What do we know about Helsinki?
Helsinki is most likely the first thing that comes to mind when someone speaks of Finland. Although it could be the reindeers or Santa Claus. Finns and most other European people know that Santa Claus lives in Finland, not the North Pole like us Americans were told since we were kids.
… losing my topic here…
Oh, yes, Helsinki, the Jewel of Baltic Seal and 10 reasons to be a startup in Helsinki.
10 Reasons to be a startup in Helsinki
1. All in all, Helsinki is the largest city of Finland.
The main city area has the population of half a million, when all the smaller counties that are seen as a part of the capital get counted in, the population pops up to a million. Most large Finnish businesses have at least a small office in Finland, even if the main office or production facilities were place someplace else. Starting a business in smaller cities might seem easier due to lack of competition but also the clientele is that much more limited.
2. The transportation routes from and to Helsinki are well maintained and easy to reach.
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the largest airport in Finland, the railway stations with connections to all over Finland and also to Russia and the ship routes to and from Estonia, Poland, Germany, and Sweden give Helsinki an easy access all over the world. The infrastructure in Helsinki is more advanced on technical level as well. High speed internet reaches every part of the capital area.
3. Business Sauna Culture
It may seem a bit – or REALLY – strange that someone would go to sauna to speak business but there is something very relaxing about sitting in a sauna and talking about the intense business life that seems so far away when you are enjoying the heat, the sweat pouring out of your skin and the painful sensation of steaming hot air filling your nostrils. To the Finns it comes natural and they really have no problem with going to the sauna butt naked. It might also be pretty clever: even the most hard core business men find themselves oddly vulnerable when everything just hangs out there. Especially if there are both men and women in the sauna.
4. Startup hubs and Co Working Spaces
Their main function is to help newcomers in the business.You can find co-working spaces in Helsinki such as Maria 01 , Startup Sauna , and WE+ . The idea is that a new business can find support and other people in similar situation.
It sure is not easy to enter the business world. There are so many things to know and to learn. Just think of it! Taxes, patents, accountants, marketing, brick and mortar or strictly online – store… the list is almost endless. What helps, what truly honestly helps, is the possibility to openly discuss with your peers. The people who are in the exact same situation or have been there for just a while ago.
5. International Visitors
Another important reason for startups are the visitors in Helsinki. The capital is the main location for most embassies from countries all over the world and most businessmen choose Helsinki as the city where they want to have their meetings when they meet their Finnish business partners. All in all, Helsinki is the heart of business in Finland and that is why startup firms launch there.
6. Hardcore Digital and Gaming Culture
May it be the weather or the perpetual darkness aka Kaamos or the horrible fact that there are places in Finland where the sun is not seen in months and months, Finland is the cradle of gaming culture. Instead of going out and playing in the snow – yeah, that grows old in a while – the innovative Finns have come up with an amazing amount of games and animations. The Finns also love playing the games so there’s a huge market for them already. Of course it is always nice to get the game internationally recognized and maybe even become a real hit in the US gaming platforms.
7. Business Angels
FiBAN Finnish Business Angels is an association that searches to improve private investors to find new, potential growth companies that they can support. FiBAN is a member of EBAN, the European Business Angels network and at the moment FiBAN is one of the most active and largest members in Europe with 650 approved members and 100 events annually.
8. Lots and Lots of Funding
In Finland the starting businesses are eagerly funded by private and state sources. There are financial startup packages, business loans with extremely low interests and other pro-startup investment possibilities. Business Finland (used to be known as Tekes) is concentrated completely on helping starting and already existing businesses to thrive and find international connections.
9. Women CEO’s
In Finland women are encouraged to start new businesses by special business loans for female entrepreneurs. Business world as a larger concept is often seen as male-dominated and very closed environment. The business sauna culture still seems to push women to the outskirts of the business world, but luckily this atmosphere is changing and there are multiple ways that women are supported when they decide to start a new business.
This is not only a Finnish thing. The USA knows well of the Micro Loans in 3rd world countries that are only granted to women for business purposes. It seems like the world is starting to wake up to the fact that not only men can handle the business world.
10. The SLUSH!
The huge international annual happening full of business and innovations. Check our next week’s blog to see what happened to us after visiting Slush 2017.
If 10 reasons is not enough for you then here is some more
New York, New York