Elina Björklund to prepare reform of Team Finland network of business services abroad

On 27 June 2024, Minister of Economic Affairs Wille Rydman and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio appointed Elina Björklund (M.Sc., Economics), Chairperson of the Board of Reima Group, to serve as the rapporteur preparing the reform of the Team Finland network of business services abroad to integrate the foreign functions of Business Finland with the Foreign Service.

The ministers also appointed a working group to support the rapporteur. Its members include Senior Ministerial Adviser Maija Lönnqvist (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment), Under-Secretary of State Jarno Syrjälä (Ministry for Foreign Affairs), Senior Ministerial Adviser Johanna von Knorring-Rosenlew (Ministry of Finance), Director Risto Vuohelainen (Business Finland), Director of International Affairs & Trade Päivi Pohjanheimo (Finland Chamber of Commerce), Director Timo Vuori (Confederation of Finnish Industries) and Director Harri Jaskari (Federation of Finnish Enterprises).

Elina Björklund will chair the working group. She has strong expertise and experience in international business growth and change management.

The rapporteur and working group will specify the implementation model where the foreign functions of Business Finland will be integrated as part of the Foreign Service. They will also assess the legal and administrative aspects and cost impacts of the integration.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio is pleased that the working group will start its work soon. “These changes are designed to offer Finnish companies better export promotion services in cooperation with businesses and personnel”, Tavio says.

“We have a great deal of work ahead of us to further improve the conditions for Finnish businesses’ exports and expansion into international markets. Combining the foreign functions of Business Finland and those of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is one way we are responding to the challenges of a changing global operating environment. Going forward, our Team Finland activities will be more strategic and more closely integrated. However, now our concern is to ensure Finnish companies uninterrupted services despite the upcoming changes,” Björklund says.

“I greatly appreciate the solid competence and experience in Business Finland’s foreign functions. We want to hold on to this capital. It complements the international affairs expertise at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs very well. The upcoming changes will challenge all parties to renew their activities. We want to ensure that the transfer process will be as smooth as possible for the personnel concerned. A joint export promotion network consisting of skilled members and well-functioning and efficient work communities abroad will help Finnish companies succeed better in international competition. This is particularly important in Finland’s current economic situation. It is our hope that everyone will support us in building this network,” Björklund says.