Net-economy : the Finnish in Sophia
Taking advantages of synergies between Helsinki and the technopole, two european centers for mobility and Internet, about ten finnish firms have settled during the last three years.
Trema Laboratories, StoneSoft, Prosolutions, Net in France, Solid Information Technology, SantaMargarita (which is become a branch of Plenware Group), RTSe : all these firms in Sophia-Antipolis have got one thing in common. They are finnish and settled in the Sophia-Antipolis technopole. That presence explains the sitting of a general assembly of the Franco-finnish Chamber of commerce, a session to which the Finland ambassador in France, Antti Hynnien, took part.Such a visit focus on the setting-ups of finnish firms in Sophia-Antipolis. Those firms which take advantages of existing synergies between Finland and the technopole, two european centers advanced in mobility and Internet, find a way of getting a european standing through these french setting-ups.Possibility of hiring engineersThe first finnish net-economy start-up on the Riviera, the one which launched the movement, was Trema Laboratories. This firm from Helsinki and specialized in up-market softwares for treasury management of big international companies, choose the technopole in 1997. At the World Trade Center in Sophia-Antipolis, it is now composed of more than a hundred of employees. Following its wake, about ten finnish firms have come in order to settle during the last two years; with in these cases again a few great developments.When it settled in september 1999, StoneSoft employed only two persons. Today its researh and development center is composed of 45 people, and should be up to 80 within six months. It is obvious that StoneSoft, which was created in 1990, is a finnish firm that cannot be missed. The company (600 people), quoted on the Helsinki Stock Exchange since 1999, produces security and high availability systems on Internet. These are softwares which protect computers against hackers, breakdowns and other problems and which are used by telecommunication operators such as Bell Canada, Deutsche Telekom, in the banking sector (Bank of America, Merill Lynch), by big international companies (Nokia, Lufthansa, the Financial Times), and by government organizations such as the FBI, the NASA and the swedish Parliament.Why did they choose Sophia-Antipolis? Marko Kirjavainen, director of the Solid Information Technology site, Petteri Heng, director of the StoneSoft one and other finnish officials are all unanimous: workforce and climate. As Sophia-Antipolis work on the same fields as in Finland (Internet and mobility), there is on the site a 'significant mass' as far as skill is concerned. So finnish firms are able to find engineers that they need on the Riviera. ' In Finland,explains Petteri Heng, Nokia and Sonera take them all. On the Riviera it is still possible to find skilled engineers and technicians or to make them come here. We have particularly recruited through the Web, a system that worked well. On the other hand, facilities are good and connections, via the airport, are much more practical than at Paris. And, obviously, there is the sun...'