Genano aims to boost air purifier exports to the Asian market
FinlandCare trips to Asia have resulted in a promising pilot project in Malaysia and the formation of an export group by Finnish companies around a joint hygiene concept.
Established in 1999, Genano is the market leader for indoor air purifiers in Finland. Its patented air purification method removes particles down to nanometre size from indoor air, eliminating microbes such as viruses, bacteria and moulds, and also removing gases and odours.
Genano's equipment is used in hospitals and laboratories as well as in schools, daycare centres, offices, health centres and businesses. The company has operated in the international markets since its foundation, particularly in the hospital sector.
"So far our biggest export successes have been in Saudi Arabia where we sold isolation units to 18 hospitals during the MERS virus outbreak, and in Poland where we have delivered isolation units and equipment to all the country's hematology institutions," says Genano's Vice President Klaus Nissinen, who is also responsible for international sales.
Delegation trips opened doors
Genano has been in the FinlandCare program for two years, participating in an export promotion trip to Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates led by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka, and a trip to Malaysia and Singapore led by Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
"Thanks to the delegation trips we have been able to make new contacts in Asia and also found Finnish business partners. The ambassadors in the target countries were very business-oriented. The participation of the ministers, the jointly organised events and the use of the venues were also good," says Nissinen.
"Genano already had some resellers and contacts in the Asian markets but we have only been active there for a few years. The meetings arranged as part of the trips deepened our mutual understanding and trust. For example, in Saudi Arabia the ministerial visit helped our local reseller by opening new contacts to the hospitals."
Promising pilot project in Malaysia
In Malaysia, Genano and Finnish company Medanta, which produces antimicrobial workwear, had the opportunity to present their expertise directly to the country's health minister. As a result of the meeting, the minister gave his blessing to a joint pilot project where the companies can demonstrate how the Finnish air purification technology and antimicrobial textiles work in a Malaysian hospital setting.
"We will conduct before-and-after particle measurements in the rooms and show how many microbes the textiles contain. This way we can show how to reduce hospital-acquired infections over a longer time period. When the positive results come through the project can be expanded, for example, to a whole hospital ward," Nissinen explains.
Joint export offering boosts momentum
Nissinen praises the positive attitude of the Finnish companies that participated in the trips, including their readiness to promote other companies if their own product or service was not of interest to potential customers. The good team spirit has also led to concrete cooperation. Genano and Medanta are currently building an export group consisting of 4-5 Finnish companies under a joint hygiene concept.
"At the next Arab Health trade fair we will have a joint stall around this concept and also produce marketing materials and a video. By joining together we will have better opportunities to present our offering and to take the idea forward," says Nissinen.
Seeking growth from exports
Genano is currently investing strongly in export promotion because the company's growth opportunities in Finland are becoming limited. The strategic objective for the next few years is to generate more revenue from exports than from the domestic market.
"We have sold equipment to around 20 countries and the now main focus is on about ten countries where the agreements with local partners are starting to be in good order. Getting them up and running is the cornerstone of our future exports. It is important to have many projects underway and not just count on the success of a single project," says Nissinen.
FinlandCare offers solutions and synergy
Nissinen recommends the FinlandCare program especially for smaller companies because in addition to new contacts it also provides fast learning about different export models.
"All the companies have fairly similar issues that require solutions. In the program you are constantly getting tips about how other companies have done things. It is well worth it for the companies to talk and find their own synergies."
"During the trips the focus is really directed to making business deals and all the participating companies understand that this depends on their own efforts. These days nobody can afford to spend time and money on just having a chat. In my previous job I travelled 15 years in the Far-East so I know the business culture quite well but still the FinlandCare trips opened up some new things to me. There is always something new to learn!"