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Internationalisation Awards of the President of the Republic to Keitele Forest, Smartly and Cursor

Mikko (vas.), Ilkka ja Matti Kylävainio Keitele Forestilta esittelevät Aurorazai-liimapuuta. Keitele Forest sai Tasavallan presidentin kasvuyritys-palkinnon.

The President of the Republic, Sauli Niinistö, has today granted the Internationalisation Awards for 2019. The award for Growth Company of the Year was granted to Finland’s leading company in mechanical wood processing, Keitele Forest Oy. The newcomer company of the year is Solutions. It provides allocation and automation tools for digital marketing. The community award was granted to the regional development company for Kotka-Hamina, Cursor Oy. The company contributed significantly to getting over 2 billion euros of foreign investments in Kymenlaakso.

The Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic is a recognition granted each year to Finnish companies that have gained international success, and to the communities behind them.

The award-winning companies Keitele Forest and Smartly are examples of Finnish innovation and will to grow. The winner of the community award, Cursor, has worked relentlessly to promote direct foreign investments by building cooperation networks.

“Courage, growth, investments and renewal are the common characteristics of these winners. The recognised companies have invested in production plants, new products and services as well as staff expertise. In Kymenlaakso, companies have contributed to the economic renewal of the entire province. The efforts of these companies also show that courage to take risks pays off, and in addition to the company and its staff, partners and the entire community also benefit from this,“ says the director general of Business Finland, Nina Kopola.

The general award criteria relate to the winner’s proven ability to create growing and profitable international business. In addition, it has been noted how the company actively promotes, among other things, sustainable development, wellbeing in the workplace, digitalisation and other fields of expertise.

The proposal on companies and communities to be recognized has been made to the President by the entities of the Team Finland network, among which are Business Finland, ELY Centres, Finnvera and the Foreign Ministry. Business organisations suggested candidates.

Keitele Forest promotes sustainable growth and the right direction in wood processing

Keitele Forest, recognised as the growth company of the year, is the market leader in mechanical wood processing and one of the largest wood processing companies in Finland. The company, founded in 1981, increases the processing value of timber and lumber products by manufacturing glulam and blanks for the building, furniture, window and door industries.

Keitele Group includes parent company Keitele Forest Oy, lumber-producing Keitele Timber Oy, and timber product company Keitele Wood Products Oy. The group's turnover is around 270 million euros per year. In the last ten years, the group has invested for over EUR 200 million in Finland. The company exports timber and further processing products to 42 countries. The main markets are in Japan, EU countries and Northern Africa. The company’s working principles are based on responsible action and sustainable development.

“From the environment’s point of view, wood and its use are the solution, not the problem. Finland has aimed to increase wood production for a hundred years and succeeded brilliantly. However, the forest can’t be used as a permanent carbon sink. Instead, slowly circulating raw materials need to be processed efficiently based on customer needs and turned into timber products that function as carbon sinks throughout their lifecycle. The growth and carbon sink of forests should be increased in a controlled manner in the future“, comments Ilkka Kylävainio, who is the CEO and chairperson of the board of directors of Keitele Forest.

An example of sustainable methods is recycling products that bind carbon dioxide for a long time at the end of the products’ useful life. Production, timber transportation and the logistic solutions for finished products are optimised, and the company produces the energy it needs from renewable energy sources created as by-products of sawing.

The group employs around 500 people in Keitele, Northern Savo, Alajärvi, Southern Ostrobothnia, and Kemijärvi, Lapland. The company has never laid off or dismissed its staff. In addition to Keitele Group's own employees, the company offers work to over 1 000 people in forestry and in its subcontracting network’s harvesting and transportation chain. – a pioneer in digital advertising was recognised as the newcomer of the year. The company provides tools for automating digital advertising and is the market leader in automated social media marketing implementation. Among the customers of this company, founded in 2013, are eBay, Uber and Walmart, and 99 per cent of its turnover come from outside Finland.

Anssi Rusi, Kristo Ovaska and Tuomo Riekki have worked on's internationalisation around the world with their company culture in mind. Now there are already 16 offices globally.

In the United States alone, around 28 billion dollars were spent on social media advertising in 2018*, and the annual growth rate of advertising budgets is a percentage of several dozens. At the moment, the environment provided by is used to automate video advertising production, optimisation of campaign efficiency and result testing for several billion dollars. With these tools, advertisers can automate many digital advertising processes from creating ads to distribution and testing. Machine learning enables to optimise both the efficiency of advertising and the content of ads.

“We have grown with our customers, listening to their wishes and developing technology that makes speedy digitalisation possible. The greatest bottleneck for our growth is hiring experienced coders who are very much in demand in Helsinki, where the product development takes place. Our fast-paced growth is also supported by a strong company culture and the automation of marketing, which is still only starting out for many advertisers”, says Kristo Ovaska, the founder and Managing Director of employs nearly 400 people, of whom about 200 work in Finland. The company has offices in 16 cities around the world, with employees of 40 different nationalities.

Cursor promotes long-term investments in Finland

The competition for international investments gets harder, and one of the requirements for success is patience in the long term. Cursor has worked on invest in resource allocation for years already. In the community category, it was now noted that Cursor has also achieved great success in keeping companies in its area and promoting significant additional investments to Finland. Google’s investments alone will reach 2 billion euros in Finland.

"The investments of global companies to the Kotka-Hamina region show that the long-term work to develop the region is yielding results, the challenges in industry caused by structural change have been conquered and people have trust in the region's future. We want to warmly thank all those in the region who have participated in making this development possible”, says David Lindström, who is the managing director of regional development company for Kotka-Hamina, Cursor Oy.

Staff of award-winning development company Cursor at Jokipuisto in Kotka.

Cursor is responsible for business counselling, services for start-up companies, companies operating in the region and companies moving to the Kotka-Hamina region, as well as development projects and business-based marketing. Cursor is owned by five municipalities in the region: Kotka, Hamina, Pyhtää, Virolahti and Miehikkälä together with industrial companies and financial institutions** in the area. The regional development company has also conducted successful cooperation outside its area with other regional bodies as well as the national body Invest in Finland.

*Source: eMarketer

**Saimaa Capital Oy, Stora Enso Oyj, DuPont Inc. (Danisco Sweeteners), Ahlström Capital Oy, Kymenlaakson Osuuspankki, Sampo Oyj and Steveco Oy

Further information:

Kari Komulainen, Director, Business Finland
+358 50 557 7842
[email protected]

Ilkka Kylävainio, Managing Director Keitele Forest
+358 40 037 5009
[email protected]

David Lindström, Managing Director of regional development company for Kotka-Hamina, Cursor
+358 40 190 2501
[email protected]

Riikka Söderlund, Head of Brand Marketing,

+358 50 5678 702
[email protected]

The Team Finland network promotes the success of Finland and Finnish companies in the world. The network supports the internationalisation of companies with publicly funded services, attracts investments to Finland and builds Finland’s image around the world. Learn more about Team Finland and its services: