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Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, Florida
Issue 3
Volume 5
March 2014


 Florida's future looks good after some tough years. The manufacturing grew to the highest numbers in four years, tourism set another record with 3.5 percent increase. We hosted some 94.7 million visitors in Florida 2013! Tourism employs over 1 million people. New star ups are springing up and the chamber is attracting more members.


Thank you for your support and we continue working hard to create business opportunities to our members and friends.



At your service,


Lena Hartikainen

FACC-FL President


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News from Florida

Governor Rick Scott Announced Another Record Year for Florida Tourism

Governor Rick Scott today announced that according to preliminary estimates* released today by VISIT FLORIDA - the state's official tourism marketing corporation - 94.7 million visitors came to Florida in 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2012. This represents a record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 91.5 million in 2012. The number of direct travel-related jobs in 2013 was also a record high, with 1,088,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry - up 2.9 percent from 2012. Governor Rick Scott said, "With nearly 95 million visitors traveling to the Sunshine State, today's news that Florida broke another record year for tourism is a victory for Florida families. Every 85 visitors to Florida equals one job in our state - and it is clear that more visitors to the Sunshine State means more jobs for Florida families. That is why my 'It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget,' commits $100 million to VISIT FLORIDA so we can grow more job opportunities for Florida families." Read the full article here.


Economists Give Upbeat Predictions for Florida´s Future

Last year was pivotal for Florida's economy as the pace of job creation picked up and the unemployment rate actually fell below the national average. Will the momentum last? It's a good bet, based on a reports and interviews with some leading bank, corporate and university economists who track the state. Just as Florida suffers more than most of the country during a recession, it tends to outperform the country during an improving economy like today, said Jeff Korzenik, chief investment strategist for Fifth Third Bank.

"We've gone through a period the last couple years where, if there was going to be a surprise, the surprises were always on the downside," Korzenik said. "We're now entering a period where, in our opinion, surprises will be skewed to the upside." Read the whole story here.

Rebounding Economy Sparks Vista Business Park

Commercial real estate developer Steven McCraney wishes he had pulled the trigger sooner on construction at the Vista Business Park near West Palm Beach. Buoyed by the rebound in the commercial market, McCraney Property Co. will break ground in the next few weeks on 100,000 square feet of warehouses on seven acres. "Because of the challenges during the downturn, today developers are much more calculated and measurably more conservative," he said this week. "We probably should have had this product up six months ago, but the prevailing caution really kept me from doing it sooner." McCraney is bullish now, and he's so confident in the revitalized commercial market that he's building the project "on spec" -without tenants in place. It's the first new construction in five years at the 500-acre park off Okeechobee Boulevard and Jog Road. The two 50,000-square-foot buildings are expected to be complete by the end of the year. Read more about the topic here.


U.S. Manufacturing Grew This Month to the Highest Level in Four Years

U.S. manufacturing grew this month to the highest level in four years, according to a report released Wednesday by Markit, a London-based global financial information company. Markit's U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, based on a survey of more than 600 manufacturers nationally, rose in February to 56.7, up from 53.7 in January, exceeding economists' forecasts. An index reading of more than 50 points indicates growth, according to Alex Paidas, a spokesman for Markit. The stronger-than-expected growth by U.S. manufacturers was fueled by increased orders and increased production, according to the report. Complete story here.


Universal Hiring Over 3500 for Expansions Including Diagon Alley

Universal Orlando plans to add nearly 3,500 jobs this year as it prepares for an expected surge of business from the opening of Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, Gov. Rick Scott and resort officials announced Friday. Scott, who appeared with Universal executives and local elected officials at the entrance to Diagon Alley inside Universal Studios Florida, also used the occasion to reveal that Florida drew an estimated 94.7 million visitors last year, up 3.5 percent from 2012 and a new state record. It was Florida's third consecutive year of record visitation. The number of jobs in Florida directly tied to tourism - from housekeepers and lifeguards to cab drivers and costumed characters - swelled to nearly 1.1 million, a 2.9 percent increase. That also was a record. Read more here.

Florida Health Choices Facing Unexpected Demand

The folks behind Florida's upcoming state-based health exchange say consumer interest is so overwhelming, they are yet again delaying opening it up for business. It's not yet possible to buy health plans on the Florida Health Choices site. But web traffic from people just checking it out has increased tenfold since its chief executive officer announced Feb. 3 that the full launch was "just days away.'' Phone calls have increased, too. "I frankly was very surprised at the volume of hits that we've had in the last week," CEO Rose Naff said Friday. "It definitely sent a signal to me that we should expect a lot more volume than we originally anticipated." Naff ordered more testing of the site and its backup systems to make sure it will be able to handle the volume. She said it will be a couple of more weeks before it debuts.

