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Presentation of UK-Finland Bilateral Trade Initiatives

Alderman Alastair King's visit to Finland

On 12th and 13th October 2023, Alderman of The City of London Alastair King DL, accompanied by his consort Florence Walker, visited Finland, embarking on a series of significant events and discussions that promise to forge stronger ties between Finnish and British businesses.

Despite the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th, the day unfolded propitiously as it commenced with a breakfast event graciously hosted by the Mayor of Helsinki, Juhana Vartiainen. This meaningful gathering was orchestrated thanks to the efforts of Minister Pertti Salolainen CBE, to whom we owe our deepest gratitude. The attendees were a blend of distinguished representatives from the Helsinki Partners, the Helsinki Chamber of Commerce, B3CF, the British Embassy, and the City of Helsinki. Amplifying the dialogue, participants from the '90 Day Finn' programme, Caroline Hughes and Alice Lloyd, shared illuminating viewpoints on the Finnish business ecosystem. Conversations dynamically oscillated between burgeoning opportunities, innovative initiatives, potential roadblocks, and strategies to navigate them effectively.

Following our insightful discussions, we had the privilege to tour the construction site of Maria, an impending ultra-luxury hotel in Helsinki. Hosted by the Hotel Manager, Evelin Bötker, we were taken through the mockup rooms, offering us a tangible sense of the exquisite experience future guests can anticipate. Slated to welcome guests on the 15th of December, 2023, Maria promises to be a beacon of luxury and hospitality in the heart of Helsinki.

Our next stop was a poignant visit to a unit dedicated to people experiencing homelessness in Espoo Kuusiniemi, managed by Y-Säätiö and the Salvation Army. Juha Kahila, the Head of International Affairs at the Y-Säätiö, guided us through their approach and ongoing efforts. Finland's groundbreaking work on homelessness, particularly the acclaimed 'Housing First' model, has recently garnered international spotlight. Notably, Prince William, earlier this year, declared the launch of a five-year homelessness programme in the UK, drawing profound inspiration from Finland's initiatives. Alderman King's interest in this aligns perfectly with his expected agenda as the prospective Lord Mayor of the City of London for 2024-2025.

Our esteemed Board member, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer, Pekka Halmet, maintained the day's momentum by organising a distinguished luncheon at the prestigious Helsinki Bourse Club, Pörssiklubi. We were cordially received by the Club's Director, Michael Nyman, who stands as a fifth-generation descendant of Julius Tallberg, the founder of the club.

In the private setting of our luncheon, we were honoured by the presence of several notables, including H.E. Charles Josob, the Ambassador of Namibia to Finland, fellow B3CF members, and representatives from Y-Säätiö. The gathering was further enriched by the presence of Club board member, Aitor de la Torre. Amidst this esteemed company, discussions flowed seamlessly, exploring the depths of collaborative prospects and charting out a future teeming with potential and shared successes.

On the eve of the 13th, Eversheds Sutherland, another esteemed patron member, splendidly hosted the B3CF Patrons Dinner 2023, generously sponsored by Naisbitt King. The highlight of the evening was Alderman King's elucidation on the essence of the City of London. We were also treated to a showcase of products from our cherished members and partners, including a tantalising salad dressing by DeliVerde and the exquisite Macallan whisky. Special thanks to Chris Giordano for curating a selection of exquisite whiskies and to J.Cortes for complementing the evening with their premium cigars.

In retrospect, the entire visit can be best described as a confluence of thought leadership, potential partnerships, and shared visions. The events not only underscored the importance of collaboration between Finnish and British enterprises but also set the tone for enhanced engagement and cooperation in the future.

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for everything you've done in organising our recent meetings and for the wonderful conversations we've had.

Your efforts in making all the necessary arrangements were truly commendable, and I couldn't be more grateful for your dedication. Our discussions were not only insightful but also inspiring. It was heartwarming to witness how deeply people were moved by the issues surrounding homelessness.

It's apparent that we have found potential partners who share our vision, and I'm excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. I'm grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such like-minded individuals.

Juha Kahila, Head Of International Affairs, Y-Säätiö

Click any picture to see the whole gallery for the event.