Join Helsinki’s Sustainability movement for 90 days
Uncover the secret to Helsinki’s sustainable mindset towards innovation, entrepreneurship, and change. From the unique Finnish concept of Sisu to the key players of the thriving startup ecosystem.
Changing the world from Helsinki
It is undeniable that the world needs to change, particularly in terms of creating a more sustainable future. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has emphasized that developed nations hold a special responsibility in this regard.
Finland, as a successful and wealthy developed country, is particularly mindful of this responsibility, with a population that values nature and sustainability. This mindset is reflected in Finnish businesses, which prioritise functionality and thoughtfulness in design, resulting in practical and scalable applications that drive real-world change.
With a population of 5.5 million spread across cities and towns surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, Finland presents exceptional opportunities for businesses and enterprises committed to sustainability.
Despite Finland’s characteristic modesty, its people take pride in their country’s nature – and their actions when it comes to sustainability. In Helsinki, the country’s capital, sustainability is not a mere buzzword – it’s a way of life. Helsinki prides itself on being a leader in the sustainable journey, actively preserving and maintaining the numerous parks, woodlands, and other natural spaces that coexist within and around the city.
To truly love one’s home means respecting and caring for it, a value that to Finns, extends beyond their national borders. While vision is essential, turning ideas into practical solutions requires ample resources, suitable environments for growth and experimentation, and plenty of perseverance, or “sisu,” as it is known in Finland.
Additionally, happiness is a crucial yet often overlooked commodity, and Helsinki, as the capital of the world’s happiest country, is known for it.
Three ways Helsinki is building a more sustainable future
Investing in sustainable solutions
In 2021, Finnish startups raised a total of €1.2 billion in investment and experts say this is just the beginning. According to FiBAN’s angel investment data sheet, Finland’s startup ecosystem is maturing rapidly. As noted in our recent article, the combined worth of Helsinki-based startups has skyrocketed to €25 billion since 2015.
In Helsinki, you will find not only cutting-edge technology, first-class facilities and services, and a plethora of highly educated workers, but a thriving financial milieu rife with opportunities to secure the funds you need to reach a more sustainable future.
In addition to investors, Helsinki is also home to multiple state-owned and government-funded companies that spearhead sustainability, such as the Climate Fund and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, which are constantly on the lookout for new sustainable projects.
Building networks for sustainable innovation
Helsinki’s compact size, with a population of around 650,000 people, makes it easy for people to connect and collaborate towards sustainability.
It’s a small and vibrant city where people can easily move around on foot, bike, or on public transportation, making it easy to meet and share ideas. This close-knit community also allows for efficient resource sharing, collaborative projects, and easy access to events and initiatives that promote sustainable living.
Additionally, Helsinki’s compact size means that its natural surroundings are easily accessible, reminding its residents of the importance of preserving the environment for future generations.
Helsinki also offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators to connect and collaborate towards a more sustainable future. One such opportunity is the startup event Slush, held in Helsinki every November, which attracts entrepreneurs and angel investors from all around the world. The event serves as a platform for forward-thinking innovators to exchange ideas and insights on how to build a better tomorrow. By bringing together like-minded individuals, Slush creates a space for collaboration and innovation, helping to advance the cause of sustainability in Helsinki and beyond.
Embracing freedom and authenticity
In Helsinki, freedom is one of the most cherished values. In Finland, people enjoy the freedom of trial and error, the ability to take action, love, be equal, feel safe, and speak from the heart.
Finland’s education system, which is renowned worldwide, is focused on cultivating stronger media literacy among youth by detecting misinformation. Finns take pride in the honesty of the Finnish mindset and display the same to Helsinki residents and visiting world leaders alike.
To discover the other resources that Helsinki offers for a sustainable future, consider becoming a Finn for 90 days yourself.
‘Sisu’ the untranslatable word driving success in Helsinki
In 1940, the New York Times published an article titled “Sisu: A Word That Explains Finland,” introducing the world to an untranslatable yet powerful concept. The concept of sisu is so powerful that it has even been the topic of research studies. Sisu is a unique form of humble determination that has played a significant role in Finland’s success, including Helsinki’s thriving startup ecosystem.
Wolt, a Finnish food delivery giant, is a prime example of the sisu mentality. They challenged the status quo and dared to think outside the box to achieve innovation in food delivery. Helsinki, with its natural resources and sustainable food chains, offers a conducive environment for startups with sustainability at their core.
Helsinki provides modern sustainability entrepreneurs with a wealth of resources to aid them on the road to success. Notable features include transparent handling of data and food chains, a strong focus on data-driven analysis to achieve meaningful outcomes, and access to valuable research and development resources, including Finland’s plentiful natural resources.
Finnish startup Solar Foods recently secured the largest public grant for cellular agriculture in the world, €34 million, for their hydrogen factories that literally create food proteins from thin air. While another Helsinki-based food tech pioneer is Onego Bio is leading a food tech revolution with its chicken-free egg white protein production through precision fermentation.
The citizens of Helsinki, like food tech pioneers Solar Foods and Onego Bio, are committed to promoting alternative sources of protein, decoupling protein production from animal agriculture for environmental and ethical benefits.
Meanwhile, companies like VTT and Carbo Culture are pushing the boundaries of sustainable technology, offering viable green solutions, reducing carbon emissions, and new innovations in quantum technology. As a result, many Finnish companies, including Neste, have been recognized for their sustainability efforts, placing them in the top 100 most sustainable corporations in the world.
Helsinki’s unique culture, with its sisu mentality, has helped propel its citizens and companies to the forefront of innovation and sustainable development.
Helsinki – a city that just works
Helsinki has transformed itself into a modern, eco-friendly, and tech-savvy capital city. With fast internet and abundant greenery covering 40% of the city’s land, Helsinki is a unique combination of cutting-edge engineering and natural beauty.
Visitors often note how well-organized and welcoming the city is, with excellent public transportation that runs smoothly. Helsinki’s thriving economy and infrastructure provide a wealth of possibilities for business.
The city is home to many sustainability initiatives, including Maria 01, a startup campus that collaborates with Microsoft to support entrepreneurs. Maria 01 aims to provide the most thriving environment for ambitious people and businesses to grow, which is why it has been chosen as the co-working space for the 2023 90 Day Finns.
Helsinki blends ecology and technology with a strong sense of responsibility and mindfulness, which is reflected in the city’s culture. Finland is ranked third globally for work-life balance, indicating that Finns prioritize living life to the fullest, regardless of how or when they work. The goal is to work smarter, not harder, and to travel as efficiently and enjoyably as possible, regardless of the time and place.
The city’s culture emphasizes work-life balance and values like consciousness and accountability. Companies like Urban Tech Helsinki are also taking steps to promote urban well-being for employees, which they believe is a billion-dollar business opportunity. Helsinki’s commitment to sustainability and innovation provides a unique opportunity for businesses and individuals to join in its journey towards a sustainable future.
Join the sustainability movement for 90 Days – or more
Helsinki is a city of visionaries and forward-thinking changemakers, offering countless possibilities and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Helsinki Partners invites 15 international business professionals to experience the city for 90 days, network with local leaders, and receive support to achieve their goals. If you’re interested in this unique opportunity, apply now for the 90 Day Finn Programme 2023! Applications are open until February 24th, 2023.
Interested? Apply to be a 90 Day Finn
If you’re interested in learning more about the programme and its requirements click the link below. Applications are open until February 24th, 2023.
Contact Helsinki Partners
If you are interested in learning more about Helsinki and its possibilities – please contact us via the form here. We’ll make sure to get back to you within a few working days.