Start-up culture in Finland

Briefly. What type of start-up culture do we have in Finland? Does the culture or ours support those brave people who have decided to take a concrete personal risk in becoming one? I still consider my self as a young entrepreneur having experience so far concrete hands on experience only in less that 10 projects and companies.

Most of them are doing well and one of them not (at the moment). All together I just counted that companies I have been constructing have generated a quite reasonable amount of work in Finland, over 1.000 man years equalling about 20 000 000 euros of taxes paid to the Finnish government. For a country boy this sounds like an ok figure.

The Finnish start-up is typically a company that aims only to survive. In USA or in the other best practice countries like Israel the start-up culture can mean a completely different issue and story line. I have seen how our fellow start-ups aim to become something bigger. They aim for the high risk to achieve high reward and they are proud to tell that a loud. In our culture it is still wrong to tell about your targets in public.

As a start-up company you feel continuous pain automatically. You feel the pressure every day of financing, first customer feedback, delivery issues, personnel topics, PR and everything. Still I would claim that in our culture in Finland there is one additional component to be afraid of. Public still does not like you. Post II world war companies benefited from the poor neighbor Russia allowing us to grow some successful companies like Nokia. Those companies are ok. There is also a heritage of old family owned subsidies generating wealth to our society. When is comes to the new “economics” there are too few companies giving solid example to our society (successful start-ups listed).

In Israel public support (government) gives grants only to those companies that aim for the high risk and the amount of decision makers (economical development authorities in public sector) equals only 1/10 in comparison to ours. They consider them self as enabler not gatekeepers. Most of them also have personal experience of running concrete business them self.

We have an issue. In 10 years high tech export has dropped from 25% to only 6%. Start-up´s with high ambition level is the only change to make a difference. The existing culture should change embracing risk taking start-ups. Humble opinion.






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