Panel discussion

1. How would you describe the market for your business?

 Salla: In my opinion, there are not enough people in Finland who work in the field of interculturality. In my line of work it is important to work with people and have good relations with other companies. Being active in Linkdn and Twitter helps.

Jaakko: We need these services. I find the events useful. I do not use social media a lot. Best way to do business is to meet people, build the trust and then start working with them for real.

Päivi: In China, co-operation is necessary. My business is all about the connections between China and Finland. Working together with others is the key for good business. Chinese companies do not need money, they need intercultural relations teaching.

2. How to start a business in intercultural relations?

 Päivi: Volunteering first is a good option.

Jaakko: Use other people`s money if possible. Work somewhere first and then start your own company.

Salla: Network, get help before you start, start small, remember that you need money.

3. Education vs. real life

 Jaakko: Inspiration is important. You learn while you work.

Salla: Theories are good models, but it does not help with differences. Understand yourself as cultural person and build on that, then you start to understand other people. Know yourself and your culture. Intercultural skills are not based on some particular culture, these skills work well with all the cultures.

Päivi: China is a mystery. Learning by doing. How to train people outside China for the Chinese business? We should see companies as units of culture.

Salla: Company culture is more important than national culture. Take theories to companies´ level, not national level.

4. How do you start with new company?

 Salla: Be open minded, but understand when something happens, it might be from cultural reasons

Päivi: Don´t be afraid, be strong, believe in what you do.  World is changing, for example BREXIT. Do not be afraid of working for free for a while.

Salla: I needed to find a good place where to work, wrong morals etc. in many companies, so I started my own company.

Jaakko: You can start lightly without a real company. Try and then start a company. Be brave.

5. Imagining the future

Salla: We need more doers. International pr, marketing. You can stay in your office, use internet. Communicating and building trust are hard skills.

Jaakko: Hire services that can help you, if you can´t hire a person yourself in your company.

Päivi: Field of the future. Building international understanding.

6. Language skills

Päivi: Language skills and cultural understanding is a good combination.

Salla: Cultural skills are more important than language skills. I think about language skills only when I want to hire an interpreter.

Jaakko: Sometimes language matters.

7. Cultural similarities

 Jaakko: Two ears, one mouth! It is important to listen to what other people are saying.

Salla: Trust building is different between different cultures but for example football is something that combines people all over the world.

Päivi: I am interested in similarities instead of differences.