News & Events

Finland, Maine and Michigan partner toward sustainable growth in forest bioeconomy

LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - In a move that capitalizes on collective forestry knowledge and a commitment to smarter, sustainable use of natural resources, Finland and the states of Maine and Michigan are elevating a cooperative effort in bioeconomy and clean technologies. This week, the team will host a webinar to introduce the formation of working groups open to those in industry, research and governmental sectors. To read more go to

First ‘Testing Tuesday’ event showcases health and fitness startups

On Tuesday, November 17, MTEC SmartZone personnel, Finlandia International School of Business (ISB) students and faculty, and others participated in the first international virtual Testing Tuesday event hosted by the Finnish-based student entrepreneurial community, XES Helsinki. XES Helsinki is located at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, one of Finlandia’s key Finnish partner institutes.

Set up similarly to the popular American TV show Shark Tank, the meetings consist of three startups, who each get three minutes to present their companies, and a panel of ‘judges’ who ask questions to learn more about the companies and determine which they would like to work more with. FinnU was well represented with ISB dean Kevin Manninen, assistant professor of management Nathan Perreault, assistant professor of sports management Steve Nordstrom and numerous FinnU students in attendance. Additional UP and area partners present included MTEC SmartZone’s Jason Mack, Michigan Tech senior lecturer of management John Leinonen, the Small Business Development Center’s Daniel Yoder, and Patrick Visser of FinnZone

To read the whole story go to



Michigan-Finland Summit on Forest Bioproducts, October 16-19 at Michigan Tech in Houghton

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI) and FinnZone will host multiple Finnish forestry and bioproducts companies October 16 to 19 in Houghton-Hancock for the upcoming Michigan-Finland Summit on Forest Bioproducts. The visit will also include meetings with FinnZone personnel, and tours of FinnZone-SmartZone facilities, Michigan Technological University and the area. 

The Finnish companies are expected to represent a wide collection of business interests such as collaboration, research, partnership, investment and sales in the area of bio-based products and technologies. These companies are part of a delegation organized by Business Finland which is the Finnish national agency for business development. Finland leads the world in the technological and business development of the forest bioeconomy.

There will be a welcome reception for the Finnish guests at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock hosted by FinnZone, Finlandia University and the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Upper Michigan.

Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) are the heart of one of the largest forested regions in the United States, yet its’ forest sector remains largely traditional in terms of products and services. Recently, it was announced funding was secured for a new $300 million biorefinery in the U.P. Substantial opportunities exist for Michigan and Finnish forestry and biobased companies, large and small, to begin to reshape the forest industry in Michigan towards a bioeconomy. Michigan has the largest concentration of Finnish-Americans in the United States and most are located in the Upper Peninsula, making the region very comfortable for Finnish businesses.

For more info go to

BUSINESS ENERGY Meet UP – Featuring: FINLAND! September 28 in Hancock

Location: Finnish-American Heritage Center (Hancock)
Date: September 28, 2018 (Friday)
Time: 10:30-4 (lunch catered by Fitzgeralds!)
Admission: $25

Event Agenda:
10:30 am Coffee/Sign-In

11:00 – 11:15 Introduction/Welcome

11:15 – 12:00 Representative Scott Dianda
Energy Freedom Package – Downstate Report

12:00 pm LUNCH – Catered by FITZGERALD’S

1:00 – 1:45 Jarno Haapakoski, CEO - Volter FI
Wood-fueled Small Combined Heat and Power

2:00 – 2:45 Markku Paananen, Specialist - Tarvala Bioeconomy Center
Bioenergy Story of Central Finland

3:00 – 3:45 Angela Barbash, Principal – ReValue, RIA
Introduction to Crowd-Equity Financing

To sign up or for more information contact:
Melissa Davis, Managing Director
Phone: 906/281-5986

Finland leads the world in most efficiently using forest resources to generate both electricity and heat. Their R&D has been developing since the mid-1970s and now, not
only do they have the most efficient equipment for both harvesting and combustion, but they also have the supply chain and social pieces put together through forest
landownership cooperatives.

We couldn’t be more pleased about bringing two experts to Houghton County – one is CEO of a factory in Finland that builds extremely efficient biomass generators, and the
other is a researcher at Finland’s BioEconomy Center. We hope you will take advantage of one-on-one interaction with these experts while they are here.

Finnish bluegrass rockers Steve 'N' Seagulls coming to the Keweenaw September 5th

The Copper Country may never be the same after Finnish rock legends-in-the-making Steve ‘n’ Seagulls visit the Rosza Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, September 5. Tickets are on sale now for the high-energy band that performs bluegrass versions of well-known rock and metal songs from a decidedly Finnish perspective.

