From October 11 to 13 the real estate industry came together at EXPO REAL fair in Munich, Germany. The three-day expo gathered 1,198 exhibitors and over 19,200 participants all over the world. The top ten visitor countries were: Austria, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Spain, and Italy. The hottest topics were coronavirus, climate change and digitalization. EXPO REAL is Europe’s most important meeting place for the real estate industry and the starting signal for the year-end business.
Last summer we were contacted by a consultant, originally from North Savo, she suggested a meeting to see if we would have common interests in the German markets. Terhi Lignell Consulting specialises in business development between Finland and Germany. She offered to help us attracting investments from Germany. We brainstormed ideas together and came up with the EXPO REAL fair. This was the perfect opportunity for us to showcase few of the projects in our region. The three ongoing projects were data center, hotel case and an industrial hall all seeking for investments/operators. We were excited for our first trip outside Finland not only because it was first for our project, but it was also the first during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
First day at the expo and everyone was excited. We met Terhi and went through our action plan for the days to come. It was very important to have a consultant with us who spoke German because the German politeness and hierarchy is something one cannot bypass. After formal introductions using English was not a problem and the conversations were filled with humour and laughs. During the three days we met and changed ideas with multiple interesting contacts from Germany, Denmark, Russia, The UK and Sweden, which all lead to follow ups. Some of the meetings had been settled in advance and some of them were simply results of industrious work of presenting ourselves to exhibitors that matched our criteria.
We also had a great discussion with German senior advisor Marcus Müller from Business Finland and at the Helsinki stand we were introduced to and interesting event called Business Arena by Jonas Ekstrand, Key account manager at Fastighetsnytt AB. This event is the Scandinavian version of a real estate fair and could be the next big event for our project. Throughout all the discussion it was positive to discover that Finland draws attention and is found as a stable location for future investments. Unfortunately, it became clear that Kuopio was unknown for the international crowd, but people were curious to learn more. We have been building an invest in brand that unites all the municipalities within our project and were very proudly presenting our uniqueness to everyone we met. Our mission was to spread the important message of endless business opportunities, ease of living, security, serenity and purity we have here, but is so often taken for granted.
All in all, Munich treated us well. Everything was well organized at Messe München. The doors were opened to the German markets and it is easy to start somewhere that is already known for Finnish companies and vice versa. Germans are big fans of Finland in the tourism sector and in conversations one could hear the name Samu Haber, the most famous Finn among the Germans these days. I have learned that Finland truly has a good reputation in the world all we should do is be proud ourselves and say it aloud.
City of Kuopio, Business Development Services, Invest & Expand Pohjois-Savo
044 718 2035