Birthing whirlpools, squat bars, birthing balls —– all are designed to make it easier for a woman to give birth.
A Finnish company, Relaxbirth, offers a “birthing support device” — including an adjustable seat, pushing handles and arms and headrest.
Relaxbirth is among startup Finnish biomedical companies with personnel in Akron this week, checking the city out as a possible gateway into the U.S. market.
Marianne Ehrnrooth said Thursday that, so far, she’s impressed.
“People are so open here,” she said, minutes after participating in a “living and working in Akron” program that was among Thursday’s activities.
“You have many good hospitals. You have such a good network here” of resources for medical-technology businesses, she said.
Ehrnrooth envisions Relaxbirth possibly connecting with an area hospital to conduct a trial of the company’s system that has been approved for use in Finland.
This week marks the third time a group of Finnish entrepreneurs has come to town as part of Akron’s BioFinland Technology Bridge Initiative. The “bridge” is one of the city’s efforts to attract investment from foreign companies.
Officials with Akron’s business incubator — the Akron Global Business Accelerator — are hosting the delegation. Accelator officials note that a startup called 7signal — founded by Finns — is among about 50 fledgling companies at the Accelerator in the former B.F. Goodrich complex downtown. The company learned of Akron through the Technology Bridge.
7signal, specializing in wireless technology, is now a U.S. company, employing eight workers, and developing a growing customer base, company officials say.
Finnish economic development agencies organized this week’s trip. They include Tekes — a government-supported Finnish organization that promotes research and innovation. Tekes has been involved with earlier trips to Akron.
Other companies represented in this week’s delegation are: Medtentia International Ltd. (devices for mitral valve repair); Modulight (maker of therapy laser systems); Iscent Oy (maker of manufacturing technology used in inkless printing); Printocent (business development, focusing on printed electronics), and FinnMedi (services for companies in health technology and other sectors).
The four-day visit, which wraps up today, included sessions on a variety of topics, including raising capital and looking at regulatory issues. Sessions also included information on what locals say is a nurturing environment for tech and medical device companies, including the University of Akron and area hospitals.
Thursday morning’s question-and-answer session on “living and working in Akron” included Gregg Cramer, vice president for economic development with the Greater Akron Chamber, and Patrick Bravo, with Summit County. Sam DeShazior, the city’s deputy director in the planning department, also was on the panel.
The three men — speaking at the Akron Global Business Accelerator — told the Finns that Akron had a small-town, welcoming feel and the services of a large city.
Cramer, the chamber’s vice president for economic development, told the Finns the city is a place where they won’t get “lost in the shuffle.”
“We don’t have rush hour,” Cramer noted. “I can leave my house at 7:30 and be at my desk at 7:52, 7:53.”
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic joined the question-and-answer session, and said that he and other city officials take a hands-on approach in helping foreign companies investing here. The mayor told of even making a plea to a banker for financing on behalf of a foreign venture doing business here.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.