Migrant Entrepreneur of the Year finalists 2019
11.12.2019 12:15

Story and attitude decisive – Faisa Egge is the Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year

The Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 award has gone to Faisa Egge, from Central Ostrobothnia, the founder of Amanihoiva Kotihoito Oy.

The other finalists were Rajkumar Sabanadesan of Kaksi.nolla Oy from Pirkanmaa and Douglas Castro of Darkglass Electronics Oy and Neural DSP Technologies Oy from Helsinki. Almost a hundred entrepreneurs from all over Finland were nominated for the award. 

“The strongest argument in Faisa Egge’s favour was her story of coming to Finland, educating herself and becoming an entrepreneur. I also value the fact that she operates in a city that is not very large. There is immigrant entrepreneurship outside the biggest cities,” says Suomen Yrittäjät chairman and jury member Jyrki Mäkynen, in explaining why Egge won.

The award is worth €3,000. The funds have been donated by the employment pension company Elo. 

“Faisa Egge has been wonderful in introducing the light and positivity of her homeland to a sector which needs more skilled, motivated labour. Egge’s dedication, care for people and positive attitude represent just the kind of entrepreneurship we want to highlight through this competition,” says Satu Huber, CEO of employment pension company Elo. 

To Finland with two suitcases 

Faisa Egge came to Finland in 2008 from Kenya with just two suitcases. She started her career collecting bottles for refunds and working in a pizzeria. 

She studied to be a nurse, but finding a permanent, full-time job was difficult. So she took a risk, said goodbye to on-and-off employment and became a full-time entrepreneur without any experience of the world of business, where the red tape was of a completely different order to that in her homeland, Kenya.

Her company offers home care services to seniors and personal assistance to the disabled in their own homes. The business, which began in 2012, became a limited liability company in 2015 and employs other immigrants in the care sector. The company is growing its profits, customer base and employee numbers year on year in Central Ostrobothnia.

As well as running her business, Faisa Egge has been active in the community and has stood for election in the municipal elections in Kokkola.

A finalist with world stars as clients 

The task of the jury was a difficult choice between three business owners with very different businesses of various sizes. Both Sabanadesan’s and Castro’s businesses are growing strongly, with good turnover and functional business concepts.

The bass gear made by Castro’s company, Darkglass, is sold worldwide and the company’s clients include several international success stories. The company has found its niche, in which it does business globally.

Sabanadesan’s Kaksi.nolla Oy caters to a range of societal needs by offering senior services, catering and meal services, and education and consulting. Sabanadesan himself is a change management expert and has made his company’s field of operations profitable.

Competition highlights immigrant entrepreneurs 

The features that were highlighted in choosing the immigrant entrepreneur of the year were profitable business operations, growth opportunities, strength of example and attitude.

“This competition puts immigrant entrepreneurs and their significance to Finnish business front and centre,” says Aicha Manai, network manager at Suomen Yrittäjät. 

An open application was used to find competition entrants who had been successful and created something new in spite of language barriers and a different business environment. Almost a hundred suggestions from all over Finland were received.

The winner was chosen from among the suggestions by Ali Giray, chairman of the Suomen Yrittäjät immigrant entrepreneur network, Pamela Spokes and Reggie Rusan, entrepreneur members of the network, Marko Hara, director of the employment pension company Elo, and Jyrki Mäkynen, chairman of Suomen Yrittäjät.