William H. Frost and D. Brian Webber found Strategy Analysis International (SAI). Bill Frost works out of Paris, and Brian Webber heads the North American office located in Montreal. The idea behind SAI was to capitalize on the international experience of both individuals and pass it on to others. Internationalization was then, and is today, the core specialty of SAI. The ambition was to assist corporate and institutional clients in their internationalization process.
SAI Consulting GmbH in Düsseldorf, headed by Jörg Wöhler, is founded to better cater to the needs of our clients in Europe’s largest market.
SAI has grown from a letterbox office in Hong Kong to an office that employs local consultants and has started a relationship with Jeremy Waller to manage the business in Hong Kong. Here, the main drivers were sourcing for our European clients and a contract to represent a European region (Curacao) for foreign direct investment in South East Asia.
SAI Finland Oy is founded, headed by Klaus Arni. The drivers for this were Finland as the home of an increasing number of SAI’s clients and the award of a project funded by the newly formed EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) to identify investment opportunities in the ex-Soviet military-industrial companies in St. Petersburg.
SAI Finland creates a joint-venture in St. Petersburg with the recently established stock exchange. Over 20 staff are employed.
The emergence of European call centers and CRM (customer relationship management). Owing in part to a contract awarded by the Invest in Sweden Agency to position this country as an investment opportunity internationally in customer care centers, SAI develops its expertise in this area and adapts it to its own development.
1999 – 2001
SAI wins several tenders from the Paris regional council to assist SMEs in their export efforts in North America. This marks the beginning of our multi-client internationalization “product” offered to government agencies in a number of countries. SAI begins to focus on SMEs and their particular issues and dilemmas.
Thanks to its work in FDI for small island nations (Hong Kong, Curacao, Trinidad & Tobago), SAI is awarded a contract to develop a marketing & promotion strategy for the Madeira Industrial Free Trade Zone and was subsequently appointed representative for France and Luxembourg by the International Business Centre of Madeira, one of the autonomous regions of Portugal.
On the strength of its benchmarking work on export development support programs SAI collaborates with the International Trade Centre of WTO – UNCTAD in Geneva to develop a strategy template for SMEs in developing countries. We are subsequently awarded contracts for SME capacity building in several Central Asian countries and Uganda.
2006 – 2009
SAI and the Employment and Economic Development Centre of Lapland collaborate on a multi-client program – TäVi – for the internationalization of Lappish SMEs. We develop an export readiness tool for identifying their internationalization potential. This is tested in practice on 200 Lappish companies. Fred Granberg assumes the position of senior consultant of SAI Finland.
SAI further develops its SME practice, incorporating the concept of virtual presence and a systematic long-term approach to markets in the developed countries where it operates. Nordic clients make up a major part of SAI’s project portfolio. Petteri Hilska is hired to support our marketing efforts in Finland. SAI signs a contract with a major defense contractor to identify high-tech SMEs in the Nordic area able to fulfill the contractor’s offset obligations with the countries concerned.
SAI Shanghai and SAI Stockholm are founded. The drivers for this were the shift in the influence of Hong Kong to Shanghai as China’s capital for international trade and Sweden’s continuing importance as a market for our Finnish and French clients.
First edition of “Small Company. Big World.” published in USA. Few books exist that have been written for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) by practitioners. This is one. Less than 1% of the 30 million SMEs in the USA export anything. The book shows how they can develop their business abroad in a practical, hands-on manner. It was written not for the academic world, but for people who need to act.