shows that UCF Business Incubation Program is a major job creator
The 14-year-old University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program generated a direct regional economic output of more than $327 million between Oct. 1, 2011-June 30, 2013, according to a new study. During that time, the program also directly sustained 1,856 jobs in the region, resulted in more than $18.5 million in state and local tax revenue and helped generate a fiscal return of $6.16 for every $1 of public investment. Read the article here.

Residential construction continues to grow in South Florida

McGraw-Hill Construction data for October show continued strength in the residential sector. South Florida residential contracts during the month grew to $517 million, more than double last year's $234 million. Nonresidential contracts saw a 16 percent increase to $151 million in October, up from $130 million last year. Together, the two sectors generated $668 million in contracts for future work, a 83 percent increase, year-over-year. More about the topic here.


South Florida IT hiring and salaries keep rising

There's a growing demand for information technology professionals in South Florida, according to a survey by Miami Beach-based staffing firm SherlockTech. Sixty-one percent of companies surveyed said they have immediate plans to hire additional IT staff in 2014. That's up from 57 percent in 2013. On average, starting salaries increased 10-18 percent for the jobs in the most demand. "There is a new paradigm emerging in the information technology arena," said Alex Funkhouser, CEO of SherlockTech Staffing, in a news release. "It used to be the IT department in the driver's seat; now, it is sales and marketing calling the shots as IT supports brand building and business development." Read more here.


Nassau Square in Lake Worth getting $2M improvement

Reichel Realty & Investments is re-leasing Nassau Square in Lake Worth as part of $2 million in improvements being made to the shopping center. Reichel recently completed the following lease transactions at Nassau Square, a 160,000-square-foot Publix- and Dollar Tree-anchored shopping center in Lake Worth. The complete article here.


Miami River apartments sell for more than $75 million

CBRE's Institutional Multi-Housing Group has completed the rare sale of a luxury two-tower, high-rise rental apartment building in Miami for more than $75 million. Terrazas River Park Village Apartments, a 21- and 28-story, 324-unit rental apartment community at 1861 N.W. S. River Drive sold to an affiliate of New York-based Ladder Capital Finance Holdings. "This offering illustrated the broad appeal of a high-quality, well-located Miami asset," said CBRE Vice Chairman Robert Given, in a statement. "Our marketing process generated over 20 offers, with a mix of condominium converters and institutional income buyers. The profiles of the bidders were diverse, with a mix of domestic and foreign capital." To read the article, click here.


Florida consumer confidence on the rise

Consumer confidence among Floridians is on the rise, rebounding from a dismal reading the month before when the federal government shutdown was fueling pessimism. The University of Florida survey released Tuesday found that consumer sentiment bounced back to a reading of 76 in November, up from a revised reading of 70 in October. Read more here.



News from Finland


Google's investments in Finland total to 800 million euros after new boost
Google is investing another 450 million euros to Finland over the next few years. The company is spending the money on its data center in Hamina, located in south-eastern Finland. Google has already invested 350 million euros to the center. - Demand for Youtube and Gmail services requires us to invest hundreds of millions of euros to our data centers in Europe, says Anni Ronkainen, Google's country manager in Finland. Google started its operations in Finland in 2011, and it currently employs approximately 125 in its data center. According to Google, the expansion will employ up to 800 engineering and construction workers at the plant, and new, permanent jobs will be created once the extension opens. To read more about the topic, click here.


Finland ranked among most prosperous countries in the world
Finland has been ranked amongst the ten most prosperous countries in the world by the Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 2013. In 2013 index Finland ranked eight in overall prosperity, third in entrepreneurship and opportunity, and fourth in safety and security. The think tank measures countries in five years period based on their overall prosperity, economy, education, governance, entrepreneurship and ownership, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital. To read the whole article, click here


Three Finnish tech companies win Red Herring's top 100 awards
Three Finnish technology companies Sievo, Jongla and Ductor are winners of the Red Herring 2013 Top 100 Global awards. The prestigious award are annually given to the most promising technology companies, and previous winners of the awards include Google, Yahoo, Skype and Netscape. This year the Red Herring editorial team selected the companies demonstrating the most innovative technologies and business models originating from over 1000 companies from over 40 nations. Link to the article.

Finnish Doctors Are Prescribing Video Games for ADHD  

Ville Tapio runs a private psychiatry center in Helsinki, and psychiatrists had told him they were reluctant in particular to hand out drugs for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD drugs are psychostimulants, they are frequently abused, and kids can be prescribed them young and kept on a regimen for years. Tapio's alternative? Getting people with mental health concerns to play video games. They're special video games, of course-ones that can change how your brain works, with a technique loosely termed gameified neuroplasticity therapy. The idea isn't totally out of the blue. The University of Helsinki is well known for its neuroscience, with researchers already investigating how brain activity changes when people do different things. Scientists there have already tinkered around with game play, checking out local Helsinki production Angry Birds to test why the game was so addictive, and it's all part of a push by Finnish developers to build games that do good. To read the complete article, click here.


