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Entrepreneurs in Finland
Jaana Gummerus

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

I have worked as an entrepreneur and an employee in five different areas: business, marketing communications, arts and culture, well-being and education. Currently, I teach people of migrant background about the ins and outs of starting and running a business in Finland. A person can become an entrepreneur not just by starting a business but also by acquiring someone else’s company through a business transfer.

Self-knowledge and determination are important when one wants to succeed as an entrepreneur. In order to strengthen migrant entrepreneurship in Finland, it is important to identify entrepreneurial skills and assist migrants in understanding Finnish business culture.

Entrepreneurial skills

Entrepreneurship requires a wide range of skills; however, an entrepreneur does not need to know everything. It is important to identify one’s own strengths and challenges. Self-development, the ability to work well and communicate with others as well as a proactive approach to work are fine basic skills almost everyone needs.

The EntreComp model by Bacigalupo, Kampylis, Punie and Van den Brande has structured the areas of competence that, according to current research, are learnable entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and attitudes. The main headings fall under “Ideas and opportunities”, “Resources” and “Taking action”. Each main heading contains five advanced areas of expertise, all of which together form the backbone of fifteen competence needs.

At Suomen Yrittäjät we want to promote an entrepreneurial mindset in all areas of society. Know-how can be learned, taught, and the development of an entrepreneurial mindset benefits both the individual and society. EntreComp is also designed as the basis for all types of entrepreneurship education. Its aim is to act as a bridge between education and the world of work.

The entrepreneurship competence framework consists of

  • Learning through experience
  • Detection of opportunities
  • Mobilizing others
  • Working with others
  • Creativity
  • Economic and financial comprehension
  • Coping with uncertainty and risk
  • Vision
  • Mobilizing resources
  • Design and management
  • Valuing / valuing ideas
  • Motivation and perseverance
  • Initiative
  • Ethical and sustainable thinking
  • Self-awareness and confidence in one’s own abilities
EntreComp – (Barcialupo et al. 2016, 11) entrepreneurship competence framework original model created by Bacigalupo, Kampylis, Punie and Van den Brande.

Migrant entrepreneurs master the entrepreneurship competences according to the EntreComp model very well. They seem to have even more resilience than the average entrepreneur. People who have moved to Finland and are planning to do business here are often visionaries with new and innovative ideas. An entrepreneur with a migrant background or one who is planning to become an entrepreneur needs the most support in understanding Finnish culture and the Finnish business scene. These findings were also evident and have been discussed in further detail in my thesis.
Migrant entrepreneurs worst stumbling blocks are still the same as a few years ago:

  • Understanding Finnish labor law
  • Business licenses
  • Taxation
  • Writing official statements
  • Insurance issues such as YEL

It is quite interesting that the stumbling blocks listed above are the same for everyone starting a business in Finland. Access to information, networking and finding the right contacts play a key role for all entrepreneurs, regardless of the entrepreneur’s cultural background.

I encourage all those thinking about starting or acquiring a business to be brave and pursue their dreams. Success can be achieved, and we are here to help!

Jaana Gummerus
Member of the Migrant Entrepreneur Network´s Management Team

Jaana Gummerus