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10

A
s Laurea University of Applied
Sciences became the coordinator of
the Active for Life Finland project, it
supplemented the 2014 plan with a
subproject, called Japan track. Laurea
University of Applied Sciences has had long-standing
cooperation with its Japanese partners on studying
and developing services for the aging populations of
Finland and Japan.
JAPAN TRACK AIMED TO FIND small and medium-
sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in the Japanese
markets, as well as to acquire feedback from Japanese
experts on their products. At the same time, the
project would help the SMEs build a partner network
with the Japanese. A workshop was held at the begin-
ning of March with the purpose of helping the enter-
prises choose and prepare for their Japan-related
operations. The choices focused on the concreteness
and clarity of the enterprises product and service
provision, as well as on their predicted attractiveness
to the Japanese operating environment.
In May 2014, representatives of FinnMedi Oy,
Jyvskyl Regional Development Company Jykes
Ltd and Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Active
for Life Finlands executive organizations, visited
Tokyo and Sendai in Japan. The one-week-plus visit
consisted of meetings with experts, interviews and
seminars with participants from Japanese businesses,
researchers, representatives of public health care,
as well as Finpro Japan, Finland Trade Center and
Finnish Wellbeing Center operating in Sendai.
The representatives of the Active for Life Finland
project presented in various meetings and events the
operations and products of three Finnish enterprises,
as well as the results from Art Breaks. Feedback was
direct, versatile, and surprisingly abundant. The
products of all the three enterprises generated lots
of comments and proposals for development.
JAPAN TRACK SHOWED that it is possible for an inter-
mediate company to successfully present
other companies wellbeing products
and services. Furthermore, it is
probably easier to give direct
and open feedback on products
and services to a third party;
thus an intermediate company
generates more information
for the companies than they
could gain acting on their own.
Active for Life Finland arranged
a Japan track feedback workshop for the
enterprises in June 2014. The enterprises appreci-
ated the constructive feedback gained from the
trip, as well as the positive comments and ideas for
improvement, and will utilize the feedback in their
development in the future.
Japan track guides to learning from Japan
11
Before we started partnering with Active
for Life Finland, we had scarce knowl-
edge of Japan. We found the country interesting,
but distant and diffcult to approach. The project
results far surpassed our expectations. Thanks to
the support, we now feel that we can manage the
process of entering the Japanese market.
The product we presented was Hoitavat
kortit

. Our cardsdesigned for self-care of the


brainhave pictures of Finnish nature on them.
They do not only have a therapeutic effect; they
also entice the viewer to visit Finland. We are
developing a wellness travel service that can be
combined with, for instance, the StopOver services
of Far Eastern airlines.
In Japan, our product received a stunningly
enthusiastic welcome. Now our cards are being
translated into Japanese and the pictures are
turned a bit more country-specifc. At the end
of 2014, Japanese guests will come and visit us
here in Finland, and at that time we will discuss
partnering prospects. We rest assured that the
support and networks of Laurea University of
Applied Sciences and Active for Life Finland will
get us to the runway.
RAIJA KIVIMETS
CEO
Saimatext Oy