British & Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce in Finland: A bridge to the world

BCCCF: A bridge to the world
By Susan Fourtané

The BCCCF is one of its kind: It is the only British Chamber based in a country which does not belong to the Commonwealth of Nations. It is also the only Chamber of commerce in the world working with all 53 Commonwealth countries.

The BCCCF is lead by Garry Parker, founder Chairman of the organisation. For Parker, Finland can act as the hub for businesses between Nordic and Baltic countries. “Even if the main purpose for our organisation is to promote business opportunities between Finland and the Commonwealth, BCCCF will also be working for the whole Nordic and Baltic Region from Helsinki”, he said when opening the launch seminar.

Among the speakers was Austin Browne, Commercial Director at the Commonwealth Business Council in London, welcomed the BCCCF and noted that “this initiative is needed to promote business throughout the Commonwealth nations, big and small.” Pekka Huhtaniemi, Under-Secretary of State at Finland’s Foreign Ministry, said that “there is room for developing new activities for business between Finland and the Commonwealth countries.”

Harri Pärssinen, CEO of Ernst & Young and BCCCF Vice Chairman, concluded the evening by saying that “joining or partnering with BCCCF is a positive way for Finnish enterprises to find the right business partner or opportunity in any member country, and be part of a lively network, with one business language that we Finns can handle.” Other relevant topics that were discussed at the seminar included how to bring Finnish enterprise to the Commonwealth nations and vice versa. Questions such as tackling business corruption and cultural differences were part of the discussion, leaving room for further follow-up.

The Commonwealth of Nations: A little history

To understand the function of the Commonwealth we first need to understand the meaning or the word and its origin. Dating from the 15th century, the English noun Commonwealth comes from the original phrase common-wealth which comes from the old meaning of wealth, which is well-being. The term literally meant common well-being.

The Commonwealth of Nations –formerly the British Commonwealth- is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign states, most of which are former British colonies or dependencies of these colonies, plus the United Kingdom itself. The Commonwealth membership includes both republics and monarchies.

Thirty per cent of the world’s population is represented by the Commonwealth of Nations. The head of the Commonwealth is chosen by leaders through consensus. When the modern Commonwealth came into being in 1949; King George VI was asked to be head by leaders of the member states. After he died, leaders of the member states of the Commonwealth asked Queen Elizabeth II to become head. In the same way, when she dies, leaders will once again select the head by a consensus decision.

Susan Fourtané can be contacted at

Written by Susan Fourtané for the British & Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce in Finland.
This Editorial was first published on August 14th, as part of the BCCCF August newsletter.


About Susan Fourtané

As a citizen of the world, Susan began her search for her place in the world back at the beginning of the year 2000. After many travels looking for her place in the world, her soul found that place in Finland in September 2006. She has been living in Helsinki ever since, where she combines fiction and non-fiction writing with Philosophy studies and teaching.
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