Courage is doing something even though it scares you, and the very power behind entrepreneurship is courage. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial spirit unite us and create goodness everywhere. They open possibilities that otherwise could not be reached. I have had the opportunity to experience this during my studies in the US as well as while working with immigrant entrepreneurs in Finland.
At Missouri Valley College, I first saw all the new things and all the good entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial spirit can create and give. During the four years of studies, I realized how common entrepreneurial thinking is in the US. Students were developing business ideas and thinking about what kind of business they were going to start after graduation. It seemed like most of the students in our university wanted to start their own business. And even though not all of them would do it, the unique atmosphere created by the strong entrepreneurial spirit made it easier to continue to look for one’s own path.
The Business Program has generated already several fantastic success stories that have started from the ideas and dreams of the participants.
Our university hosted an annual Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship, where the goal is to promote an atmosphere of open-mindedness and creativity. It featured many guest speakers and entrepreneurs representing various industries from the US and Europe. The lectures, seminars and round table discussions were always the highlight of my year. I got to hear the school alumni share their success stories about their careers as entrepreneurs. After the events, the speakers also attended smaller group discussions where we could ask them more questions. As we Finns are generally fairly quiet people, this type of talk suits us better. 😊
Entrepreneurship has been present in my life also after my studies. For example, I have had the opportunity to be a part of Startup Refugees in Oulu. The social innovation has for years had an ongoing Business Program which offers support to people who have moved to Finland and want to execute their own business idea. The participants can either have a dream or an idea about their own business, or they might already be in a stage where they only need help starting the business. The Business Program has generated already several fantastic success stories that have started from the ideas and dreams of the participants. Now these participants run their own businesses. Introducing these stories is important, because they might give the idea or ignite the spark in becoming an entrepreneur in someone who hears them.
How could we create an atmosphere that would encourage entrepreneurial thinking and starting a business? A few things I can think of could be breaking some unnecessary confrontation and stereotypes associated with entrepreneurship and make all the support that is available more clearly known for those intending to become entrepreneurs.
In a world that is constantly changing, entrepreneurs do best when they have active partners and an extensive contact network.
In a world that is constantly changing, entrepreneurs do best when they have active partners and an extensive contact network. I want us in Fennia to also be able to help new entrepreneurs and those considering entrepreneurship even more with our resources and knowledge. Cooperation with entrepreneurs has been a significant part of our success story and history of 140 years, and it will go on strong also in the future. One of my dreams is that we could be a part of an annual business institute, quite like the one from my student years, with parties that want to help new entrepreneurs in the challenges they face.
I am rooting for all of you who with your efforts help entrepreneurs thrive. And I want to tell you, entrepreneurs – your work is extremely important! You always give out a positive go-getter attitude that creates a catchy entrepreneurial atmosphere in our society. And most importantly to you, a person interested in starting your own business, I want to say: Go for it! Be brave to seize new opportunities. Dare to dream and try something new!
Director, entrepreneurial services, Fennia