Export activities of Central Baltic area companies in Southern Africa and Middle East

SAMK has been active in Interreg Central Baltic projects supporting companies in developing business activities outside EU markets. The SME Aisle project team has worked on export activities in Southern African countries in the fields of trade, maritime and logistics, renewable energy, automation, and ICT. One of the SME Aisle project members, Tiina Mäkitalo, has also worked in an export project IHMEC that was targeting Saudi Arabian construction markets with indoor hygiene solutions that aim to break the chain of infection with built environment. The aim of this text is to compare these two markets as both projects have been funded by the Central Baltic program.

When looking at the similarities between the two markets first, the entry is quite the same since both markets bring identical challenges: contacts and networking, business culture, and market information. Similarities and differences are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Review of the main similarities and differences between the two markets

Both the construction and the health care sectors are highly regulated, and the challenge for the IHMEC case was that providing the “Nordic solution” wasn’t sufficient, but it had to be adapted to local context in Saudi Arabia. The product must be more tailored based on the needs of the market and customers. To seek approval for the solution for instance, the IHMEC project targeted lead users and opinion leaders.

The second similarity is the importance of building trustworthy relationships. It imperatively begins by going into the country, experiencing the culture, and meeting people. In both situations, networking is the key to a successful entry and implementation. It is so important that it is almost impossible to establish a position without at least face-to-face communication.

To highlight the differences between the two areas: Finnish companies are perceived a bit differently from a country to another. In Southern African markets, it is seen as reliable, humble, and innovative. Finnish companies listen well and adapt their products well to the target market. They are usually seen as technologically advanced and having high standards. However, they are also perceived as bad marketers struggling to show the value proposition of the product (mainly based on practical aspects only).

The Saudi Arabian point of view is that Finland is a reliable and non-corrupted country known for its good PISA results, having advanced health care and being the happiest country in the world. Companies are seen as reliable, but maybe not so flexible compared to Saudi business culture where all business is personal. In addition, Finns are seen as less adaptive in Saudi Arabia. Saudis expect reactivity in business meaning that they would like partners to be in contact also outside the “business hours”. They also share business material via WhatsApp, which is not usual, or even not allowed in Finland.

The final variance is the purchasing power. Southern African countries (except South Africa) have a low purchasing power leading to a preference for B2B and B2G. Yet, Saudi Arabia is a very rich country with possibilities to purchase the best technologies. They favour American solutions and utilise those as standards. For Finnish solutions, the challenge is to convince the demanding customer about the novelty, high quality, and why it is “better than the American ones”.

All in all, both of the markets have high potential for business. Long term commitment from companies is needed for success.

Text: Arthur Dessenius, Tiina Mäkitalo, Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola

Photo: Pixabay: TheDigitalArtist

Final events of the CBSmallPorts project in Riga, Latvia

The CBSmallPorts project, focused on developing small ports in the Central Baltic area, started just as the pandemic hit the world in 2020. COVID restrictions prevented face-to-face meetings from happening and therefore project partners from different countries were only able to meet in online meetings and workshops. Luckily, during the last few months of the project, the CBSmallPorts partners, including SAMK team, could have a few face-to-face workshops and participate in a few events and fairs. At last, the final conference and final partner meeting were held in in Riga, Latvia in August 2022 for the entire project partnership.

Travel to Riga, 24.08.2022

The SAMK team took an approximately one-hour flight from Helsinki to Riga in the afternoon on 24 August. When we arrived at the airport in Riga, we took taxis to our hotel Wellton Riverside Spa Hotel located in the city center. After a short rest we had a walk in the old town of Riga which was very close to the hotel.

View from the airplane in Helsinki, Finland.

The old town of Riga had a wonderful atmosphere with historical buildings. Most of us in the team were taking beautiful photos of the streets and buildings even though a few of us had already visited the place some years back. Our walk in the old town, which lasted for a few hours, ended with a great dinner. The it was time to head back to the hotel to rest and to prepare for the conference on the day after.

CBSmallPorts final conference, 25.08.2022

The venue for the final conference room was located on the top (8th) floor of the same hotel we stayed at. After having a good breakfast, we met our partners in the conference room at around 9:30 AM to have a coffee and start the conference at 10 AM.

It was very exciting to finally being able to meet the partners from Sweden, Latvia, and Estonia after having mostly online meetings for over two years. That reminded us how important it is to meet the coworkers or partners in person and how the work can proceed when meeting people face-to-face.

Final conference in Wellton Riverside SPA Hotel’s conference room in Riga, Latvia.

