2010 Award Winners

The 2010 Internationalization Award of the President of the Republic to Golla, The Switch and Music Export Finland

Press release February 3, 2011, free for publication at 3.00 p.m.

President of the Republic, Tarja Halonen, has granted the 2010 internationalization awards to Golla, a bag manufacturer for mobile devices, The Switch, a supplier of permanent magnet generator and full-power converter packages for wind and solar energy, and Music Export Finland, a promoter of Finnish music export.

The aim of the internationalization award is to promote the companies' operations in the international arena, as well as the ability to develop and apply new operating models. The 2010 internationalization awards were given out today in Helsinki.

"One of the purposes of the Internationalization Award of the President of the Republic is to highlight concepts and business models as an example to other Finnish companies in the process of internationalization. This year, all the award winners represent a high level of specialized expertise and since their incorporation, the companies have focused on the international markets with the aim of achieving success in them", says Finpro's President & CEO, Kari Häyrinen.

Each year, Finpro performs the search and preliminary assessment of the internationalization award nominees, based on which Finpro's Board of Directors prepares a proposal concerning the award recipients to the President in cooperation with the Association for Finnish Work. The President of the Republic makes the selection of the Internationalization Award winners on the basis of these proposals. The award was now granted for the 43rd time.  The prizes are donated by Finnish Fair Corporation.

Golla combines mobile products and fashion

Golla is an internationally operating manufacturer of bags for mobile products. It combines fashion and technology, and its bags have customers across the world. Golla's asset is its design, which is characterized by the use of bold colors, fresh prints, high quality materials and beautifully finished appearance. This year's collection includes more than 170 products including color options.

"In 2001, we decided to focus on bags and set our goal as being the world's best known brand in bags for mobile products. We have succeeded in this: we are now the unquestionable number one in our own field, measured both in market share and sales volume.  Golla is the original, others follow", says the CEO of Golla Oy, Petri Kähkönen.

Golla's distinctive, colorful style is created by a Finnish design team in Helsinki. The work is backed by strong product design competence and the will to continuously develop the quality and look of the products. Golla wants to bring colors also into the mobile world.

Mobile products are global, so right from the start, Golla has striven to become an international player in the industry.  In 2010, 98% of Golla's sales of EUR 29 million came from exports. There are about 50,000 sales outlets in more than 120 countries.  The products are sold both in electronics stores and departments. In the future, there will also be an increasing number of Golla's shop-in-shops. In addition to Helsinki, Golla has offices in five cities: Shanghai, Tokyo, Chicago, Lille and Essen. The number of staff is about 75.

Pioneering technology lent wings to The Switch's growth

Awarded as a growth company, The Switch supplies permanent magnet generator and full-power converter packages which are used to convert the energy produced by wind farms and solar plants to electric energy suitable for the network. Due to the pioneering permanent magnet technology, it has been possible to improve the efficiency of wind farms. In addition, the company applies inverter solutions to solar power systems.

The Switch was incorporated in 2006, based on a vision of a revolution in technology. The company was certain that permanent magnet generators and full-power converters are the future of renewable energy.  

"It was a bold statement, because there was not one significant operator who would have utilized the technology used by us. Now, four years later, it is used in the majority of new wind turbine models", says the President and CEO of The Switch, Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen.  

Right from the start, the company's operations were targeted to the global market. The company has model factories in Lappeenranta and Vaasa, a head office in Vantaa and subsidiaries in the big markets for wind power, the US and China. In addition, the global network covers Germany, Denmark, Spain, India and Korea.

The Switch has been growing at an annual rate in excess of 100 per cent. In the dizzying speed, the organization has had to learn and create new operating models fast. Solutions are tailored customer-specifically, with product development in the key position. The company employs 270 people and the estimated turnover in 2010 will come to over EUR 130 million.


Music Export Finland and fifty export projects 2011

The task of the community award recipient, Music Export Finland, is to help the Finnish music professionals increase its income from export. Music Export Finland brings together international decision-makers and buyers in the music industry, as well as Finnish record, publishing, artist and management companies, agencies and new innovative solutions companies. As a result, for example distribution, licensing, publishing, tour and other kind of cooperation contracts are concluded. On top of this, Music Export Finland organizes international product launches together with Finnish music companies and works on business knowledge building. During 1999–2007, the market value of Finnish music export has grown at an annual rate of approximately 35 per cent.  In 2008, the market value of music exports came to approximately EUR 25 million.

"Finland has successes in many music genres. There is a good hundred of internationally successful Finnish artists and producers who generate a good income and are significant employers. For example, heavier rock, electronic, pop and jazz music generate interest across the world, and Finnish metal music has a strong and credible reputation, particularly in Central Europe, South America, Japan and China. The new revenue streams are in the song sales and new services: Finnish lyricists have risen to number ones, for example in South Korea, Germany and Norway and innovative solution and service companies are gaining international foothold, Music Export Finland Director Paulina Ahokas describes the range of music exports.

In 2010, Music Export Finland carried out a total of 43 export projects in 14 different countries. A total of 88 Finnish artists showcased in Music Export Finland productions for international music industry professionals. During the projects, thousands of foreign buyers were met and nearly 200 international music buyers were brought to Finland.   This year, the work will increase further and the number of projects will rise to 50.

"Regionally, the focus in 2010–2011 will be on the Nordic countries and the Asian market, Japan and China. The Nordic MOI! Sounds from Suomi project is also supported by the recently opened Music Export Finland's project office in Stockholm. The project focuses on company-specific export measures, such as PR work and tour productions, as well as on the development of the intra-Nordic market", explains Ahokas.

Photos from the award ceremony: http://finpro.materials.fi/index.php?pg=15&op=625&mat=691

For further information, please contact:

Awarded companies

  • Golla Oy, Petri Kähkönen, CEO, petri.kahkonen(a)golla.com, tel +358 50 583 5310
  • The Switch, Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen, President and CEO jukka-pekka.makinen(a)theswitch.com, tel +358 40 8080 58
  • Music Export Finland Association ry, Paulina Ahokas, Executive Director , paulina(a)musex.fi, tel +358 40 5511 551


  • Kari Häyrinen, President and CEO, kari.hayrinen(a)finpro.fi, tel. +358 40 343 3464
  • Outi Torniainen, Senior Vice President of Communication and Marketing, outi.torniainen(a)finpro.fi, tel. +358 40 512 1375

Finpro is a global network of experts that promotes the international success of Finnish companies. Finpro's staff, consisting of over 300 professionals, work in 57 offices in more than 40 different countries. Finpro offers its expertise and services throughout the various stages of companies' internationalization. Expertise in various fields of business, market knowledge, efficient international and local networks, and the ability to identify and understand future business opportunities are the added value Finpro offers to Finnish industry and businesses to maintain and develop their competitiveness.