Growth entrepreneurship has become a phenomenon in Finland


Growth entrepreneurship has become a phenomenon in Finland, and its momentum has enabled an increasing number of startups to set their sights directly on global markets. New business accelerators are giving this trend an added boost. How did we get here?

— Work life does not offer today’s youth the same stability and security it used to. Only in recent years has establishing a startup become an option for many, says Elina Uutela of the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes).

— Finns are eager to remain at the forefront of technology and innovation. The potential of agile startups is finally being recognised. Nokia’s downward spiral is not without significance, as it has led to the creation of hundreds of new companies and has changed how Finns perceive their place in the world.

From Finland to the world

Aaltoes is the largest and most active student-run entrepreneurship community in all of Europe. According to Uutela, Aaltoes’ focus is more on doing rather than planning, and the goal is to find, through experimentation, viable ways of helping startup entrepreneurs and those who hope to become entrepreneurs.

— We bring people of all backgrounds together, and we discover what strengths can be found in the team’s skill set. Our spirit of entrepreneurship is characterised by a passion for learning, even if it means learning the hard way. And why would choosing a career that can help you, for example, solve issues that matter to you not be appealing?

Uutela says that startups have built-in scalability, which means it is “only natural that rather than focusing on the non-existent domestic market, we turn our focus to the whole world and keep our eyes peeled.”

Change is an opportunity

Tekes annually sets aside some EUR 350 million to fund companies’ R&D and innovation projects. The goal of these projects is to come up with new, growing, profitable and globally competitive business.

— The proactive approach of new companies reflects a society’s vitality and its ability to reinvent itself. It is better to create new ideas and business models than cling to the past. It’s not just about startups, but about the business world as a whole, says Jukka Häyrynen of Tekes.

— Having a reputation as a creative country that produces startups secures the best employees, top experts, investors and partners for companies. Young companies are pioneers of structural change, because change is seen as an opportunity.

Häyrynen lists Supercell, Primoceler, Zen Robotics, Tuxera, Dream Broker, DealDash, and Happy or Not among the success stories that have received funding from Tekes.