Presenting Kuopio Health members: SwanMedica
“Kuopio has many companies in the same industry that may only be divided by a wall and yet know little about each other.”
SwanMedica believes in networking
When Juha Waisanen returned from a ten-year work assignment in the United States in 2016, he decided to make his long-term dream of establishing a company come true. This led him to found SwanMedica, a company focused on the marketing of prescription drugs and the wholesale of pharmaceuticals.
– We search for prescription drugs at the global level, introduce them to the Finnish market and manage their marketing, Waisanen explains.
The company’s flagship product is a drug for treating prostate cancer and its product range also includes other urological prescription medicines and products.
The company operating in Varkaus currently employs three people and had an annual turnover of EUR 660,000 last year.
– We’re currently in the midst of a growth spurt and a clear increase in pharmaceutical products. Our five-year goal is to increase our turnover to three million euros and our staff to 5–10 people.
Waisanen assesses that the ecosystem enables SwanMedica to share its vision and expertise in issues related to pharmaceutical wholesale and international cooperation and thus benefit the other members.
Finding courage across the pond
Juha Waisanen explains that the years he spent in North America have provided him with the courage to make his dream of establishing a company a reality. Over there, people are not afraid to take risks, establish companies – and achieve success.
Another lesson learned in the United States was the role of networks.
– The corporate life there is clearly more networked and both people and small companies are much more active in showcasing their skills, Waisanen considers.
Indeed, after his work assignment, he planned to create a healthcare network in the local area.
– I knew that Kuopio has many companies in the same industry that may only be divided by a wall and yet know little about each other.
While the earlier plans to establish a network fell through, hearing about the Kuopio Health open innovation ecosystem piqued Juha Waisanen’s interest. What is more, the ecosystem’s board was chaired by Jussi Holopainen, the same person who had once hired Waisanen for a job in the pharmaceutical industry.
– I called Jussi and asked him about Kuopio Health’s aims. After all, it was exactly the same as the idea I had previously been thinking about. I find it really smart, as it allows us to make this otherwise disjointed group stronger, Waisanen says.
He suggests that Kuopio Health could be used to regularly organise monthly networking events. Potential participants for these open, low-threshold events could be students, companies and representatives of the academic world, in fields related to health technology.
– Although you could participate in the events live and remotely, meeting people face-to-face would be key. Repeating the events is important so that our busy everyday reality will not stifle the ideas emerging from these encounters. I believe that this would at least be worth trying.