FinnAir recently inaugurated a direct route between DFW Airport and Helsinki, Finland. Partly to mark that milestone—and to promote closer trade, economic development, and technological advancement ties between Finland and North Texas—a delegation from the Nordic country took the route to visit Dallas Tuesday.
It was the first stop on a tour of Texas made by the group.
Close ties include Nokia, 5 Finnish players on the Dallas Stars
Finland may sound far away, but it has close ties to the city of Dallas. Finland’s Nokia Corporation has its North American HQ here. A large community of Finnish residents, including Vesa Jaamura of the Finnish American Business Guild, live in the Dallas area. The Dallas Stars NHL hockey team is practically bristling with men from the country, with five Finnish players on the ice. There are many other shared areas of local connection as well.
The city of Dallas recently adopted an International Affairs strategy—including hiring new staff to advance that strategy, said Suzanne Smith, strategic advisor for international affairs for the city of Dallas, who helped host the visit.
“Along with partners such as the World Affairs Council, the Dallas Regional Chamber, DFW Airport, and our international partners with trade offices, chambers, and consular corps, this Finnish delegation trip is an example of our efforts” to deepen business and development ties with Finland, Smith told Dallas Innovates.
During the visit, the parties particularly discussed technology, healthcare, the arts, culture, and design as areas for potential partnerships.
Among other possible connections, the local side discussed sending a Dallas/Fort Worth delegation to Helsinki’s 2024 Slush start-up conference.
“This was a first step in learning more about each other and advancing mutual goals for cooperation and coordination,” Smith said.
Three big stops on a 1-day Dallas tour
During their whirlwind Dallas tour, the delegation visited downtown Dallas; the George W. Bush Presidential Center; and the Dallas International District, where Dallas representatives shared their plans for growth. The Finnish delegation also tried out local Dallas snacks and food over the course of the day, Smith said.
While at the Dallas International District, the delegation visited with the European American Chamber of Commerce-Texas at its location in the Prism Center.
“We briefed them on Dallas business and quality of life,” Smith added. “They were impressed by all Dallas had to offer as an emerging global city. They liked our ‘can-do spirit’ and determination as a culture—which is directly linked to the Finnish view called ‘sisu.‘”
Jarmo Sareva, Consul General of Finland in New York, concurred.
“It’s always so inspiring to visit places with a can-do attitude,” Sareva said during the visit.
Erin McKelvey, European American Chamber of Commerce Texas President and CEO, said that Ambassador Sareva and his team “came to take the pulse of Texas and were more than impressed by the numbers alone, not to mention the enthusiasm. energy, and welcome from the business leaders in their meetings. We’re here to support European business expansion across the State and know that Finland will have a strong role in Dallas and across Texas. “
Carrie Rogers, government affairs director for the city of Dallas, said the city is way out ahead of many U.S. cities in strengthening tighter business bonds with foreign countries.
“The city of Dallas has stepped up its effort to build a robust international affairs strategy that rivals any city in the U.S.,” Rogers said in a statement. “This visit represents a new era for our work—where we’ll work pro-actively to plant the seeds of cooperation with key countries and major international cities that align with our economic and cultural interests and work together to advance our collective interests.”
Rogers said this “will have long-term impact on Dallas’ growth and prosperity.”
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