Finnish business looks to licensing

Posted by Kelvyn Gardner on March 18, 2013

Right now I’m at Helsinki airport waiting to fly home after a few days in Finland’s capital. I was invited by the local arts management association (AGMA) to speak at the country’s very first licensing conference.  Well, for a first go they certainly made a good job of it. Taking place in Finlandia Hall, designed by one of Finland’s most famous architects and the leading congress venue in the city, AGMA attracted 150 plus delegates to the conference featuring speakers both local and international.

The star turn, of course, was Rovio’s COO, Harri Koponen, as Angry Birds has focused attention here on what licensing can add to a business in a way that nothing, or at least nothing since the advent of the Moomins, has done before.  As is usually the case at such seminars anywhere in the world, I find it refreshing to my own belief in the business to find a curious and committed audience who clearly want to know how licensing works  and how it can help their companies.

AGMA had attracted two government people, a minister and a special advisor, to be among the speakers. I was deeply jealous of this achievement, having dismally failed to sign up any UK government big-shots for LIMA events to date. The government men, like most presenters, spoke in Finnish, so I was unable to interpret most of their comments. It was explained to me afterwards by a local TV journalist who was conducting interviews with the conference speakers that it is a current initiative of the Finnish government to support and promote the Finnish ‘brand’ industry, in which licensing finds itself, of course.

The programme that the journalist was working on was, in fact, inspired by this policy. With Nokia no longer the all-conquering tech company it once was, it is somewhat cool to see Finnish officials looking to brands for new business opportunities. The delegates seemed well satisfied by their day, as all met for drinks for the last hour of the programme, and many contacts and ideas were shared. I also had many requests for copies of my presentation. As I was, as often, providing a general introduction to licensing and how it works, this was yet more evidence of the widespread need for this type of material. Well, LIMA is always happy to oblige and if we can play a part in the growth of licensing in Finland  we’ll be well rewarded.