Helsinki provides tailored support for entrepreneurs 

International founders come from all over the world to explore the great opportunities for startups and growth companies in Finland’s capital.

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A seed won’t grow if it isn’t planted in good ground. Likewise, a business idea won’t take off if it doesn’t have a nurturing environment. Helsinki is one of the most fertile places in the world to start a business.

Andro Lindsay, Founder of Lindsay & Partners, discovered this first hand. He moved to Helsinki in 2021 as part of the 90 Day Finn programme and was delighted to see how businesses grew in the rich soil of Finland’s capital. Lindsay’s original 90 days in Finland ended in October 2021, but he liked Helsinki so much he decided to stay with his whole family. Helsinki Partners continues to provide him with bespoke support, even after his term as a 90 Day Finn ended.

“Helsinki Partners rolled out the red carpet for me to enter the ecosystem,” Lindsay says. “They were amazing and facilitated everything, explaining things and making introductions. They are still super helpful even today.”

Sustainability startups thrive

The first 90 Day Finn programme was such a success that a new group of entrepreneurs are arriving in 2022. One of them is Anya Nova, who runs Blockchain Development & Staking Operations at Powerledger, a company which develops software for energy markets.

“My passion is technology and sustainability,” she says. “The Nordic region is serious about sustainability and has a great reputation for technology, so the 90 Day Finn programme looks to be a great fit.”

Nova is from Perth, Australia, and has never been to Northern Europe before. She hopes that Finland will be a good place to find potential customers or employees interested in blockchain solutions to improve sustainability.

Helsinki’s sustainability credentials was also one of the main reasons Lindsay set up shop here. Helsinki has a wealth of sustainable startups in industries such as batteries, green hydrogen, sustainable food, electric vehicle charging, smart grids, and the sustainable built environment.

Smart city Helsinki

Catherine Lückhoff is another 90 Day Finn with her eyes on Helsinki’s high-tech industries. From Cape Town, South Africa, Lückhoff is the Co-founder of 20fifty, a company specialising in cloud services and machine learning. She will arrive in Helsinki late in the summer of 2022.

“One of my goals is to connect with the Nordic tech community,” she says. “I want to meet smart, interesting people in Helsinki. There is also a strong Amazon Web Services presence in Helsinki, which is important for us.”

Lückhoff is interested in Helsinki as a smart city. Helsinki has invested heavily in technology to improve efficiency and provide better experiences in everyday services. It is now considered one of the most functional cities in the world, where everything works smoothly. Lückhoff has already worked with many solutions which are useful in smart city environments, such as natural language processing and time-saving automation bots.

“Every place has their own challenges, but we can use reusable components as if they were Lego blocks to solve different problems,” she says. “I want to see Helsinki’s city-as-a-service in action.”

Finland’s famous edtech

All the many startups in Helsinki will give Colin Brown plenty to do. A serial entrepreneur himself, Brown has founded Capability Brown, a consultancy firm which helps founders grow their businesses. He has experience with edtech startups, which is one reason why he wanted to be a 90 Day Finn.

“As a family we are very interested to experience education in Finland so are delighted to have been offered this opportunity from a professional and personal perspective,” Brown says.

Finland is justifiably famous for its public education system, but its education startups are just as high quality. Brown might find several edtech founders who he could help with business development.

“We will meet founders, entrepreneurs, city and school officials and share our experiences of running tech companies,” he says. “We are 110% committed to moving to Finland and experiencing Nordic life in all its amazing variety.”

Happiness = work-life balance

Brown is absolutely correct: life in Helsinki has lots of variety, even for hard-charging founders. People in Finland enjoy a healthy work-life balance and believe that having fun outside of the office will make you work better inside it. The 90 Day Finns are excited about experiencing Finnish nature and culture.

“I’m interested in hiking, gardening, street art and Finnish food. I have tried skiing, but I’m not very good,” Lückhoff laughs. “I’m delighted to be a 90 Day Finn and can’t wait to get there!”

Nova is also interested in hiking and hopes to find a hiking association so she can experience Finnish nature with new friends. Luckily there are thousands of such groups and clubs in Finland.

“I also want to do some cold water swimming,” Nova says. “That’s not something I can do in Perth!”

Lindsay also praises the work-life balance he enjoys in Finland. And speaking of cold water, he has a final thought about Helsinki’s weather.

“We can’t control the weather” he says. “If people complain about something they can’t control, that means the things we can control – safety, education, health, political rights, the economy – are all taken care of!” Helsinki has comprehensive benefits for company founders, such as a rich pool of talent, an attractive business environment, a collaborative ecosystem, a great R&D and testing environment, and a thriving system to nurture early-stage companies.

If you are interested in setting up or expanding your company to Helsinki, contact us! We provide international founders with tailor-made services for soft landing to Finnish market, free of charge (backed up by the City of Helsinki).

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