1.7-million-euro seed investment in Finnish game company

American company Upfront Ventures and Danish firm Sunstone Capital have jointly invested EUR 1.7 million in Seriously Digital Entertainment, a company founded in August. What makes the investment exceptional is that the company in question has yet to produce a single product. - It's a demonstration of the level of confidence that exists in the Finnish games industry. Seriously is one of the most interesting things happening in the Finnish games sector at the moment, with veterans in the process of creating something new from a clean slate, says the co-founder of the company Petri Järvilehto, the former Executive Vice President of Games at Rovio and Creative Director at Remedy. The other co-founder is Andrew Stalbow, who was in charge of Rovio´s commercial strategy, and has earlier held a position in 20th Century Fox´s mobile unit. Read the whole article here.


Propulsion R&D project results in major fuel savings for ships

A three-year EU research project has resulted in a highly energy-efficient and cost-effective propulsion concept that may result in annual savings of more than half a million euros for cargo ships. The Finnish participants in the project were VTT and ABB. The objective of the TRIPOD (Triple energy saving by use of CRP, CLT and Podded Propulsion) project was to improve the energy efficiency of cargo ships by combining three existing high-efficiency propulsion solutions into one system. The results were very promising, because with the new combination, a single ship could potentially save more than half a million euros in fuel costs per year. Read the article here.

Finnish start-up invents head restband for air travelers
Finnish start-up Relax Ally has come up with the idea which helps travelers to sleep without head-surfing and nodding-off. The company is planning to license the product shortly. The restband is sold via its online shop, and the retail price of the product is 39 euros. According to the Arctic Startup website says that the company has raised seed funding from American crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo, and customers from 17 different countries have funded the company through pre-orders. Read full story here.


We are proud to present our new 
Trustee Members 

M Trading Enterprises Group Inc is a family-owned business located in Palm Beach County, Town of Lantana. Company was established in 2010 and offers a large variety of high quality services for people from all over the world. The top priorities for M Trading as a Company are to always maintain high quality and 100% customer satisfaction.

M Trading offers affordable and reliable car rental, motorcycle and scooter rental, and also guided motorcycle tours. The Company specializes also in export sales. In 2012 M Trading introduced House Watching service to the large group of home owners at the Palm Beach County area. M Trading's House Watching service is a licensed, reliable and professional way to take care of houses, condos or other property while the owners are somewhere else.

At the company premises M Trading runs also a Coffee Shop. M Coffee sets also a perfect place for M Trading's theme nights during the seasons. M Coffee sells also delicious Finnish rye bread, Karelian pies and other Finnish and Scandinavian delicacies.

Polatsek, Counsellors at Law

Polatsek, Cousellors at Law firm has specialized in immigration and nationality matters since its founding in 1984. The firm currently represents a broad range of clients with interests in all facets of immigration and naturalization law. The firm's 9 attorneys have many years of experience in their fields of expertise and engage exclusively in immigration and nationality law practices.


Optimus Consulting Group Inc. is your partner in the U.S. market offering management, strategic consulting and business intelligence. Optimus Consulting is specialized in serving foreign companies in the U.S. by offering soft landing services.

With the extensive network and knowledge of local business culture, Optimus Consulting can help you navigate through the hoops of starting a business and keeping your business records straight in complying with local regulations and much more. Optimus Consulting takes care of their clients from the smallest request of finding you a Harley Davidson to introducing you to a potential business buyer or partner.

Lecture about Taxation & Investments

We are happy to present you our Taxation & Investment event on January 16th.  The event shall provide you with the latest information on investment and tax planning strategies presented by a panel of experts.


The topics of the event include:

  •   How to generate income in a low interest rate environment
  •   Strategies to maximize your upside potential while protecting your nest egg
  •   Latest tax law changes and strategies to minimize your taxes
  •   Are you a part time resident, should you have a US Tax Payer Identification Number?


We shall also offer you delicious cocktail-snacks in the venue. You are warmly welcome to join the event to learn about these topics and more in this information packed presentation.

Date: January 16th 
Time: 4-6pm
Place: Lake Worth Golf Course,
1 7th Ave N, Lake Worth, FL
Tickets: FREE of Charge, including light dinner 


To register to the event and read more about it, 
click here.

FACC Upcoming events


  • February, 15th                   Welcome to Florida / Tervetuloa Floridaan
            • The event takes place in Finlandia-week, and shall be held in Finnish. Place: American Finnish Club, Lake Worth, FL. Time: 2-3pm.
  • March, 21st                       Lecture with an Education theme  
            • At Palm Beach State Collage, Lake Worth Campus                                                                        
  • April, 7-8th                        Palm Beach Strategic Forum 
            • More information about the event, registration  and the keynote speakers here.
  • May                                          ABICC Inauguration of the year  
            • Fantastic opportunity to our members to present your goods or services to an international audience in Miami.
Partner Trade Events  



MiaGreen Expo & Conference


February 27-28, 2014

Miami Beach, Florida


The MiaGreen Expo & Conference is the only event in the United States providing access to the ever-growing, non-stoppable green, renewable and sustainable markets for all the Americas. MiaGreen 2014 combines a major trade show with front edge extensive educational and networking programs serving the Green Building, Solar, Clean Tech and Energy Saving industries. It is geared to providing a strong connection with East USA, Florida, Latin America and Caribbean markets. Register here.




We hope you find this newsletter useful and we love to get feedback and suggestions how we can make it better. We also have many volunteer opportunities within the chamber so let us know how you want to be involved.




Lena Hartikainen
Finnish American Chamber of Commerce