Article
2017-02-02

Kickoff Gigavaasa showed that we have a competitive value proposition to Tesla

Kickoff GigaVaasa was a great success! Enthusiasm of all the speakers and participants created an energetic atmosphere. Kickoff came together around a tidal wave of opportunity - the electrification of transportation and the transformation of power grids. Our intention is not just to ride this wave, but to propel it. 

140 people attended at the kickoff and there were only three no-shows. This reflected an exceptional commitment to our initiative to get Tesla Gigafactory to Vaasa. We heard eight inspiring presenters pointing out different components of the opportunity. 

Theme of  the morning was “If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy” by Allvin Toffler. CEO Jaakko Eskola from Wärtsilä talked about the visions for the energy and marine industries and how the company  is building a clean future. He pointed out that if the decisions for the Gigafactory will be based on the facts, Vaasa will be the winner. 

Head of Energy Consluting Gavin Thompson from BuroHappold Engineering had an inspiring message to tell. In the same way as they were able to get the Olympic games to London, also we have to clarify our vision in order to be able to come out with a clear and structured plan that is easy to present to Tesla. Manager Jyri Kylä-Kaila from Valmet Automotive reminded us that vehicle development is increasingly complex business when at the same time there is a pressure for shorter development time. We have to understand this complexity when going in to Tesla-initiative. CTO Heikki Uusitalo from ABB presented various smart technologies they can offer for sustainable future, including co-operation with car manufacturers.

At the workshops, teams created many constructive recommendations and ideas about business environment at a very short notice. The topics of the workshops included value chain, attractiveness of this area, site selection and logistics and how to activate volunteers. We got good material for the initiative.

In the afternoon we started aiming even higher, as the theme was “When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with handful of mud either”, attributed to Leo Burnett. Editor in Chief Emilia Kullas from Talouselämä had a strong speech about ambitions, marketing facts and courage to work right with Finnish “SISU”, that is positive bluster. Marketing Manager Harri Eela from Cursor told how they turned Stora Ensos closed factory, which had given job for 460 people on the area, into a Google datacenter. This was due to cooperation with Cursor, City of Hamina, Stora Enso and Invest in Finland. The site was made visible and attractive before the Invest in Finland brought the customer. 

Vice Precident Antti Aumo from Finpro brought up national perspective as well as customer view. We have to analyze what our customer, Tesla, wants, who we are competing against and what are our strengths and weaknesses. We have to work together as a nation and be prepared for challenging questions when we proceed. Vice Precident Anne Jalkala from Startup&Fund Investments Fortum reminded that if we want to stop the climate change and leave our children and grandchildren an Earth they can live in, there has to be globally USD 165 billion energy investments in order to reach 2 Celsius goal. 

We got 75 written feedbacks, which were overwhelmingly positive, reflecting the strength of commitment. 

  1. We came away with five strong impressions of the day:
  2. We have deep expertise. (“a very broad and good base”)
  3. There is a collaborative problem-solving culture (“great can-do spirit”, “the atmosphere is so open”)
  4. We move quickly
  5. We have a competitive value proposition
  6. Our R&D investments are  very high

It is very encouraging to see so many people supporting this initiative. We have over 200 volunteers from the kickoff and from the website. As Mayor Tomas Häyry from City of Vaasa said, we are really pumped up to continue this work to get Tesla Gigafactory to Vaasa. Most of the work lays ahead, but we will do it, together. Join the GigaVaasa Facebook group and let’s stay connected there.