2012 Award Winners

Internationalization Awards of the President of the Republic of Finland go to Rovio, L-Fashion Group, and Blancco

Press release January 31, 2013   

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö has presented the 2012 Internationalization Awards to Rovio, an entertainment and gaming company, L-Fashion Group, which operates in the clothing industry, and Blancco, which specializes in data erasure software.

"The Internationalization Award of the President of the Republic is a tribute to the global risk-taking and success of Finnish entrepreneurs. The aim is for the award-winners to set an example that encourages other Finnish companies to internationalize. Export and international company growth are the prerequisites for Finnish success. Nine out of ten workplaces in Finland have been created in small and medium-sized companies in recent years. Now, it's important to encourage growth entrepreneurship and give companies the tools they need to succeed internationally," says Finpro's President and CEO Kari Häyrinen.

Each year, Finpro performs the search and preliminary assessment of internationalization prize nominees, on the basis of which Finpro's Board of Directors, in cooperation with the Association for Finnish Work, prepares a proposal concerning the award recipients to the President. The President selects the Internationalization Award winners on the basis of these proposals. The prizes presented are donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation. The award is now being granted for the 45th time.

Rovio flies to the top

Rovio is the first Finnish company to succeed in building a global entertainment brand. One sign of its enormous success is the fact that the Angry Birds game reached the milestone of one million downloads last year.

"Companies in the gaming industry have to look outside Finland right away. The product range has to be adapted for a broad international audience, because the entertainment market in Finland is so small. We try to release game concepts that allow us to build more extensive worlds and characters. From the very start, we laid the groundwork for success. We had advance plans for what we would do if we achieved the targets that had been set: first create a game for all platforms, then the spin-off products, animations and cartoons. That target has been continuously expanded, and we're still on the same path," says Rovio's CEO Mikael Hed as he outlines the story of Angry Birds.

The company has been able to steadily extend its operations to new areas. Effective marketing and building an ecosystem around games and spin-off products are the keys to success for this company.


L-Fashion Group modernizes with a century of experience

Established in Lahti in 1907, L-Fashion Group's journey to becoming Finland's largest and most internationally successful fashion industry company is proof of its continuity and adaptability.

"Product quality, design and price all have to be right if you want international success in the fashion business. Finding the right combination for success requires constant deliberation and close monitoring of consumer requests. The decision to move nearly all of our entire production to China in the early 2000s was a major and important decision in the company's history. It was a difficult choice because we had been struggling to keep production in Finland for a long time. However, price competitiveness is particularly important when you don't build a special product segment," explains L-Fashion Group's CEO Vesa Luhtanen.

CEO Luhtanen believes that growth in online sales will be the next big change affecting the entire fashion industry. L-Fashion Group's best-known brands include Luhta, Rukka, Icepeak, Ril's, O.i.s, STORY, J.A.P. and Your FACE. Among others, the national retail chain Aleksi 13 handles consumer sales in Finland.


Blancco is a data eraser

In just 15 years, Joensuu-based Blancco has become a global market leader in data erasure. The company's software can be used to safely erase saved data from all IT assets, such as computers, smart phones and servers. Blancco has sold millions of licenses all over the world and its customer base includes the European Commission, European Parliament, NATO, SAP, Al-Jazeera television network and many of the world's largest financial institutions.

"We got the business idea when we read that a Finnish hospital had accidentally sold a used computer that contained patient data for about 3,000 people. This inspired the idea of a professional data erasure product for hard disks. Right from the start, we focused on one thing - data erasure. We have stayed ahead in product development and, contrary to our competitors, we offer data erasure for all platforms," says Blancco's CEO Kim Väisänen.

Blancco has grown at an annual pace of more than 30% throughout the 2000s and is aiming to continue this development in the future as well. The fact that the amount of saved data doubles every year supports rapid growth.

For further information:

Photos of the awards ceremony

Contact information for the award-winning companies:

Tarja Malinen, Communications and Marketing Director, Luhta, tarja.malinen@luhta.fi, +358 40 522 3172
Kim Väisänen, CEO, Blancco, kim.vaisanen@blancco.com, +358 50 585 2885
Rovio Entertainment, media@rovio.com


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

Association for Finnish Work

Tero Lausala,CEO, Association for Finnish Work, tero.lausala@avainlippu.fi, 050 407 2623

Finnish Fair Foundation

Christer Haglund, CEO, The Finnish Fair Corporation, christer.haglund@finnexpo.fi, 040 555 1007

Finpro is the national trade, internationalization and investment development organization in Finland. We support our clients' international growth and success by enabling them to be in the right markets at the right time with a competitive concept and offering.

Both locally and globally, Finpro networking benefits our clients and our partners. Our 370 professionals work in 69 offices in almost 50 countries. As well as carrying out assignments for companies, Finpro runs several major international projects, such as Cleantech Finland and Future Learning Finland.



The Finnish Fair Foundation awards scholarships, grants, rewards, and commendations worth approximately €400,000 in total every year. The most famous awards are the Kaj Franck Design Prize and the Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic.


The Association for Finnish Work is an expert organisation whose duty is to promote appreciation of Finnish work. The organisation governs symbols and online services working to promote Finnish work and advocates innovation and entrepreneurship.