On the 94th independence day of Finland, I came to look back at what has been the cause for Finland, a relatively small country population wise, to become one of the most prosperous countries in the world. I couldn’t really put my finger on specific factors that have enabled this but I think a lot of it is based on the “get things done” mentality we have had throughout the years.
Recently however, a large concern has been raised due to increased national economic pressure and a gloomy forecast for the European economy as a whole. Companies have been forced to lay off large amounts of employees, cut back on costs in all areas in an attempt to stream line entire businesses. Some companies have even have to reconsider their entire existence. However, as you may have read in some of my earlier posts, Finland (and especially the young entrepreneurs in Finland) have looked the situation in the eyes and accepted the challenge to create a new Finland (sorry the link is in Finnish).
The Helsinki Spring (as named by Steve Blank) is a great example of this. Students, entrepreneurs, financiers, politicians, and many other people and organizations have come together to create an ecosystem that is supportive for new startups. But what makes Finland such a good place for startups right now? For me right now it is the community of people and organizations that have come together to tackle the challenge together. Like in many previous difficult settings, Finnish people have a tendency to stick together and muscle through. We come up we new innovative ways to use the resources we have and as said “we make things happen”.
I happened to tune in on the Independence Day President’s reception tonight just as “The Mighty Eagle” of Rovio Entertainment, Peter Vesterbacka was entering the ball room and being greeted by the President. To those who don’t know, not that many people get invited to these kinds of events and further, not that many people get as much attention as he did at the party. Apart from the live interviews and comments, I’m sure that several high level chit-chats took place. And this is a man who only a few years back was not necessarily so well-known around the world. Now he is one of the driving forces of the new startup movement in Finland, openly backing up young entrepreneurs and opening doors to a bigger arena. This just goes to show that slowly, even at the highest national levels the message is getting through, Entrepreneurs and New Companies create growth and new jobs.
What is your special sauce??