During the final conference, the presentations covered topics such as small port development, energy efficiency for boaters and small ports, and development of networks and cooperation. The small ports are part of the tourism industry – they are essential in providing services to boaters and other users. It was mentioned that one euro spent in the small port leads to four euros spent in other services. The CBSmallPorts project results were presented by SAMK’s Minna Keinänen-Toivola. Minna introduced one of the key results of the CBSmallPorts project, an online platform called Baltic Small Ports. In addition, as August 25 happened to be the annual Baltic Sea Day, it was a great opportunity to celebrate the Baltic Sea at the conference, as well.

Minna Keinänen-Toivola presenting CBSmallPorts project results.

The last partner meeting with a tour in small ports and old Riga, 26.08.2022

On Friday morning, SAMK team and project partners gathered in the meeting room for the last partner meeting of the project. It was time to sum up the results and have final discussions. Jussi Sutela from XAMK, one of the project partner organizations, attended the meeting online. At last, we took a group photo and ended the meeting with a wish to work with the same partners in future projects.

CBSmallPorts project partners’ group photo.

After the meeting, we took a bus to visit three small ports in Riga and to have a one-hour guided tour in the old town of Riga. We had the chance to hear the history and stories behind the old buildings. Riga and Latvia in general, have an interesting history and hearing them while visiting the place and taking photos, is a great experience.

Latvian small ports have had several investments made with EU-funding.
Guided sightseeing in the Old Town of Riga.

Finally, after a lunch in a restaurant with a beautiful view it was time to head to the airport and return to Finland. Overall, it was an amazing trip with the company of nice people, in a beautiful city with a wonderful atmosphere.

Text: Sina Khabbazi and Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola
Photos: Sina Khabbazi and Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola

Tourism students’ experiences from an international camp week in Finland

We participated in an international course that ended with an intensive week in Merikarvia in May 2022. During the week, we worked with local companies to improve their digital opportunities.

Our commissioner was Merry Camping, which is located in Merikarvia on the island of Brando. It is located 3 km from the center of Merikarvia and offers various types of accommodation such as camping, motorhome and guests can even stay with their motorhome or a caravan. It has a variety of activities to offer such as pedal boats, rowing boats, SUP boards, kayaks, rackets and balls for mini-golf, and an electric and wooden sauna. When we went there, the representative for the place named Anu showed us around the place. She showed us most of the cabins and amenities that they have. When we asked her about what she expected us to work on, she told us to focus on the cabanas that were not selling much and she said to work on them precisely. I think that made our work easier as we knew what we were going for.

We started the project by learning about and visiting the commissioners in their locations. We had a tour around the Merry Camping area and we saw the different cottages and accommodation services and possibilities. After the tour, Anu specified the task to be about the new Cabana cabins with fewer spent nights than expected. We started creating ideas of how we should start working  to improve their social media. We looked through their Facebook and noticed that they have good quality photos and a well-informed Facebook page. The only thing we noticed that was missing was the street address to the location. Their website was in a developing phase, so we did not really focus on that. With their Instagram, we had much more ideas to develop it and that is where we put the most of our effort as well. With Instagram, we created the posts and stories and also a video to add to the reels. Our group also came up with the idea to improve the Instagram bio and another little bit more technical stuff for the Instagram account. We went to visit Merry Camping to get the photos and film the video. The weather was perfect for the “summer is coming” theme that we had set for this post since the Cabanas are more for summertime use. We did get our work done pretty efficiently and on time for each day to also have enough time to enjoy the fun and relax.

On the last day of the intensive week we had the presentation. In our opinion, we presented it well and got nice feedback. In the end, the process was fun and we really enjoyed working on it.

This project was a good opportunity to develop teamwork skills, meet new people and work with real companies. We were divided into mixed groups so it was interesting to work together with different nationalities. Our group members were Helena from Finland, Silvia from Estonia, and Kashish from India.

Merry Camping is a cool place with many possibilities and things to do. Their webpage has  all of the information needed with great pictures, but we saw awesome opportunities in creating content for their Instagram.

In our project, we also faced some challenges. The most difficult challenge was that we did not get to meet our commissioner personally. We had Anu, who works for them to show us around and tell us the tasks they wanted us to focus on. We had quite free hands to be  creative, but we still missed the commissioner’s own point of view. The other challenge that affected our work was the fact that all the activities for summer were not prepared yet. We did not have access to the summer activities such as minigolf, sup- boards, pedal boats, etc. There were also some scheduling issues so, in the end, we were unable to use or take photos or videos about the activities while in use.

