MY TWO CENT: Olga Balakina
People are power, distinguishing and highlighting everything in life. People are the ones who make things happen and find directions for the future. Inspiration, belief and action are the three factors which move projects, corporations and nations to new horizons.
Finland amazingly has created one of the best startup ecosystems in the world, driven by a powerful community of like-minded people.
Being a board member in 2014 and a truly committed member of Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, Aaltoes, I’ve come to realise that initiative and support from many different organisations, public and private, have enabled truly amazing results even in the cold North. The amount of ideas born inside the Startup Sauna walls on the Aalto University campus is truly unbelievable. Be it the Samsung & Aaltoes hackathon, where the goal was to hack brand new Samsung gear within 48 hours, or be it SLUSH, one of the leading tech and startup events in the world, we are all about action and making the seemingly impossible possible. As we gain knowhow through these positive challenges, we also involve newbies, teach them in real-time what we have learned and pass the responsibility of continuation. It is a beautiful thing!
We should not forget our most valuable element, totally unique for the majority of national business cultures: transparency. It seems like everyone who stays more than an hour inside the Finnish startup scene is ready to pitch an idea, and look for team members, customers and investors. The community is pretty tight-knit, so if you see someone who can help you sitting right next to you, you just have to be brave and smart to get them to listen!
I host a lot of visitors from all over the world, and the fact is that even when they come from well-developed startup ecosystems like the USA, UK or Israel, there is one crucial feature Finland can be proud of – the amazing community spirit!
A culture where initiative from the young generation meets the pay-it-forward attitude from the experienced group of successful Finnish brands like Supercell, Nokia, Rovio and Kone, must have a great future for sure.
Recent MIT/Skoltech report analysing the ecosystem around Aalto University states: “Aaltoes and Startup Sauna allow new ideas and groups to set themselves up very quickly without much negotiation.” “It also allows them to capitalise very quickly on the momentum of the growing entrepreneurship movement and create a space to host and welcome this community.” This is an example of belief and support from all different levels of society. We make the impossible possible, and prove to others that they must believe!
SLUSH, which spread to the streets of Helsinki another memorable time on 18-19 November, is a great proof that the community is working towards the same goals and defiantly reaches globally recognised success! Look at the people behind SLUSH, community members and the amazing number of volunteers, the ones who make an impact and are ready to lift the Finnish nation to the next level.
People are all what matters.
All MY TWO CENTS: helsinkitimes.fi/columns/my-two-cents
Cover photo: Jussi Hellsten