“The group has racked up millions of views with their unique antics on YouTube,” said Kevin Manninen, one of the driving forces to bringing the band to the area. “I’ve talked to dozens of people who are beyond excited to have these guys bringing their unforgettable music to the Keweenaw.”

Manninen has been working on this in conjunction with the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Upper Michigan, Finlandia University and Copper Island Engraving, who are working together to make this event possible. The event will also be the first event of the third annual Festival Ruska.

More information about the event, links to some of the best Steve ‘n’ Seagulls videos and information about tickets can be found at




Finnzone featured in Finnish press

Houghton-Hancock and FINNZONE were featured in an article that appeared in the June 10 edition of Suununtaisuomalainen (The Sunday Finn). It's a Sunday insert to the papers Etelä-Suomen Sanomat (Lahti), Karjalainen (Joensuu and northern Karelia), Keskisuomalainen (Jyvaskyla and central Finland) and Savon Sanomat (Kuopio). These four papers have altogether 550,000 readers.

The title is: Backwoods Silicon Valley

The article mentions how Finnzone is attempting to attract Finnish companies to the Keweenaw and the opportunities that the keweenaw provides them.

FINNZONE: Serving Finnish SME’s in the U.S. & North America Markets

FinnZone Commercial Launchpad has been created to assist Finnish companies entering or expanding in the U.S. and North American markets. FinnZone is located at Innovation Shore in the cities of Houghton and Hancock, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula– the new high-tech center of the north! FinnZone provides these services at no cost:

  • U.S. commercialization strategy advising and corporate connections
  • Business mentoring
  • Assistance raising capital
  • Access to top ranked science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) university interns and graduates
  • Additional gratis services include location assistance, and access to Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) business development resources, alternative lending and regional resources and resource providers.






FinnZone also provides reduced rate office space in one or more of our three facilities. A variety of other often discounted pay-for-services are available through our network of business ecosystem partners including human resources, sponsored research at Michigan Technological University, financial, marketing, legal, IP, sales training, visa/immigration, formation of U.S. corporations and more.


FinnZone is a team formed through a partnership of MTEC SmartZone, Finlandia University, the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce (U.P.), the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), and Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR), in collaboration with Michigan Tech University.

Finnish Mobile Mentoring Start-up Mesensei to visit Houghton-Hancock, Oct. 24-27

Finnish start-up Mesensei will be visiting Houghton and Hancock October 24-27 to launch a pilot project with Finlandia University for their new mobile mentoring application. Representing Mesensei will be CEO and co-founder Tuukka Ylälahti and co-founder and board chair Eeva-Liisa Ylälahti. 

The project will kick off with a workshop on mobile mentoring in education on Wednesday, October 25 at 6pm at the Finnish American Heritage center in Hancock.

On Thursday at 6 pm, Tuukka will give a presentation entitled "How the Digital Revolution is driving change in eduucation, entrepreneurship and society" to be held at the Michigan Tech Lakeshore center in Houghton.

Tuukka is Helsinki-based start-up entrepreneur, advisor and business angel specializing in platform strategies with a global reach. He is also the co-founder of, and Wahwa Research & Insight.

A seasoned entrepreneur and mentor, Eeva-Liisa has an extensive career in media and market research focusing on digitalization, mobility and analytics. She is a fixture on the Finnish start-up scene and one of Finland’s prominent women entrepreneurs.

Juhannus ’17 - A three day festival in the heart of Finnish America

It’s been more than three years since some 8,000 Finns and friends gathered in the Copper Country for FinnFest USA 2013, and since that wonderful week, folks have been eager to relive those many magical moments.

While that festival can never be replicated, the Finns of the Copper Country are going to build off of that magic and host the “next best thing” – Juhannus ’17. Hosted by some of the most Finnish communities anywhere in North America, including Askel, Bruce Crossing, Hancock and Toivola, this festival will include all of the elements you’ve come to expect at a Finnish festival, wrapped in the small-town hospitality that’s made the Copper Country a favorite destination for Finns worldwide. Check out the full schedule.

Scheduled for June 23-25, 2017, Juhannus ’17 will not only celebrate the Finnishness we all hold dear, but also the communities themselves — the communities you came to love when you visited here only three summers ago.

The festival will feature a tori at the Finnish American Heritage Center. For general vendor information, click here.

Hope to see you there!

Reception for Consul General Manu Virtamo, May 1 from 4-6pm at Finnish American Heritage Center

The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce a reception for Consul General of Finland (based in New York) Manu Virtamo on Monday, May 1 from 4-6 pm at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.  Light Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be available. Please RSVP to the following link  or email by Tuesday, April 25 if you plan to attend.  Come and celebrate Vappu with us!

Consul General Virtamo will also be giving the Spring Commencement address at Finlandia University on Sunday, April 30.