Mark Wiltshear’s 12 Minute Conversation with Engel Jones

Season 3, Episode 39
For this episode, I am grateful to Engel Jones for allowing to rebroadcast an interview that first went-out on his 12 Minute Convos podcast in January 2018.
Engel is an Entrepreneur & Podcast Host who set himself a goal: 800 recorded conversations in 12 weeks from Sep 19th – Dec 12th 2017.

In this conversation, hear me on the other side of the mic (for a change) talking about why I make the Explore Finland Radio Show, the motivation behind founding Xport, writing a blog for Visit Seinäjoki and the relevance of the Diana Ross song ‘Chain Reaction’.

If you know me, you won’t be surprised that my #12minconvo lasted 18 mins!

MP3 Player


Download an MP3 of Mark Wiltshear’s 12 Minute Conversation with Engel Jones

Show Notes & Links

‘Regional Developer Prize 2015’ Award for the Explore Finland Radio Show

Mark looking suitably humble (for once!)

Mark looking suitably humble (for once!)

On Friday 13th May 2016, I was given an award by Etelä-Pohjanmaan aluekehittäjät ry EPAK (a Regional Development Association in Etelä-Pohjanmaa.  This was in recognition of the work I have done with the Explore Finland Radio Show and the Finnish Football Show. This is how EPAK announced the award:

Regional developer prize winner of the year 2015 is Mark Wiltshear

The regional development association of Southern Ostrobothnia EPAK has chosen Mark Wiltshear, the voice of the Explore Finland Radio Show and Finnish Football Radio Show, as the winner of the Regional development prize of the year 2015. Mark Wiltshear works as a Project Manager in the internationalization and export development company Xport. He is also the Co-founder of the company. Wiltshear has moved to Seinäjoki from London.

The board of the association was unanimous about the decision. ”Mark’s podcasts, notes and pictures represent South Ostrobothnia lifestyle and the characteristics of the region in an exceptionally the warm, creative and professional way. The genuine enthusiasm and fire in Mark’s work inspires respect and joy in all of us. The podcasts offer the listeners interesting and eye opening true-life experiences and perceptions that make us return to the show time after the time. Most of the podcast also have local people as visiting guest speakers. We warmly recommend the shows to everyone.”

The prize is being awarded now for the seventh time by regional development association of Southern Ostrobothnia. The prize is awarded annually. Previous award winners are:

– 2014 Researcher, Chairman of the Board, Jussi Rasku, Game Developers Association of Seinäjoki (Sepeli ry)

– 2013 Managing Director Sami Heinimäki, Härmä Transport Ltd

– 2012 SELMU, Live Music Association

– 2011 Development Planner Eira Hakola,Regional Counsil of South Ostrobothnia

– 2010 Executive Director Sinikka Koivumäki, The Development Association of Seinäjoki Region (Liiveri)

– 2009 Research Director Juha Alarinta, UCS (University Consortium of Seinäjoki)

Regional development association of Southern Ostrobothnia is registered association (2009) whose aim is to promote South Ostrobothnia’s independent and unbiased development and regional development at its various aspects and procedures. It’s aim is also give recognition to succesful regional development work by granting the regional developer prize annually.

Press Release / Lehdistötiedote

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Tytti Isokangas, Chair of the Board of EPAK, and everyone that was involved in this decision. The award came as a complete surprise and, needless to say, I am very proud and humbled to have been recognised by my peers; people who have similar opinions about raising the profile of Etelä-Pohjanmaa.

It was presented at the opening of the new office space that Bstr Advertising Agency shares with Xport in Seinäjoki (yes, the swing is part of the new office furniture!) The fact that I was in the company of so many friends, colleagues and business contacts made the moment that more special.

Brit Enjoys Nature. How the news was reported in Ilkka Newspaper

Brit Enjoys Nature. How the news was reported in Ilkka Newspaper

I hope now that this can be a springboard for starting to take some concrete action to benefit Seinäjoki, Etelä-Pohjanmaa and the neighbouring regions. I have a vision that I’ve started sharing with people and I’d love to start working to make this a reality. My company, Xport, is well-positioned to help local companies that want to become more international, and this can includes developing tourism ideas and preparing local businesses for receiving overseas visitors.

