Page 4 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- March 2020
P. 4

 Michigan: A Welcoming Location Offering New Opportunities For Business With Finland
Island Resort & Casino To Expand
  HOUGHTON, MI – Feb 3, 2020 – FinnZone, a soft landing and commercialization launchpad helping Finnish companies locate in Michigan and access U.S. markets is pleased to announce a Finnish delegation visit to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan, attendance at a Finnish delegation in Southeast Michigan, the launch of a pilot project with a Finnish startup and the exploration of a new investment fund aimed at supporting Finnish companies in Michigan.
In late spring or early summer of this year, FinnZone will be hosting a delegation in the U.P. of up to seven small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from Finland, in association with JAMK Institute of Bioeconomy and sponsored by Business Finland.
The companies repre-
sent sectors such as
med-tech, mobility,
and advanced wood
products. Finnish partners Marko Luoma of XPort and Markku Paananen of JAMK have helped lead this opportunity from Finland. Some of these companies plan to evaluate the opportunity to establish a presence in the Houghton-HancockregionoftheU.P.,while others are seeking to explore partnerships and distribution channels as a means of accessing the U.S. markets.
Additionally, Michigan Economic Develop- ment Corporation (MEDC) will be hosting a delegation visit by Finland to Southeast Michi- gan March 4-6 to explore initial areas of coop- eration in batteries, smart mobility, and mar- itime sectors. The Finnish delegation will be led by Mr. Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs and Team Finland, with participation of government leaders, academic researchers and industry. From the U.P., FinnZone, Michigan Technological University and Jim Kurtti, Hon- orary Consul of Finland have also been invited and will join the event.
Finnish-Americans, similar climates, forest resources, complementary industry and tech sectors, and environmental priorities that it just makes sense. The U.P. has always been connect- ed with Finland through our shared heritage and values, but now that relationship is deepening and even expanding across the entire State of Michigan,” says Patrick Visser, founder and co- director of FinnZone, whose mother is of Finnishdescent.
FinnZone recently acquired a new client, Mesensei– a Finnish-based software company, led by Tuukka Ylälahti, CEO. FinnZone will help with a pilot project in the U.P, the first for Mesensei in the U.S. for its new “Community Design” technology product, which looks into
how a community should be structured to increase the value of participation for its members and the impact of the community as a whole.
Finally, FinnZone and Michigan Capital Net- work are exploring the possibility of a $10 mil- lion (U.S.) investment fund to invest in U.P. technology companies and Finnish SME’s will- ing to establish a subsidiary in Michigan. Invest- mentsinFinnishcompanieswouldfocusonthe ‘Series A’ capital needed to expand into the U.S. “This is what the Finns have told us they need, and if a fund were combined with FinnZone commercialization services, it would make the U.P.andotherareasofMichiganveryattractive. We are also looking at regulations to see if the fund could include investors from Finland, which is preferable” says Visser.
Overall, 2020 is expected to be an exciting year for Finland and Michigan collaborations. “We can only imagine the opportunities that will develop from all of these activities”, says Visser and FinnZone co-director, Kevin Manninen who worked in Jyväskylä, Finland for fifteen years before returning to the U.P.
HANNAHVILLE — The Hannahville Indi- an Community Tribal Council has approved a $30 million expansion of the Island Resort and Casino to include over 100 hotel rooms.
The addition will be connected to the south end of the current 11 story Palm Tower complete with three guest elevators and a lobby.
A high end dining venue, as well as conven- tion space are planned
for the top floor. The
expansion also includes a
pool with water park fea-
tures for kids and young adults under 18.
Bids were taken by the Island Resort manage- ment. Wisconsin firm Quintus 3D will lead the architectural and engineering aspects of the proj- ect. The firm designed the Drift Spa, new hotel lobby and retail space at the Island Resort & Casino and also works with many Indian tribes across the country. Iron Mountain firm Gund- lach Champion was chosen to oversee the con- struction management of the project. Gundlach Champion built the Island hotel’s Sun Tower and 1998 expansion of the casino along with the water plant and numerous other Hannahville Indian Community projects.
Engineering, design and bidding will be ongoing through spring of this year. Construc- tion is scheduled to begin in June with expected completion during the 2021 calendar year.
The resort currently features over 300 guest rooms including suites and a 42-site RV Park. The 408,520 square foot casino offers slots, a poker room, craps, blackjack, Spanish 21, three
card poker, let-it-ride, roulette and bingo.
The resort also includes the Drift Spa with access to the resort’s saltwater pool, steam rooms and sauna. Dining options include the 5 Bridges Steak and Seafood House, 5 Bridges Pub, Fire- keeper’s Restaurant, T.McC’s Sports Bar, Coral Reef Grille, Signature Subs & Pizza, The Coffee & Bakery Shop, as well as The Custard Shop. The Island has headline entertainment in its 1,315 seat showroom, as well as weekly bands
and comedy entertainers in Club 41.
The resort also features Sweetgrass and Sage Run golf courses. The Island Resort Champi- onship at Sweetgrass is part of the Symetra Tour
– “Road to the LPGA.”
“Michigan, particularly the U.P. has so many
Construction Scheduled To Begin In June
  FinnZone will be hosting a delegation in the U.P.

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