Text: Silvia Pertens, TalTech University & Kashish Gosain, SAMK & Helena Larilahti Lapland UAS

Images: Silvia Pertens and Helena Larilahti

The SME Aisle project provided an inspiring internship for Arthur Dessenius

The SME Aisle project, funded by the Interreg Central Baltic and coordinated by the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, was launched in 2018 to support the SMEs of the Finnish, Swedish, Estonian and Latvian maritime clusters in accessing Namibia as a gateway to the Southern African region. The project carried out a number of export promotion trips, researched the target countries’ business opportunities and sought solutions to support SME trade in the Southern African markets. The project ended in May 2022. Student Arthur Dessenius from Belgium worked with the project for over three months as an intern.

“I was seeking an internship for the end of my bachelor’s degree, and my school, SAMK, offered me to join the SME Aisle project. After being introduced to the project, I was highly motivated by this great offer. I discovered an organisation that was willing to do its best to reach its objectives. The project had big ambitions and a true desire to help developing the business between Finland and Southern African countries like Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa. How could someone deny such opportunity?

My supervisors entrusted me with the task of studying the market entry process in Southern African countries, especially Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa. The study began with some desk research to become familiar with the topic. Then came the interviews of both case companies and supportive institutions. Case companies were interviewed to share their experience with other companies that would like to enter those markets. Supportive institutions were studied to provide a summary of all the help available for a market entry in Southern Africa.

Now that my journey reaches its end, I can say that the best asset of the SME Aisle project is its team. Each person that I met had a rich background and a lot of information to share. Their knowledge is obviously the result of a strong involvement in the project. There is also a caring atmosphere in the SME Aisle project. The people I got to work with always considered my wellbeing, which makes the work even more enjoyable. At the end, it was a real pleasure to spend the last months of the project there, and I am very grateful to be accepted on board.”


International Business student Arthur Dessenius from Belgium worked with the project for over three months as an intern.

Text: Nina Savela and Arthur Dessenius

Photos: Hanna Kajander and Arthur Dessenius

Get-together event for exchange students: An opportunity to experience Finnish traditions

New year and new opportunities for students 

In the early 2022, as restrictions due to the pandemic started to decrease gradually, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) welcomed many new degree and exchange students from all around the world. Some students traveled to Finland already in autumn 2021 and some in the beginning of 2022. 

Get-together event on April 6 

The International Office at SAMK offers many different events and activities for students. One of these events was a get-together event organized for exchange students in Silokallio on April 6, with the purpose of introducing Finland and Finnish traditions to foreign students, as well as helping students to get to know each other. 

The participants were mostly exchange students studying on either Pori or Rauma campus, some were studying at other universities also. Members of Soteekki (SAMK’s service center of social and health care) and some student ambassadors also took part in the event. During the event, they produced content for SAMK social media channels and helped students in various activities.  

The students were taken to Silokallio by bus. At first students had a morning chat with each other over coffee.  

The event included a lot of activities, and since it was held close to Easter, it included many traditional Finnish Easter activities as well, in order to introduce the Finnish way of celebrating Easter to international students. 

At first, there was a presentation that introduced Finland and Finnish culture to students. After the presentation, there was a workshop of making Virpomisvitsat which is the activity of making handcrafts using willow twigs and decorating them with feathers and ribbons in different colors. These are usually prepared one week before Easter in Finland. After having the fun activity of finding hidden Easter chocolate eggs, the students had their lunch break.  

After the lunch break, students went to the sauna and jumped to the frozen lake – a popular winter activity in Finland. They also tried Mämmi, a sweet traditional Finnish desert which is usually eaten with cream during Easter. 

Students played many different games as well, including Tug of war. Then, they prepared a fire and grilled sausages and marshmallows provided by the International Office. 

All in all, the get-together event was a fun event. It helped students to get more familiar with Finnish traditions and activities as well as to get to know each other better in a positive atmosphere. These types of events organized by the International Office provide exchange students with very nice and fun experiences during their studying period in Finland. 

Text: Sina Khabbazi 

Photos: Sina Khabbazi 

How traineeship experience in CBSmallPorts project changed my view of my future career and plans

Practical training (PT) can be a really great experience for any student who is interested in getting to know the working environment and get more familiar with it before graduating and starting to work in a job related to his/her major of study and also It can strongly affect the students’ future careers. In my case, it worked exactly as planned and totally changed my view of my future plans.

