Experienced business owner and former IBM executive Patrick Halford partnered Strategic Accounting to give a new type of insight for his customers. We had a chat with Patrick what he expects from the future.

Pat, you are involved in plenty of enterprises. How do you keep all the projects in order?

It’s all about a healthy balance of priorities.

I spent 20+ years working for an American global corporation running various divisions, projects and building ecosystems. There were just as many hours in the day, but much of that time was filled up with internal meetings far away from the customers and action. Now, as an entrepreneur I can pick and choose the most exciting organisations and clients to work for, and dedicate more time to their success.

My own business model is structured around six pillars:

Redstone Aero – I am part of a team building a new airport and drone R&D test center in Pyhtää near Kotka.

– Consulting engagements, both short and long term. For example I do a lot of work across the Nordics with Thales, the big French transportation organisation which is very exciting. I also do advisory work for Enterprise Ireland on their innovation program.

– Teaching; I am on the Faculty of SingularityU Nordics where I cover Mobility (Autonomous & electric vehicles, future transport infrastructure, exponential technologies etc). I am also a guest lecturer at Hanken & SSE and Turku School of Economics on their Executive MBA programs.

– Mentoring – I am a mentor for Turku Business Region on their SpaceUp program for startups developing space/satellite-based technologies. I am also a mentor for Copenhagen Business School’s startup accelerator, and for the Basque government’s startup accelerator, BIND 4.0.

– Board member – I am on the board for a number of healthcare and drone startups in the Nordic region.

– Influencer work – I am on the steering team for Denmark’s drone innovation program, Innovation på vinger, and involved with Finland’s Arctic Drone Labs ecosystem, as well as a number of other working groups.

After seeing a lot of things in business life, what kind of things still make you excited?

I am fascinated by how converging exponential technologies (drones, robotics, nanotechnology, AR/VR & A.I.) can be combined to solve grand challenges focused on climate change, transportation and sustainable resources, and creating new business models.

I look for business opportunities that are both purposeful and profitable.

Your private company is called Gaoithe. What does it mean?

”Gaoithe” is Gaelic and it means ”wind”. I get inspired by the natural elements such as water and wind and how they flow around, over or under obstacles. I decided to use that as inspiration for building my own consulting business.

And I am half-Scottish so 100% European!

Why did you decide to partner with SAF (Strategic Accounting Finland)?

I am on the board of Edevent, a nutritional startup based in Turku, and our Chairman, André Heikius, recommended I come to meet SAF.

Then I met Ari Holm at The Shift in 2018 where I was a judge on a startup competition. He invited me over to Ruokoranta to meet Riku and the SAF team to share some ideas on exponential technologies and business model innovation, and learn from SAF how they help clients understand and improve the financial performance of their companies.

We found a lot of complimentary synergies and decided we could offer some combined capabilities that no-one else can!

What do you expect from the partnership?

I can learn so much from Riku and the SAF team and help open up my network of customers to SAF’s insights.

I can bring another dimenson to SAF’s existing services with a focus on how exponential technologies and business model innovations can help propell customers revenue and profit.

What kind of unique services can Gaoithe and SAF create together?

Working with Ari Holm and André Heikius I have built a scaleable set of services, which include a new offering called ”The Ruokoranta Executive Agenda” (see photo attached). It is a 1 day seminar hosted by SAF that combines accelerating financial performance, business model innovation & ecosystem development, exponential technologies and healthcare & wellbeing in 1 package.

We believe that this is a truly unique offering delivered by a team with unparalleled experience. Gaoithe will also be fitting into SAF’s offerings, so when there is a need to dig into the business model or technology strategy to improve financial performance.

In what kind of questions or projects can customers contact you?

For help understanding how to innovate on their existing business model, exploring future business models and understanding ecosystems and new types of partnerships they can benefit from, and which technologies can they harness to drive growth.

Also, if they are looking for a facilitator for innovation workshops or moderator in debates. I do a lot of facilitation activities in Denmark, and I will be moderating a debate in Reykjavik in November on the future of transportation in Iceland that is hosted by the French chamber of commerce for Iceland.


Ari Holm
050 366 3381