Representatives of 15 high-tech telecom Finnish companies visited Atlanta for four days last week to explore strategies for entering U.S. markets through partners or by opening offices here as an alternative to the more costly high-tech corridors of Silicon Valley.

This group was the second Finnish delegation to visit Atlanta this year under a program of Global Software II, a business planning, development and networking program of the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland.

“Silicon Valley has always been a part of the program, but now Atlanta has replaced Seattle, Boston and Dallas as the second stop in the U.S.,” Costas Simoglou, export programs manager, technology products, of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (GDITT), told GlobalFax in an interview.

“The two groups that we have welcomed to Atlanta have involved telecom-oriented companies. Discussions are now going on to assess if a third group composed of biotechnology companies could benefit from a similar visit.”

Mr. Simoglou and local businessman Owen Greeson were among the local officials and business leaders who invited the Finns to Atlanta.

During their stay, the Finns visited Air2Web, a wireless application service provider, and attended meetings with executives from U.S. Wireless Online and StoneSoft. They also received legal and taxation advice about immigration issues, contract and patent law as well as an overview of how to set up a U.S. corporation from local attorneys and accountants.

      To learn more about the Global Software II program, go to or call Mr. Simoglou at (404) 651-6055.