Much of the recent interest has been from adults ages 18 to 34, according to Naff's web traffic analysis. These are the so-called "young invincibles" whose interest in obtaining health coverage is considered essential to the long-term success of the federal healthcare law. The whole article here.


University of Miami researchers make important findings in quest for AIDS vaccine

Small advancements make big waves in the decades-long search for an HIV vaccine, and University of Miami researchers are optimistic that their latest findings are significant: They have developed a vaccine that triggers an immune system response strong enough to kill a model AIDS virus in mice. The vaccine is still in the early stages of development, said Geoffrey W. Stone, a UM assistant professor of microbiology and immunology who led the research study published in February's Journal of Virology. "This is very basic mouse research,'' Stone said, "but very exciting.'' The next step is trials on larger animals, and eventually clinical trials on people -a process that could take 10 years or longer. Read complete article here.




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News from Finland


Finnish Design companies to Tour the United States

The Made in Designland project, which showcases Finnish know-how, will go on tour in the United States next summer. The project is aimed at increasing the prominence of the growth companies involved in the project in the US market by presenting their products and services. The tour participants will include companies operating in the fields of design, technology, software and architecture.  The companies and their products will be showcased through dozens of pop-up stores, sales festivals, interactive exhibitions, workshops and seminars in a number of cities. The objective is to involve 50 companies in the project through a selection process which will take place early this year. The tour is meant to respond to the budding interest in Finnish know-how in the United States. FACC is working with Designland to bring the tour to our backyard. Stay tuned. Review the whole article here.

Helsinki Has Been Ranked Second in The List of Best Places to Invest in Europe

Helsinki has soared to second place in a ranking of the European cities of the future by fDi Magazine, a Financial Times publication. The European Cities and Regions of the Future report assesses cities and regions in terms of their potential to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). In its latest report, Helsinki, which appears for the first time among the top 25 European cities, ranks second only to London.  - Finland's capital has been receiving increased attention for its efforts to attract FDI and scored particularly well for FDI Strategy, says the report. The city has highlighted its focus on three key areas to promote investment: Research, development and innovation; growth capital and hi-tech start-ups; and transnational functions, such as sea and air links. Read more here.


Finland Tops the Press Freedom Index Again

For the fourth year running, Finland has topped the World Press Freedom index. The index, compiled by Reporters Without Borderssaid press freedom in Finland was based on strong legal foundations supported by a genuine culture of individual liberty. The interest group also highlighted the work of the independent media watchdog, the Council for the Mass Media in Finland (JSN), which interprets sound media practice and defends freedom of speech and publication. This year's index covers 180 countries. Like last year, Finland was closely followed by the Netherlands and Norway. Read more on the topic here and review the index here.


Finnish Company Uros Oy´s Goodspeed Crosses the Atlantic

The Goodspeed web service from the Finnish company Uros Oy has made headway on a new continent. The flat rate data roaming service is now also available in Latin America. Goodspeed operates using a Wi-Fi hotspot that creates its own WLAN connection that can be shared with smart phones, tablets and laptops. The service is aimed at frequent travellers and business travellers and is now available in 15 Central and South American countries. Goodspeed, based in Oulu, Finland, already covers half of the Earth's land surface area. Whole story here.


Finn Wins Sci-Tech Oscar for Long-Term Development Work

Janne Kontkanen is one of this year's Scientific and Technical Academy Award recipients. The Oscar will be presented to Kontkanen and his colleagues for their work involving animated films at the DreamWorks Studios. Kontkanen has developed pioneering technology involving the processing of images that contain deep compositing features. The technology enables, for example, more precise composite images especially in complex action sequences in which the depth relationships between image elements are not easy to define. Altogether 19 Sci-Tech Oscars will be presented this year to 52 people. In contrast to other Academy Awards, the technical achievements need not be from 2013. The purpose is, rather, to reward long-term development work that has had a significant impact on film-making. Read the complete article here.


Finnish Unmonday´s Speakers Picked by Apple

Unmonday, the Finnish company which recently launched world's first multi-channel wireless ceramic speakers, has signed a distribution deal with Apple for its model 4.3. The company's speaker systems will be sold in selected Apple stores in Europe and also in Apple's online shop, and they are expected to be distributed in Singapore and Malaysia in near future. According to Finnish business daily Kauppalehti, the speaker system will be in shops in next couple of days. - The agreement with Apple is a significant one in many ways. Apple's distribution network enables us to reach customers who are interested in our product, says Unmonday's sales directorJukka Nieminen to Kauppalehti. Read more here.