How it began

I am a third-year student, studying International Tourism Development in Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK). As I proceeded in my studies during the second year, as a part of my studies I needed to work and start doing a practical training for approximately 5 months or 750 hours of work which is usually during the summer and partly in spring. So, I started to look for a training place so that I can find a job which I am interested in and is related to my studies.

In early spring 2021 I got to know Alberto Lanzanova and Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola from the CBSmallPorts project thanks to Heini Korvenkangas for her help. I contacted Alberto, we had a meeting with SAMK team who are working in the project, and we made an agreement. This was the beginning of a really good experience of traineeship. I worked in CBSmallPorts project as my PT, and it was a totally new experience to me which helped me gaining new skills and helped me in planning my future career.

Working in CBSmallPorts project

CBSmallPorts project focuses on energy efficient investments in the small ports of the Central Baltic area and overall, 10 partners work in this project including SAMK as the project leader and the partners are from different Baltic countries.

The project plans and makes environmentally friendly and energy efficient investments in the small ports as well as marketing those places by participating in different fairs, events and workshops. Also, CBSmallPorts introduces the small ports and the offered services using their social media and by publishing different informative reports and blog posts.

As a trainee I worked in the marketing team of the project for a few months and my tasks were in general, marketing and communication. I wrote a few blog posts which are published in this blog, managed CBSmallPorts social media, designed the layouts of project’s reports, designed and made a basic online platform, etc.

During my working period, all our SAMK internal meetings and all the partner meeting were held online due to the pandemic except a few internal face-to-face meetings which were held in Pori campus. Even though, the meetings were held online, the project proceeded perfectly and except a few inevitable challenges, everything went as planned.

What I learned

Before doing my traineeship, I had no idea what my interest is and what I am going to do after graduation or even what type of job and in what categories I need to look for! But working in the CBSmallPorts team in SAMK and doing marketing and communication related tasks helped me to enter the world of marketing work. I noticed how interested I am in marketing after doing this PT and working in the great environment of SAMK and CBSmallPorts project.

During my training I learned using new software such as Adobe InDesign. I wrote blog posts which are a really good way of marketing and helps the project to be known by more people who are interested. In addition, working on social media pages has the purpose with even more influence. All in all, this experience made my future and my plans clearer to me which would certainly help me to get closer to success and what I am looking to achieve. This experience is a proof of the importance of practical training for students and their future careers.

Text: Sina Khabbazi, Alberto Lanzanova, Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola

Photo: Bogdan Enacica, Jussi Sutela

Business travelling in Germany: European-wide cooperation on weather extremes

The coronavirus pandemic stopped business travelling in international projects for over one and half years. In international projects, the face-to-face meetings and events are critical in ensuring work progress in good cooperation.

My first international business trip during the COVID-19 times headed to the COST DAMOCLES Annual Assembly, in Leipzig, Germany. In COST DAMOCLES, European researchers cooperate in the field of compound events of weather extremes with the aim of minimizing the risks of these events (https://damocles.compoundevents.org/). The trip, the DAMOCLES meeting and Leipzig as a city, turned out to be colourful.

Long way to Leipzig

DAMOCLES Chair of the Action Jakob Zscheischler asked the core group members around midsummer 2021, if we had the willingness and the possibility to participate a face-to-face meeting in Leipzig in later in the autumn. I answered, “yes, if needed”. At the end of August, I received a confirmation that the DAMOCLES meetings will be organized during the last week of October 2021. Before making practical travel arrangements, I had to ask for a risk assessment and travelling permit from SAMK. Luckily, the COVID-19 situation was ok in Germany, so I got the permission to do travel arrangements, with a cancellation option, of course.

Minna Keinänen-Toivola poseeraa läihkuvssa suojamaski naamalla.

Due to the long pause in travelling, I needed to start with the basics – how is business travelling done actually…? I must arrange travelling to and from the airport in Finland, flights, hotel(s), and local travelling at the destination. The travel arrangements, which have been simple things earlier, needed a lot of extra thinking. Luckily, the COVID-19 vaccination passport was launched in Finland perfectly 1.5 weeks before my trip.

Travelling to Leipzig was not the easiest process, as the connections were not the smoothest. I had to travel to the airport hotel in Helsinki-Vantaa already on Saturday, as there was no Sunday morning connection to reach my flight at 1 pm. I had to fill in an electronic COVID-19 vaccination form and a vaccination passport to the airline company before I was able to do the check-in for my flight. In the plane, masks were obligatory, as well as at the airports in Germany. Travelling went smoothly, and when I got up from the escalator at the Leipzig main train station, I already saw the lights of my hotel.