If you want to learn more about this vision, please make contact and I’d be happy to meet with you in person

Finally, I want to say thank you to YOU; for reading this and being interested in the podcast; for being one of the regular listeners to the show – there is no show without listeners; or if you have appeared in the podcast –there is no show without the people of Etelä-Pohjanmaa agreeing to be interviewed and generously giving me their time! Thank you all.

◊◊◊ Mark Wiltshear ◊◊◊

What I Learned at #slush14

Although I risk ‘crossing the streams’ with this post – brining my day job into the Explore Finland world – this article is about an event in Finland, so it’s not completely off-topic.

Slush is a fast-growing ‘trade show’ in Helsinki for Investors and Companies to meet, talk business and party a little. Below is a post that I recently shared on LinkedIn…


2014 was my first time at the Slush event. I’d been to several trade shows in the past and this couldn’t be so different, could it? Below are a few observations and lessons-learned at Slush 2014.

Arrange investor meetings in advance

Even if you only want a brief catch-up meeting or conversation. There were over 10,000 tickets sold, the chances of bumping into the right person are small, and the chance of them having time to see you at the last minute, smaller still. I tried for two days to meet with a friend, we both wanted to, we tried, but it just didn’t happen. I’m sure we’ll get-together someday soon Berit!

Don’t expect to close a deal

Slush is a dark, noisy event. a brilliant atmosphere but maybe not the place to discuss the minutiae of your business, so probably not the place to seal a deal. Use it as an opportunity to initiate a new business relationship, or to nurture an existing one.

Prepare your pitch

Whether you are in the competition, meeting a potential investor or exhibiting on a booth, make time in advance to prepare your presentation, so you’re ready to answer the question ‘Tell me about your company.’ Also, ensure everyone in your company is telling the same story, you don’t need a rigid script more like a structure, so that everyone tells the same story. Visit to learn more about our new service, in partnership with PNP Crossing Borders, which will help you develop your performance at all types of exhibition & trade shows

Be clear about the amount you want to raise and how you will use it.

Or don’t.

Contrary advice and contrary examples were in effect at Slush. One investor said he wanted to know what the money would be used for, someone else said they’d been advised ‘Ask for help and you will get money, ask for money and you will get advice.’ Many of the early Slush100 pitches didn’t mention how much they wanted raise, some of those in the later rounds did.

So that’s clear then!

Minimalist booths

There is less structure to the booths than a traditional show. As befits an event that attracts a great number of start-ups, they were mostly simple roll-up signs and a table. There are a few different ‘exhibition areas’ where the booths are located, and they are positioned side-by-side, close together. This created a real buzz around these areas, but it’s not always easy to get close to the booth although it does ensure no-one hides behind a table – there is nowhere TO hide!

Make the most of the Keynote speakers and product presentations

Take the opportunity to watch some of the different presentations. Learn, be inspired, be entertained;

  • Slush 100 competition: see how they are structured, learn from the mistakes you see
  • Guest speakers: covering every possible industry as well as investors explaining what they want/expect to hear in a pitch
  • Product/service launches: Nokia N1, Jolla tablet

Remember the #Hashtag

The idea of using #hashtags to promote your live event (see my previous article) was in full effect at Slush. We were encouraged to use the hashtag #slush14 before the event started and there were signs all over Messukeskus reminding you. If you search #slush14 on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ you’ll find that it was well-used.

Xport & Jakamo in action at #slush14

Xport & Jakamo in action at #slush14

What an atmosphere!

Slush is unlike any event you’ve ever been to, darkly lit, dry ice and energy drinks – and that’s during the day. At night they simply replace the speakers with live music! Oh yeah, and the evening party included beer for the duration of the night.

Many thanks to the organisers at see you next year.

◊◊◊ Mark ◊◊◊