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Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, Florida
Issue 1
Volume 5
January 2014


It is an understatement to say stock market investors had a good year in 2013. The Standard & Poor's 500 index soared 29 percent, its best year since 1997. Including dividends, it gained 32 percent. What lies ahead after this year?


FACC is planning on continuing providing relevant services to its members that help them to succeed in their respected businesses.  We are constantly looking for new ways to bring more value to you. Please let us know what you want from this year and how we can help you to reach your goals?



At your service,


Lena Hartikainen

FACC-FL President


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News from Florida

U.S. Housing Starts Jump to Highest Level in Five Years

Builders broke ground on more homes in November than at any time in over five years as growing demand helped the industry overcome rising U.S. mortgage rates. Housing starts jumped 22.7 percent to a 1.09 million annualized rate, exceeding all forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the most since February 2008, data from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Permits (NHSPATOT) for future projects held near a five-year high, indicating the pickup will be sustained into 2014. Gains in construction will probably boost economic growth this quarter as an improving job market propels homebuilding to its best year since 2007. Read the whole article here.


Novartis has a promising cell therapy

Novartis has a promising therapy for cancer. It's just not sure how to get it to patients easily. The treatment is so potent that it cleared malignant cells in about 90 percent of patients facing almost certain death from the most common form of cancer in children. The approach involves taking T cells, part of the body's immune system, from the blood and engineering them to identify proteins on cancer cells. When returned to the patient's bloodstream, the revamped T cells seek and destroy cancer cells. It's so specific that a single mistake can mean death for a patient, and so turbo-charged that Novartis plans to set up a network of hospitals versed in treating the spiking fever, chills and flu-like symptoms that may come as side effects. Read the whole story here


Growing Florida's Startup Companies

Florida is currently expanding its capacity to keep startup companies in the state and is helping develop companies that will provide high-wage jobs to Floridians. The benefits of enhancing entrepreneurship and innovative capacity are substantial. One statistic highly noted by economic development professionals is that innovative regions (regions with high levels of intellectual property and local entrepreneurs) have 125% higher employment growth, 58% higher wage growth, 109% higher productivity, and less sensitivity to economic downturns than the average region.1 Developing these startup businesses in Florida can help diversify the economies of all regions in our state. Innovators and entrepreneurs bring many benefits to the region: they set up small businesses that bring high-wage jobs and investment returns. Angel investor networks and business incubator networks are vital tools that enable entrepreneurs to take their ideas and inventions and turn them into profitable companies. Read more here.


Florida unemployment rate drops to 6.4 percent 

Florida´s unemployment rate dropped a few more ticks in November, falling to 6.4 percent from 6.7 percent the previous month, Governor Rick Scott announced Friday. The jobless rate in Metro Orlando dipped, too, falling to 5.8 percent from 6 percent in October. The local rate has fallen 1.9 percentage points over the past year. Osceola County had the highest rate in the metro area, at 6.5 percent. Lake and Volusia counties were at 6.3 percent, Orange County was at 5.7 percent and Seminole County came in at 5.3 percent. The statewide unemployment rate, which was down 1.6 percentage points from a year ago, has been falling since late 2009 and now stands at its lowest point in nearly 51/2 years. Scott said the growth in jobs and decline in unemployment show that his business-friendly policies are paying off. Read the complete article here.

Venture capital investments in Florida businesses increased by 45 percent

In the past year, venture capital investments in Florida businesses increased by 45 percent, but the state still lags on a per capita basis. Seventy-eight percent of the $318 million invested in Florida in the year ending in September went to businesses in the biotechnology, information technology services, media and entertainment and software industry sectors. Nationally, venture capital investments declined by 1 percent to $27.5 billion. Read more of the topic here.


Florida is about to grow bigger than New York from population

New York state is losing ground and could soon slip to the nation's fourth-most populous state. According to a report by the New York Times, the Census Bureau will release new population estimates on Monday and demographers expect New York and Florida to be neck-and-neck, with population totals within a few thousand people. Florida may pass New York this year; if not, it will likely do so next year, the report said. California and Texas are the nation's most and second-most populous states, currently. Read more here.

2014 job growth to ramp up in new and old industries

In Palm Beach County a startup medical device company has plans to expand from 135 employees to about 200 next year, both professional and manufacturing jobs. In Broward, a long-term nursing care and Medicaid provider expects to grow to 800 employees in South Florida by midyear, up from 400 at year-end 2013. In 2014, there will be more jobs and different types of jobs than South Florida has seen for a long time. New companies and expanding businesses will create jobs in medical devices and pharmaceutical manufacturing, as well as the traditional businesses of construction, retail and health care, economic development experts say. Some of those jobs will come from relatively new businesses. Read the complete article here.


News from Finland


BBC: Helsinki households have lowest electricity bills in Europe
Residents of Helsinki, the capital of Finland, have lowest electricity bills among 23 European cities, says the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC. When exchange rates have been taken out of the equation, Helsinki is the cheapest for electricity prices. The electricity prices in Stockholm are second cheapest of European cities, and Paris is in the third place. Read the whole article here
World's first smart car service developed by Finnish companies 

The Autoasi chain of car repair shops, driving-related data operator Helpten and telecommunications company Elisa will introduce to the market the world's first smart car service, which combines data services that cover the driver, car, maintenance and driving. Thanks to the service, drivers will no longer need to, for example, drive to the repair shop to diagnose sudden faults, as the repair shop will be able to instantly see the trouble codes. - The Autoasi repair shop and the driver can also monitor the car's maintenance needs through the application. The driver receives automatic reminders of regular maintenance visits or vehicle inspections, explains Timo Kemppainen from Autoasi. Read more here.


