‘Nokia’ would spring to mind when you think of Finland, however after it was taken over by the smartphone industry and demised, it seems to have served as the catalyst of ‘The Technology Startup Sauna’ with innovations taking hold and business initiatives arriving in droves with the hope of investment and backing from a liberal funding system via the Finnish government.
IT & Innovation Specialist Matias works in the Finnish technology sector alongside professionals embarking on ground-breaking projects, products and apps. He discusses five reasons why he believes Finland to be the start-up country for tech success…
1.The fall of Nokia, the rise in Finnish start-up’s:
Nokia originated in Finland, at one time they were one of the world’s biggest mobile phone makers; according to the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy it contributed a quarter of Finland's growth between 1998 and 2007. Traditionally its tech industry (predominantly Nokia) and timber industry (paper manufacturing, timber export) were the two pillars of Finland’s economy.
With Nokia's demise in co-occurrence with the global economic crisis, this plunged Finland’s economy. Not only was Nokia struggling to make profits but the timber industry suffered with the rise of technology globally as demand for paper declined. Also the major buyers of Finnish timber exports (Russia) were no longer buying as the 2007 economic crisis crippled buying power.
Although Nokia, the talent remained. This void presented a perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to step in and continue innovating in the tech space! Finns are people of perseverance and used their tech knowledge to re-innovate and vitalize the tech product/services industry!
However, watch that space as Nokia have ‘unfinnished’ business and reinvention of the brand in an attempt to overtake its rivals…
2.The liberal Finnish Government:
As Finland struggled to revitalize its economy the government is heavily investing in what it believes is one of Finland's strongest assets: Tech Innovation. Tekes is the Finnish government's technology investment arm; it provides funding to develop "innovations that create growth" and is looking to find teams which build companies with "unfair advantage." This in itself is very appealing for start-ups, they have financial backing and
3.The Start-up Sauna:
Firstly, the synonym ‘Start-up Sauna’ comes from the traditional Finnish Sauna. This is where people put their heads together to “sweat it out” and share ideas. The tech space is hot. Startups are continuously popping up with the combination of investment from government and angel investors who believe in the talent.
4. Great country to live and earn!
With Finland’s reputation of being a relatively calm, safe country to live it also somewhat attracts talent to come and join ‘The Sauna’, with any growth you need talent to fuel it. The country’s reputation has served the industry in attracting talent.
5. Tight, collaborative and international tech ecosystem:
A few years ago Finland’s new tech scene was very “shy” and inward; with a small domestic market this inhibited growth and limited the level of global success. However, the initiatives of the government, foundations such as ‘Start-up Sauna’ and events such as ‘SLUSH’ who are dedicated to supporting, pushing the internationalization of the tech scene as well as attracting global attention, Finland is now on the global map! This has helped draw the attention of the brightest high-tech minds and most innovative companies from around the world. The tech scene is very collaborative and tight where the different entities have healthy competition yet support each other in reaching new heights…
Watch this space with Finland and tech success.