Evondos was able to offer its unique automatic medicine dispensing solution to the NOPII project when Finpro’s Digital Hospitals growth program helped the company to reopen the tender.
Founded in 2008, Evondos Ltd is a Finnish healthcare service company that has developed an automatic medicine dispensing service enabling patients in need of long-term medical treatment to get the right medication at the right time and in the right doses. The service consists of an automatic medicine dispenser installed in the patient’s home, and the Telecare System which has a wireless connection.
“Our service improves medical adherence and patient safety. It also brings significant cost savings and quality benefits in health care. We are also bringing many other services on the same platform for the automation and development of elderly care and home care,” says Evondos’ CEO Jyrki Niinistö.
New game opener in Denmark
Evondos manufactures its automatic medicine dispensers in Salo and operates in Finland, Sweden and Norway. In autumn 2015, Finpro’s Digital Hospitals program contacted Evondos about a competitive tender organized by the NOPII project in Denmark, which was worth about EUR 30 million.
“Digital Hospitals took the initiative. It was the kind of game opener that we had to go see immediately. The Danish market is very interesting because Denmark is seen as the leading country in Europe in terms of utilizing digital health care and technology. They have a strong political commitment to utilizing technology in health care,” Niinistö explains.
The unsuccessful competitive tender had been closed but thanks to the Digital Hospitals program Evondos was invited to a seminar where it was able to present its solution to representatives from the NOPII project.
“They were really excited because this was exactly the kind of solution that they had been looking for. We also got excited about Denmark and this opportunity which was unusually well documented. So we started working on it and now the project has been opened up to tender again as a result of our initiative.”
Real added value
The result of the competitive tender will be announced at the end of 2016 or early next year.
“Time will tell what happens in the project and whether it will be a commercial success. Nevertheless, this is a good example of export promotion work at its best, when we get more professional people involved – more eyes, ears and brains on the case,” says Niinistö.
Evondos entered the Swedish and Norwegian markets under its own steam. Denmark was also part of the company’s future expansion plans but it was not yet actively following what was happening in the market.
“Our participation in the tender is completely thanks to the Digital Hospitals program. This is a real added value. We have also been able to flexibly use Finpro’s office in Denmark, which has been really great.”
Terhi Rasmussen from Finpro’s Copenhagen office helps Finnish companies to keep an eye on business opportunities in Denmark.
“It has been fun to work with Evondos’ dynamic team. We are following the market and informing Evondos about the relevant market signals. The better we know the company’s level of ambition and its product, the easier it is for us to push things forward together in the target market,” she says.
Useful learning trips to Asia
In early 2015, Evondos participated in delegation trips to the UAE and Singapore organized by FinlandCare. Finnish government ministers Susanna Huovinen and Laura Räty also took part.
“Both trips were educational and exceeded expectations. The ministers opened doors for us to some very high-level meetings. We also had many interesting business visit meetings that provided information and understanding about the markets in the region,” says Niinistö.
Getting acquainted with other FinlandCare member companies also added a useful dimension to the trips.
“We were all from different sectors and this enabled a very open discussion and candid exchange of information. We all learned from each other. Of course it could also have been an opportunity if there had been companies from the same sector as us.”
Aim high, take one step at a time
Evondos’ vision is to be a global leader in its own niche market.
“We have a very focused and sober growth strategy. At this stage we are focusing on the traditional western EU countries and next year we are going to the Unites States and Japan. Of course we have noted that there is also a need and interest in the Gulf region and the Asian countries, but we are taking things one step at a time,” says Niinistö.
Joining the FinlandCare program has brought new contacts and widened Evondos’ network.
“We will definitely continue cooperation with Finpro and FinlandCare because they are doing valuable work and bringing new opportunities. Many companies are in a position where they are not able to open the doors to the conversations that interest them.”
No shortage of export potential
During the trips to the UAE and Singapore, Niinistö got the impression that Finnish health care know-how is highly valued.
“The high-level representatives in the target countries knew Finland well, including the good performance of the Finnish education system and the high-quality health care system. The Finland brand is quite good and we have the potential to make more use of it,” says Niinistö.
In his view, small export companies should put more resources into sales and marketing, and focus properly on just a few countries rather than be tempted to chase different opportunities around the world.
“The demand is there and Finnish companies seem to have quite a strong reputation, but they don’t always know how to sell themselves or their own products. Having a focus is also important in export activities.”
More research required on new products
According to Niinistö, health technology markets are conservative and doctor-led. Behind each purchasing decision there is often a requirement for research-based evidence about the benefits of the product. The research work carried out by institutes and universities therefore plays a very important role in health technology exports.
“We need more academic evidence regarding the functionality of new health technology and IT products, and their economic and clinical effectiveness. This could be an interesting area for researchers and it would help to bring more Finnish companies to the global market,” says Niinistö.