At the end of May 2020, the Central Finland Food Chain Coordination Project 2 published the results of a survey on internationalization and sustainable development carried out for local food companies and tourism companies providing food services.
The purpose was to find out what kind of experience companies have in exports, at what level the sustainability of their operations is, what support services and development would be needed and what things entrepreneurs think are already in order. The aim of the study was to strengthen food and tourism services and cooperation between different actors. The purpose was also to identify the development and support needs deemed necessary for the area.
The results show that companies are interested in developing their operations and products, as well as increasing their sales. Many companies are pursuing internationalization, but so far only a few local entrepreneurs have international operations. Other Nordic countries were interesting target countries for internationalization. In particular, more international guests were invited to Finland to strengthen tourism in the region.
According to the results of the survey, companies would benefit from increased export cooperation, more staff, various trainings and possibly also the use of an export consultant. None of the entrepreneurs who replied to the survey had used an export consultant.
In terms of sustainable operations, more than half of the entrepreneurs paid attention to the origins of raw materials. They prefer use mainly local or domestic raw materials. Less attention was paid to minimizing waste and utilizing side streams. Own activities were felt to have a positive impact on the region’s economy. In the future, entrepreneurs wanted to develop well-being at work in particular.
A report on the results of the survey can be found here Central Finnish food business exports and sustainable development statement (in Finnish).
Have you done similar surveys for local entrepreneurs? Have your results helped to develop the region? What issues have been identified in the survey? Have entrepreneurs been satisfied with the development measures? What kind of cooperation patterns could we think together to support the internationalization of small actors?