Meeting face-to-face

The Satakunta University of Applied Sciences joined COST DAMOCLES with the Baltic Sea Region flood control project “NOAH” (BSR NOAH: https://sub.samk.fi/noah/). The key theme from the very beginning has been the engagement of stakeholders. In DAMOCLES, there is a work package on the topic, WG2 stakeholder communication and involvement. The leader of WG2 changed in 2021, and I started to lead the work. The Leipzig meeting was the first in my new position.

Recently, matters in the work group WG2 have been handled and discussed in emails and online meetings. The meetings in Leipzig started on Monday with a core group discussion on: ”What is the current project status?”. The DAMOCLES Annual Assembly was held on Tuesday and Wednesday with about 50 participants. The Annual Assembly consisted of several presentations, tasks related to work packages, discussion on upcoming funding possibilities and planning of the project’s last activities and responsibilities.

Ihmisiä istuu pöydän ympärillä kokoustamassa.
Kuusi ihmistä istuu kokoustamassa pöydän ympärillä.
Yleiskuva konferenssista. Ihmiset istuvat pöytien äärellä. Taustalla PowePointesitys.
The meetings were not just about scientific success cases and planning, but also about meeting people face to face. We had a lot of discussion on COVID-19, how students have been handling the situation, how long each expert has done distance work, what is the vaccination situation and how people are reacting to the pandemic. A lively discussion fulfilled the coffee, lunch and dinner breaks. I got to enjoy a vegan lunch twice during the meetings.

Culture in a colourful city

Business travelling is work from morning to evening: first you travel to the meeting venue, then you have a full day meeting, then you take your computer to the hotel and find the official dinner restaurant to eat the dinner during while it is nearly bedtime in Finland. Luckily, the meeting dinner in Leipzig was a cultural experience. It was in the Auerbachs Keller restaurant, which was Goethe’s favourite bar in 1765-1768.

I had some time to explore the city on my way to the meeting venue, and had also about five hours free time during my trip. I did a two-hour visit to the Leipzig Zoo on Monday in sunny weather. The most interesting place was a huge dome, which had tropical climate and various plants. On Wednesday, before leaving to the airport hotel in Leipzig, I visited Johan Sebastian Bach’s workplace, the St. Thomas church (Thomaskirche). The church is home of the St. Thomas choir (Thomanerchor), which has started operations in year 1212. I also visited the famous art museum Museum der bildenden Künste, which has master pieces from many centuries, but also a few contemporary art pieces.

Kasvihuoneessa erilaisia viherkasveja.
Johan Sebastian Bachin patsas ja taustalla museo.
Edessä tooga-asuinen naispatsas taustalla fesko, jossa kuvattuna ihmisiä maan päällä ja helvetti maan alla.

The sun was rising as my flight from Leipzig to Munich was landing on Thursday morning. My thoughts were on the song ”The world is beautiful”, versioned by the Rauma-origin baritone Aarne Peltonen and pianist Iiro Rantalainen. The lyrics say ”The World is beautiful and a good place to live for a person who has time and space for dreams and freedom of mind”. The COVID-19 situation is not over globally, but in that moment, I saw a ray of hope on the recovery of international cooperation during these uncertain times.

Kuva pilvien yläpuolelta. Alla pilviä taustalla horisontti.

Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola, Faculty of Logistics and Maritime Technology, Maritime Logistics Research Center

CBSmallports project: energy efficient investments in the small ports of the Central Baltic region

Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) has worked on various projects in the Baltic Sea region in order to make this area more climate friendly and also to make boating and sailing more eco-friendly.

SAMK is leading CBSmallPorts project at the moment, with the intention of focusing on energy efficiency of the small ports of Central Baltic (CB) area. This project is making new energy efficiency investments in the small ports of Finland (including Åland), Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. Altogether, CBSmallPorts project has been making investments in 15 small ports in Finland, Sweden and Estonia.

The project’s investments have been divided into 6 periods starting from March 2020 and it is scheduled to be done until November 2022 which is the final reporting deadline of the project.

New installed concrete pontoon guest pier in Airisto Marina. Teemu Heikkinen.

CBSmallPorts approach to energy efficiency

CBSmallPorts is making investments in the small ports of the Central Baltic Sea region to improve energy supply to be used efficiently by boaters and small ports owners and it aims to improve energy efficiency by using green technologies which lead to less CO2 emissions.

