Towards a more sustainable future with entrepreneurship – campaign summary

This year, #IStartedThis introduced 30+ inspiring entrepreneurs and shared their unique stories about entrepreneurship. These real-life stories showed that there are many paths to entrepreneurship – and that entrepreneurs of today are committed to build a better and more sustainable future.

I Started This -campaign was first introduced in 2020 with an aim to break the myths and stereotypes around entrepreneurship and inspire more and more people to try entrepreneurship, regardless of background and experience. This year, I Started This came back bigger – with more inspiring role model stories and more comprehensive campaign event discussing building a more sustainable future with entrepreneurship. 

30+ entrepreneurs from different industries and backgrounds shared their unique stories in the campaign. Stories they shared were raw and honest, ranging from big successes to real hardships – as does entrepreneurship itself. These stories reached 700k+ people on Instagram, the main campaign platform, and we hope they changed the idea of what entrepreneurship is as well as inspired anyone curious about entrepreneurship to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Stories they shared were raw and honest, ranging from big successes to real hardships – as does entrepreneurship itself.

Stories included some very valuable learnings on entrepreneurship. The majority of the entrepreneurs interviewed for the campaign said that the most rewarding thing about entrepreneurship is freedom. Many valued the fact that they can decide when to work, where to work and who to work with. But as an entrepreneur, you need to prepare also for hardships and failing. Some role models described entrepreneurship as a rollercoaster ride – with highs and lows. 

The most important tip from role models to the entrepreneurs-to-be is this: remember that you don’t have to do everything alone. Ask for help if you need it. Support helps you succeed.


COVID had negative impact on businesses   – but provided new opportunities too


Before the campaign, we conducted a survey to find out more insights on the effect of pandemic on entrepreneurship. 31 entrepreneurs answered the survey and shared their views. 71 % of the respondents said that COVID has had some or significant negative impact on their businesses. Almost a third (31 %) of respondents were worried about their future as entrepreneurs and wanted to quit or leave entrepreneurship.

However, the pandemic has also opened new opportunities for some: almost half of the respondents (46 %) think that the COVID has provided new business opportunities and over a third (35 %) see the pandemic as an opportunity to build better and more sustainable businesses. Overall, half of the respondents (51 %) have an optimistic view on the future of the company.


Insight and inspiration from the main partners


The campaign was supported by fantastic entrepreneurial organizations eager to shed light on diverse entrepreneurship stories and role models. In the I Started This Blog, we shared interesting insights and inspiration from campaign’s main partners Elo, Aalto Ventures Program, PwC and Fennia.

In the first blog post, Elo’s Maria Ihalainen shared her thoughts about entrepreneurship during and after the pandemic and reminded us that we need to remember to give recognition to the smaller businesses in more traditional industries and entrepreneurs that solve everyday challenges. In AVP’s blog post, Lauri Järvilehto pointed out that SDGs are an opportunity to build new kinds of businesses and provided interesting examples of how startups can leverage SDG10 to reduce inequalities through scalable business. In the third blog, Fennia’s Esa Ikonen asked how we could create an atmosphere that would encourage entrepreneurial thinking and starting a business. In the last partner blog, PwC’s Santeri Palomäki shared his views on why it is important to incorporate an entrepreneurial approach and creativity into every company’s problem solving process.

If you’re interested in these topics, you can find all blog posts from here.  


Entrepreneurs are committed to building a better and more sustainable future


The campaign ended with a virtual event on building a more sustainable future with entrepreneurship. Speaker line-up included inspiring entrepreneurs as well as other top experts in the field. 170+ people tuned in to listen to insightful discussions about the future of entrepreneurship. 

Key takeaway from the event discussion was this: more entrepreneurs are committed to building a better and more sustainable future. They are passionate about solving today’s sustainability challenges and committed to tie their business in reaching United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Patrik Holopainen from Kiuas said it well in the first panel discussion: if you are passionate about the problem, you’ll find a way to solve it.

Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to make a positive impact on the people and world around us.

This commitment to a better world is something that many of the role models also pointed out in their stories. For them, entrepreneurship is more than work – it’s an opportunity to make a positive impact on the people and world around us. This is why we need to encourage more people to pursue entrepreneurship – and that is what #IStartedThis is here to do. 

Lastly, we want to thank Elo, Aalto Ventures Program, Fennia and PwC, for supporting the campaign as the main partners. Special thanks also to our partners Tesi and Maria 01 and 30+ other supporters of the campaign. Finally, thank you to all amazing entrepreneurs who shared their unique stories in the campaign. 

Anyone can be an entrepreneur.


Read all inspiring role model stories here

Did you miss the campaign event? No worries, you can watch the recording here.

You can find all campaign supporters here.