The Finnish Concept Car Using Biomaterials Premiers in Genova Car Show

The Finnish Biofore concept car, which is using renewable biomaterials, premiers at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 2014. The concept car is designed by the students of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Science. -We are proud that the four year-long journey, during which altogether 50 young talents have been part of this process, is now reaching its peak on such an important venue for the automotive industry, said Pekka Hautala, Project Director from Metropolia. Biofore's various parts and components, which are normally made of plastic, are replaced by biocomposite and thermoformable wood materials provided by the Finnish company UPM. The concept car also utilises wood-based renewable diesel. According to a UPM press release, these materials will "significantly improve the overall environmental performance of the car, without compromising quality or safety." Review the article here.

Innorange secures investment to help it set foot in global markets

Innorange, a company specializing in customer flow analytics and measurements, has closed a EUR 300 000 investment round. The company intends to use the funding to bring its service based on a unique in-house developed technology to the global markets. Innorange has developed a data collection platform which combines 3D vision and mobile device recognition to create customer analytics for retail professionals. This technology is the first of its kind in the worldwide customer analytics market. The analytics services based on the technology developed by Innorange help measure, analyse and predict the behavioral patterns of shoppers in stores. The in-store analytics can be used for marketing and the optimisation of logistics in addition to improving store performance. According to CEO Markku Siikala, the technology developed by Innorange will provide the most accurate information on customer flows available on the market. Read the complete article here.

LoudBy is set to transform smart phone audio quality 

Sonic Force, based in Oulu, Finland, has launched a sound case for smart phones with the aim of improving the audio quality of mobile phones. The product, LoudBy, is the first of its kind in the market. The product idea is based on a sound-amplifying channel, which is built in between the phone and the case. Sonic Force has submitted a patent application for its innovation. The idea for the product was mooted by LoudBy team's former Nokia audio designers, who recognised customers' need for enhanced sound quality.  -This is the first product to combine sound enhancement and amplification without the need for an external power source. Our goal is to make both protective casings and portable loudspeakers redundant. The LoudBy sound case enhances the music listening and video watching experience to a new level, says the company's Sales and Marketing Director Jukka Taskinen. Read more here.


New Hyperspectral Camera by Finnish Researchers Able to Detect Skin Cancer in Seconds

A new innovative handheld camera developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is able to detect early stages of skin cancer in two seconds. The ultra-precision hyperspectral camera recognises early stages of skin cancer that are invisible to the naked eye. Researchers have run a pilot study using the hyperspectral camera, and the preliminary results of the study are promising. A pilot wsa done in collaboration the University of Jyväskylä, the Päijät-Häme Central Hospital and the Skin and Allergy Hospital of Helsinki University Central Hospital. Read more on topic here. 




FACC New Member




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To learn more about, please visit their website.'s website is accessible across online devices, including smartphones, tablets and desktops. It also features a free "Broker Support Program" for insurance agents to provide supplemental cancer and critical illness insurance options for individuals and groups.


FACC Upcoming events



  • April 7-8th                         Palm Beach Strategic Forum 
            • Place: Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach. More information about the event, registration  and the keynote speakers here.
  • April  28th, at 6-8.30pm       ABICC Inauguration of the year - For Members Only
            • Fantastic opportunity to our members to present your goods or services to an international audience in Miami. Please RSVP to if you want to be part of our team.
  • May 9th                                       FACC Yearly Planning Session
            • Open to all FACC members. Come join us on planning future FACC events for the coming year. Stay tuned for more information later.

Polo Tailgaiting Summary

Finnish American Chamber of Commerce organized its members memorable Polo Tailgating on Sunday March 2nd at the International Polo Club in Palm Beach. There was almost 30 guests who enjoyed
Sunday afternoon mingling and watching World-class polo. The happening was a great opportunity to make new contacts and meet with old friends. The event was sponsored by Security First Financial, Inc. that offered the quests delicious cocktail snacks, drinks,  and beautiful view over the polo field from their tent. Everyone seemed to have really good time at the social event that FACC had set up to create value to its members. More on the event here.

Partner Trade Events  



March 5-7, 2014

Orlando, Florida


Partnerships International, Inc. invites you attend the 13th Annual Partnering for Compliance. This inexpensive, "one-stop-shop" U.S. Export Control Regulations training and education program is designed to substantially enhance the knowledge, productivity and success of your company's trade compliance department. More information 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.



14th Annual Gulf Coast World Trade Conference


May 1-2, 2014 
Pensacola Beach, Florida

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 14th Annual Gulf Coast International Trade Event titled "Gateway Gulf Coast: Leveraging Infrastructure to Boost International Commerce".  This event will highlight the latest trade trends, market developments and international business opportunities for Gulf Coast (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana) companies.  Experience superior networking opportunities with trade practitioners, international business professionals and state and federal resource providers.   Early Bird registration $200 through February 28th and $250 thereafter.  Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are available. More on 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