One of the main fixed costs of the small ports is electricity. Therefore, managing the efficient use of electricity has been the CBSmallPorts project’s center of focus. In order to approach energy efficiency management, the project has done many climate-friendly investments to produce eco-friendly energy such as installing solar panels and to save energy by making different investments such as installing LED lightings in the small ports and there are many environmentally friendly investments still ongoing.

What investments have been done?

Generally, there has been a variety of energy efficiency investments in different small ports in the CB area depending on the ports’ atmosphere and their needs.

Making new piers in some small ports including Dirhami located in Estonia, is a part of CBSmallPorts investments. The idea is that by installing solar panels in the mentioned port, a part of the needed electricity used in the piers will be provided in more energy efficient and sustainable ways.

As it is mentioned, to improve energy efficiency and save energy, the project has provided some small ports with LED light stands, solar light systems, cost effective lighting and smart lighting. Also, the installation process is still ongoing in other small ports which need the mentioned investments.

CBSmallPorts has made major renovations in a few small ports including renovations of two saunas in Seili small port located in municipality of Pargas, Finland. The project’s team has replaced the old wood burning stoves with new and more energy efficient electric ones and one of the saunas has received major renovation where also the walls and the floors were renovated in order to decrease the energy losses. Also, the wastewater of the sauna is now treated in proper wastewater purification plant.

Renovated sauna in Seili small port. Teemu Heikkinen.

To mention the main investments made by CBSmallPorts project in different small ports which are either completely done or they will be completed during the project, LED light stands have been installed in Lennusadam, Estonia, a wind generator in Lõunaranna small port, Estonia, new heat pump based heating system in Kalev yacht club small port, Estonia ongoing installation of solar panels in Roograhu, Estonia, ongoing installation of smart lighting for harbor facilities in Kärdla, Orjaku and Sõru Marinas located in Estonia, walking decks at piers (iron frames / wooden deck maintenance, recast surface of one pier) in Bläse Kalkbruk small port, Sweden, solar energy and lighting as well as water system in Klacksörarna, Sweden, modernized power line and transferred line from air to the underground and to sea bottom across a bay in Keihässalmi small port, Finland, installation of piers and ongoing installation of solar panels in Airisto Marina, Finland, solar power plant and LED lighting services in Sapokka, Kotka, Finland and guest harbor area LED lighting in Tervasaari, Finland.

Part of the renewed walking decks in Bläse Kalkbruk. Leif Ortman.
Service stands installed in Lennusadam, Estonia. Lauri Väinsalu.

Overall, as a summary of what small ports CBSmallPorts project has been working on, the project is investing in 15 different small ports which some of the investments are still ongoing. The small ports are:

• Seili located in Turku, Finland. The investments are complete.
• Airisto located in Turku, Finland. The investments are ongoing.
• Sapokka, Keihässalmi and Tervasaari, all located in South-Eastern Finland. The investments are ongoing.
• Bläse Kalkbruk located in Gotland, Sweden. The investments are complete.
• Klacksörarna located in Söderhamn, Sweden. The investments are ongoing.
• Dirhami, Lennusadam, Lounaranna, Roograhu, Kalev all located in Estonia. The investments are ongoing.
• Kärdla, Orjaku and Soru, all located in Hiiumaa, Estonia. The investments are ongoing.

New ways of cooperating during the pandemic

CBSmallPorts’ project partners were supposed to share their knowledge and experiences during the process of energy efficiency investments and marketing. They had planned to involve each other in planning, decision makings, investments, installations and basically the whole process.

Due to the Covid-19 and the restrictions, this idea was not realized, and the partners were not able to have enough physical meetings and interactions. Also, it caused some delays in component deliveries of e.g., semiconductor components that are used in PV systems i.e., in solar panels. So, the team had to adapt to the new ways of cooperation to advance the investments of the project.

All partners in CBSmallPorts did their best in using online tools to communicate and advance the project and investments. In order to develop the project, they used new ways and gained new skills and experiences which will be useful in the future.

Report on investments

To have a better picture of the investments of the project, CBSmallPorts team has gathered the detail of all the investments and practical works done implementing them to a separate document which will be published during the autumn 2021. The document will be a report on practical work done within investing small ports and best practices for energy efficiency for small ports with investments (technical specifications, tendering, new technologies to use). Through the report, port developers can get a good idea of what kind of investments were done in different small ports, how the procedures went and what were the costs. The report will also present some lessons learned during the investment process.

