Connecting Regions, Enabling Growth:  Expanding the Kasvu Open Ecosystem to Singapore


OECD projects predict the Asia Pacific region the highest rate of growth for middle-class consumer spending by 2030.

The Kasvu Open (“Growth Open”) process has strongly established its position and value in Finland at a time when the country faces the continuous challenges of globalization, necessitating a need to transform her economic infrastructure and to identifying new companies with growth potential.

From its modest beginnings in 2011, Kasvu Open has grown rapidly in recent years; connecting growth-minded entrepreneurs with experienced business coaches (“millers”); discovering talents and potential throughout Finland and extending its reach across the country to cities big and small.

As one can expect, many companies participating in the Kasvu Open process have substantial international goals. Some have located opportunities abroad and their international sales are progressing well; some wish to expand their customer base and are looking actively at overseas markets; while some others are just starting to take their first step towards international business. This angle has been part of Kasvu Open from the beginning: with companies and millers having international expertise and partners and staff constantly creating new international avenues.

The desire and need of companies to internationalize creates a strong basis to think through how the Kasvu Open network could be further developed, such that in the near future, a powerful global ecosystem could be established to support Finnish companies on their mission to grow internationally.

This blog highlights the exploration of a new initiative that contributes to the development of such an ecosystem. The plan is to open a “Growth Track” (Kiitorata) to Singapore and to tap into the economic potential of the Asia Pacific region – a region that the OECD projects will see the highest rate of growth for middle-class consumer spending by 2030. At a time when major global economies look inwards, it is prudent for us to consider the innate value that global networks and trade connections bring to countries.  While Singapore and Finland are separated by distance, we share the common challenge of adapting our respective economies, enterprises, and people to the dynamics of the digital era.

The Growth Track to Singapore proceeds on two main fronts. First, we will create a parallel Kasvu Open -process in Singapore that brings together local companies, business experts and sponsors who are sensitive to the business climate in Asia and are looking for growth. Second, we will identify and connect growth-minded Finnish companies interested in the Asian market directly to the Singapore Growth Track, working with Singaporean business experts and establishing networks and collaborations with local business organizations to jointly explore the opportunities within the larger East Asia and Southeast Asia region. Our vision is to build up an integrated network of Growth hubs across key Asian cities to facilitate our companies’ access to the region and its diverse markets.    

It would be fascinating to observe how the Kasvu Open network would be strengthen and enriched once a new and active hub is added to it in Singapore. In particular, we must develop a deeper understanding of the inners workings of this ecosystem, especially in terms of its ability to help companies grow. Tentatively, it can be said that we are clearly working with, let us call them, “Flows”. These flows relate to things like: knowledge, connections, learning, new perspectives, visibility, new business opportunities, and perhaps most critically, contextual specificities. Our task in the future is to understand and manage these flows to enable them to bring the best possible benefit for those companies and entrepreneurs seeking international growth.

At this point, this is very much a work in progress. We welcome and appreciate comments and contributions from all who would like to work with us in expanding this initiative. We also invite companies and individuals interested in the Singapore and Southeast Asia markets to contact us at email: for further discussions. We will do our best so that the Kasvu Open ecosystem would soon include a Singapore connection.

Neo Beng Tong, CEO of the Next Twenty from Singapore, contributed to this blog post.                                                                               


Ari Manninen

Ari Manninen on Jyväskylän yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulun Avance-johtamiskoulutuksen johtaja ja kiinnostunut erityisesti strategisesta kehittämisestä, yrityksen kehittämistyön jäsentämisestä sekä johtamisesta.