8.9.2023 14:11

Chair Salminen on Entrepreneurs’ Day: “Risk taking must be rewarded with the opportunity to succeed”

“The risk a business owner takes is at the heart of entrepreneurship,” Petri Salminen, Chair of Suomen Yrittäjät, the Finnish SME association, says in his blog post for Entrepreneurs’ Day, 5 September.

I started my own business when I was 23. At the time, my desire to try out my business idea and the tingling excitement to start out on my own won over my fears of risk and failure.

The risk a business owner takes is at the heart of entrepreneurship. As business owners, we constantly live in a situation where a client can stop working with us, not pay our invoices, or an error in production can lead to financial losses.

These and countless other business risks are constantly present and can be fateful. And we accept these risks.

Watch Chair Petri Salminen’s video message for Entrepreneurs’ Day

Risk taking must be rewarded with the opportunity to succeed.

It’s painful to read the comments from decision makers in society where businesses are only seen a success stories. These people do not see the amount of work or uncertainty required for that success.

This is a narrow view of the world, in which business owners and entrepreneurship are merely opportunities for higher taxation and regulation.

Self-employment has experienced a stunning rise in popularity in this millennium. In particular, the number of single person businesses has increased, and young people’s appetite for striking out on their own as entrepreneurs has grown strongly. As many as 33% of third-level students would like to run their own business after graduation.

The increased appetite for business ownership reflects the change in society and, in particular, in work. People want even more freedom to affect the content, schedules and fruits of their labour.

This desire to have a greater impact on one’s own future is not only seen in the intentions to become self-employed. It is also seen among employees as a strong wish for greater opportunities to agree on working arrangements locally in the workplace.

The core task of the welfare state is to ensure that people have as level a playing field as possible for building their own lives, and that society bears shared responsibility for those who are unable to look after themselves, such as due to illness or disability.

Another task of the welfare state is to ensure that safety nets work if people face harsh misfortune.

In the welfare state, we should acknowledge that life includes risks, failures and setbacks. It is often setbacks, in particular, which teach the most and provide a new direction towards a better future.

Society should not try to protect people from setbacks at all costs; it should give them the opportunity to test how profitable their ideas and passions are. If the risks materialize, we must ensure that a fresh start is possible.

Let us not smother entrepreneurship or overprotect people from life.

Petri Salminen
Suomen Yrittäjät

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