Text: Sina Khabbazi, Teemu Heikkinen, Hanna Rissanen, Alberto Lanzanova

Green sailing in the Baltic Sea ─
The environmental-friendly collaboration of the CBSmallPorts project and S/Y Fuga

Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) has been taking environmentally friendly actions in the Central Baltic region by leading several national and international projects over the past few years.

CBSmallPorts is an international project started in June 2020 and led by SAMK with the focus on energy efficiency in the small ports of Central Baltic region as well as marketing activities. The project works on improving energy supply and its efficient use by boaters and small port users in the CB area.

In May 2021, CBSmallPorts started a social media campaign, collaborating with Sailing Fuga. Within this campaign, Sailing Fuga had a sailing trip to the small ports around the Baltic Sea region including selected small ports located in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden which was split in two parts. In general, the objective of this campaign was to raise awareness on the Central Baltic Sea, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly sailing as well as spreading a survey about energy efficiency of the small ports.

Teemu Heikkinen from CBSmallPorts team meeting with Pellervo Kunnaala from Sailing Fuga

Sailing Fuga collaboration

Sailing Fuga based in Rauma, aims to raise awareness on the Baltic Sea and show a different way of sailing. Sailing Fuga’s team had participated in different projects using environmentally friendly equipment and new sustainable technologies to make sailing safer and eco-friendlier.

In this collaboration project, Sailing Fuga’s main goal was to promote the small ports of CB area by exploring this region and taking pictures and videos for the social media campaign (Facebook, Instagram and YouTube) while sailing with energy efficient equipment to show a different way of sailing. Also, they had a live stream of their sailing adventure on their YouTube channel during the whole journey which gave them the possibility to show their route, share their thoughts on the journey, and to show how to tie the knots, etc.

During the trip, both Sailing Fuga and CBSmalPorts team shared the sailing adventure by posting pictures and videos of CB area and small ports on social media through the whole journey.

Sailing Fuga in Rauma preparing for the journey

The other goal of this collaboration was for Sailing Fuga to spread information about a survey regarding energy efficient services for boaters and small ports owners as well as energy efficient investments in the small ports.

Basically, Sailing Fuga distributed the survey which is still ongoing, and the team also handed out business cards about the project to the small ports’ owners during the journey. The business cards included a description of the project and a link to the survey.

The CBSmallPorts team is collecting data from the small ports and after analyzing the survey the results will be published in a report during the autumn 2022.

Equipment and sponsors

Sailing Fuga had a lot of energy efficient equipment onboard. They had two separate solar power systems including 240Wp panel as well as two 280Wp panels installed for the expedition, so 800Wp solar power in total. They equipped their boat with a UP400 hydrogen generator backup power source and their main engine was the final backup for all the electrical equipment onboard. At last, they equipped the boat with a 700Ah battery bank which was powered by the power generating equipment.

They installed a measuring device powered by Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) in order to measure air and the sea’s temperature 24/7 and to automatically send the data based on their locations to FMI.

Overall, Sailing Fuga was provided with a variety of equipment from different energy supplier companies as sponsors. These companies provided Sailing Fuga’s team with the hydrogen generator backup power source, solar panel, battery bank and other environmentally friendly equipment which made their journey eco-friendlier.

Mikko Puolitaival (front) and Pellervo Kunnaala (back, Captain) from Sailing Fuga’s team

The trip

After planning the route and installing the energy efficient equipment onboard, Sailing Fuga started exploring Baltic Sea and the small ports. Sailing Fuga had a two-part sailing trip to the small ports of the CB area. Within each trip, they explored different small ports of the region and returned to Rauma.

Sailing Fuga, sailing from Hanko to Barösund

The first part of the journey was during May 2021 starting from one of the small ports of Rauma. During this trip, Sailing Fuga explored throughout the coast of Southern Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Bornholm (Denmark), Southern Sweden and Åland Islands.

The second part was during the first half of August 2021. During the second trip, they explored the northern parts of the Baltic Sea. As the last destination of the trip, Sailing Fuga visited the small port of Gävle in Sweden and they familiarized with the port and the energy efficient investments which some of them had been made through PortMate project (another Central Baltic project before CBSmallPorts). After visiting Gävle, Sailing Fuga returned to Rauma across the southern part of the Gulf of Bothnia.

Within the exploration of the Central Baltic Sea, Sailing Fuga had to make changes to their plans due to the Covid-19. While visiting small ports of Sweden and Denmark, they were not allowed to get off the boat and get to the shores, so they had to end up rushing and return to Rauma earlier. Also, they had planned to visit southernmost part of the Baltic Sea and sail coasts of Poland and Germany as well but, due to the Covid-19 and restrictions they had to change the plan and skip this part entirely.

