Introducing Stephen Bolton, Honorary Consul of Finland in Nottingham
Eight up in our article series introducing the Honorary Consuls of Finland in the United Kingdom is Stephen Bolton. Mr Bolton was appointed as Honorary Consul of Finland for Nottingham in April 2001 in recognition of his close connections and trade links with Finland.
Stephen Bolton recently retired from full-time business though he still runs and owns a small property development business, Hamstone Limited. Prior to his retirement, he was the CEO and major UK shareholder of Bolton Stirland International Limited, a joint venture company with Tunturi Oy Ltd of Turku, Finland. He is a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and worked for a number of years in Hong Kong and Thailand with KPMG. Mr Bolton is highly experienced in strategic business development, turnaround situations and engagement in entrepreneurial ventures. In his spare time, Mr Bolton enjoys a number of outdoor activities including fly-fishing for salmon and trout, skiing, sailing and horse riding.
1. How did you end up as an Honorary Consul for Finland?
I was invited to become an Honorary Consul by Pertti Salolainen, Finland’s UK ambassador at the turn of the millennium, who had assisted in providing PR and marketing opportunities for a number of Tunturi fitness equipment product launches. Through close ties with Ambassador Salolainen and the Finnish Embassy we were together able to introduce many UK customers to Finland through jointly sponsored fact finding trips to Finland.
2. What do you enjoy most in your role as an Honorary Consul?
I enjoy meeting Finns and helping when I can, as well as keeping in touch with Finnish friends.
3. What is Finland known for in your area?
A quick answer would be Santa Claus, The Northern Lights and Nokia, plus some world-class sportsmen especially racing drivers. Today, Finland has become much better known through constantly being top or near to the top of world surveys, such as the best place to live, best education, fair society, environmental awareness etc.
4. What do you wish people in your area knew more about Finland?
What a great place it is to visit for a holiday whether in the winter or summer. Finland has fantastic countryside with impressive rivers, lakes, forests and coastal areas and excellent promotion of the arts and culture.
5. What does your area have to offer for Finns or Finnish companies?
Nottingham is at the centre of the UK and is very well positioned for distribution by road, rail and air. In our region, we also have some of the very best universities in the country producing top graduates and post graduates.
6. What is your favourite Finnish word or expression? Why?
Whenever someone says ‘bon appetite’ before enjoying a meal, I try to respond ‘hyvää ruokahalua’, it always makes an impression, though I am afraid my pronunciation is very poor!