Finland's nation brand among the 20 strongest in the world

Finland's nation brand is among the top 20 strongest nation brands in the world, measured by the Brand Strength Index (BSI). The Brand Finance Nation Brands 2013 report ranks Finland as 14th strongest nation brands with an AA rating. The strongest rating is AAA and the lowest (failing) is DDD. Brand Finance, which is an independent global business specializing in brand values, measures strength and value of the nation brand based on the GDP and segments such as investment, tourism, products and services, people and skills. Finland was ranked especially high in the segment of people and skills. To read more, click here.


Fortum builds the world's first bio-oil plant to Joensuu in Eastern Finland

Fortum, the Nordic and Baltic energy provider, has confirmed that it builds its bio-oil plant to Eastern Finland. The plant, the first of the kind in the world on an industrial scale, will be commissioned in the city of Joensuu. The plant produces bio-oil from wood-based raw materials, and it is unique in the way it has been integrated with the company's local combined heat and power plant.


Finland's healthcare system the tenth best in Europe

Finland's healthcare system has been ranked the 10th best in Europe by Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) 2013. The index, provided by Health Consumer Powerhouse, is based on the seventh study made on European healthcare systems among 35 European countries. The countries are ranked on 48 indicators such as accessibility of treatment (waiting times), patient rights and information, prevention and medical outcomes. The report notes that "Finland has established itself among the European champions" with top outcomes at a fairly low cost. "In fact, Finland is a leader in value-for-money healthcare," the report says. Read the complete article here.
Dome Karukoski named among 10 Directors to Watch by Variety 

The U.S. magazine Variety has namedDome Karukoski in its list of 10 Directors to Watch for 2013. This is the first time a Finnish director has made it onto the list, and Karukoski is the only northern European to receive the honour this year. His spotlight film in the list is "Heart of a Lion", which is currently showing in Finland. The films of the ten honourees will be shown at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January. According to Festival Director Darryl Macdonald, the chosen directors are especially gifted storytellers. In October, Karukoski signed an agreement with the U.S.-based talent agency ICM Partners, which representsSofia Coppola and Jim Jarmusch, among others. Read more here.


Helsinki Airport reaches new passenger record

More than 15 million passengers have passed through Helsinki airport this year. The record-breaking figure comes as the airport gears up to reach the 20 million passenger landmark. The 15th millionth passenger arrived last week. Jiayang Zhuo, who was travelling from Amsterdam to Shanghai was welcomed by a musical performance and received by Axl Smith, the airport director and by Santa Claus. - The positive development of passenger volumes shows that we have done good work to promote a smooth travelling experience in cooperation with airlines and our other partners, says Helsinki Airport director Ville Haapasaari at Finavia. Read more about the topic here.


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
The event is FREE but you must RSVP by Jan 13th,  
a light dinner is served


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  



 January 29, 2014
Doral, Florida

The Florida District Export Council, in cooperation with The U.S. Commercial Service, FedEx, Miami Free Zone, and other partners, presents Export University's Export 101-Introduction to Exporting. This course is designed for new-to-export firms that would like expert advice on the export basics. Attendees will receive a diploma following completion of this course. Please join to learn about important topics for beginning exporters such as: organizing for export, building an overseas infrastructure, considerations for managing international sales orders, international logistics, growing your international business and assessing risk & opportunity. Register here.




January 30, 2014
Hollywood, Florida

Whether you are an experienced exporter/importer, a business owner, manufacturer, or franchisor who's new to foreign markets, you're likely to benefit from participating in the Florida Export/Import Summit. Participants have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with country representatives, business leaders, potential customers, chambers of commerce, acquire sales leads, gain an understanding of the marketplace and make industry contacts from several countries. Register here.

February 7-March 14, 2014
Jacksonville, Florida

The International Trade Certificate Program presented by America's SBDC Florida is a unique opportunity for businesses that are successful in the local, regional or national markets to explore taking their products or services global! As a growth oriented business, you should join us to explore international trade opportunities, challenges and resources available to help make your export venture successful. The 2014 International Trade Certificate Program will be held on six (6) consecutive Friday mornings. Register here.

Topics Include:  
  • Identifying markets: sources of information  
  • Finding partners: direct vs. indirect exporting  
  • Legal issues: regulations, contracts  
  • International marketing strategy: pricing, promotion  
  • Logistics: freight forwarders, documentation, port operations  
  • Financing: payment methods, credit risk management  
  • Cross-cultural communications


February 19, 2014
West Palm Beach, Florida

Join the International Trade Specialists at the Palm Beach State College SBDC along with Enterprise Florida to explore overseas opportunities for your business!  Resources are available to help identify where your products and services are in demand throughout the world. From cultural differences essential to conducting international business, to trade data and grant opportunities, we'll share valuable information you can't afford to miss! Register here.


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.

April 7-9, 2014
Tallahassee, Florida

Join the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Florida's international business community to hear from top international trade experts and promote the significant role international business has in Florida's economy and in your business. More about the event 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