Sailing Fuga experience

Overall, the Sailing Fuga experience was a great cooperation and a great opportunity for both Sailing Fuga and CBSmallPorts project to promote small ports of the CB area and improve the marketing of the ports as well as gaining more knowledge about the energy supplies and energy efficiency investments in this region.

For more information:

CBSmallPorts project website

S/Y Fuga website

Authors: Sina Khabbazi, Hanna Rissanen, Teemu Heikkinen, Alberto Lanzanova

Pictures: S/Y Fuga

Strength lies in cooperation – the first Central Baltic ChangeMakers Bootcamp was held online in four countries

The project ChangeMakers aims to enhance sustainable development, cross-border collaboration, circular economy and entrepreneurship skills among 15- to 17-year-old students. Students from Finland (incl. Åland), Sweden, Estonia and Latvia will participate in solving real-life environmental challenges provided by the business sector.

The first ChangeMakers Bootcamp was organized as a two-day online event on the 26.–27th October in Finland (incl. Åland), Sweden, Latvia and Estonia due to Covid-19 pandemic. Over 120 participants, teachers, students of upper secondary and vocational schools, project partners and company representatives participated in the event. The moderators of the organizing partner Riga Technical University ensured that the students had both fun and a meaningful learning experience.

Two people talking at a video conference with laptops.
The Bootcamp hosts Pauls Irbins and Līga Lībiete ensured that the students learned about innovating, teamwork and entrepreneurship in a meaningful way.

During the two-day event, the participants learned about cross-border communication and teambuilding. Moreover, they were introduced to 14 sustainability challenges, which had been planned in the project in cooperation with local companies and organizations.

The students were activated by using several online tools such as online voting applications, online platforms and team meeting rooms.

Group of people posing to the camera.
Salacgriva Secondary School students in Latvia were ready for the Bootcamp day number 2.
Youngsters working with their laptops.
Students concentrating on their assignments in Eurajoki high school, Finland.

As a result, 27 international mini start-ups were established. The mini start-ups will come up with business solutions to the environmental challenges as a part of their studies in the ChangeMakers study module.

The organizer and project partner Riga Technical University representatives Arta Pastora and Adele Sāmite recall that “ChangeMakers Riga Bootcamp was the first opportunity for the students involved in the project to meet each other before they start working together. Due to the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic it seemed a little bit sad that they could not meet in person, but we think we did the best we could to make this first meeting experience as close to “face to face” communication as it could have been”.

The participants were impressed by the smoothness of the Bootcamp despite of an online environment. Based on the discussions in local venues, the students of the mini start-ups were looking forward to meeting students from other countries, enhancing their language and communication skills and learning about entrepreneurship.

Two youngsters playing rock paper scissors game.
Rock paper scissors -game played at Värmdö Gymnasium in Sweden.

Project worker Katri Moisio from the University of Turku, the lead partner of the project, states that “Events, such as the Bootcamp are essential when building an international student mini company, as they give the students a chance to meet their international colleagues in an environment that emphasizes creativity and entrepreneurial thinking and ensures a safe and motivational start for future collaboration.”

Even though ideally such events happen face to face, ensuring encounters that leave a mark on each student, therefore also boosting the feeling of community and teamwork, the students performed very well in a digital environment.

“ChangeMakers students already showed that they can think outside the box and successfully start building team spirit, even though the encounters between students were digital. The online BootCamp turned out to be a real success and the student interaction and involvement were greater than any of us could have expected”.

The ChangeMakers project (2020 – 2022) is a Central Baltic Interreg funded project. In addition to the lead partner University of Turku, the project partners include Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK), Tallinn University of Technology (Taltech), Stockholm University, Riga Technical University and Åland’s vocational high school.

More about the project: https://sites.utu.fi/changemakers/

Group of people posing to the camera.
Students from Åland’s vocational high school posing with the ChangeMakers roll-up.
Two youngsters posing with a cloth bag.
All the students also received a tote bag to help them with their ChangeMakers studies.
Two youngsters posing with laptops.
The students were particularly happy in communicating with their international peers during the Bootcamp. Here are students from Tallinn University of Technology (Taltech), Estonia.

Text: Nina Savela
Pictures: Minna Keinänen-Toivola, Laura Ende, Navid Ghajarnia, Jana Lemberg, Arta Pastora, Katrin Kaur