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Interested in entrepreneurship? The University of Lapland, and Lapland University of Applied Sciences offer a joint service supporting students and staff on their path to becoming entrepreneurs. Our service places special emphasis on startup entrepreneurship. Get in touch!

What is startup entrepreneur­ship?

A startup typically refers to a young company that:

  • Develops a high-business-risk innovative product or service
  • Seeks a growth-enabling business model
  • Aims for rapid growth and international expansion.

Startups have the potential to be significant drivers of economic renewal and creators of new products, services (innovations), and jobs. However, startup entrepreneurship holds uncertainty and risk.

What kind of startups are there in Finland? See, for example, the member listing of the Finnish startup community.

Startup entrepreneurship in a nutshell:

Early stage

Limited resources, a small team, and a significant need for funding.

Innovation

Developing a new or better solution and striving to bring it to the market.

Customer-centricity

The effort to understand and respond to customer needs.

Growth orientation

Aiming for a scalable business model that enables growth.

Risk

Risks, tolerance for uncertainty, and readiness for pivots.

Entrepreneurship stereotypes

Entrepreneurship, especially startups, are associated with many outdated or otherwise inaccurate stereotypes.

An entrepreneur must be a young, self-assured, outgoing personality who makes quick, risky decisions.

An entrepreneur doesn’t have to have a specific personality type, as many grow their expertise in the workforce before starting their own business. Risks are an inherent part of entrepreneurship, as is thorough consideration and exploration of different options.

Startups evolve straightforwardly from one person’s idea into multimillion-dollar companies.

In reality, developing a business may involve years of work, various pivots, and learning from mistakes. Good ideas can originate from an individual, but turning them into practical applications is teamwork.

Startups always operate in the technology sector.

Startups have been founded across various sectors and industries, including healthcare, food, education, fashion, and many others. However, a significant number of startups across diverse sectors actively embrace technology to gain a competitive edge.

If a startup doesn’t grow into a global business, it is a complete failure.

At the core of startup thinking is the pursuit of growth. However, each entrepreneur has to decide what their business aims to achieve. It is perfectly acceptable to pursue the goal of running a business that is personally fulfilling and provides sufficient livelihood.

Innovation

Innovations refer to the creation and implementation of new products, services, processes, and more: the development of new and better solutions to address the challenges faced by individuals, organizations, and societies.

Innovations can be solutions to large global problems or small everyday challenges. Developing innovations requires creativity, perseverance, and collaboration. It also requires the opportunity to experiment with different solutions and learning from failures.

Characteristics of innovation:

New idea

A new idea that differs from existing ideas or significantly improves or expands upon them.

L

Implementation

An idea alone is not an innovation; it must be developed into a practical application, e.g., product, service, or process.

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Value

Innovation creates value for its users: it solves a problem or meets a need or desire.

New idea

A new idea that differs from existing ideas or significantly improves or expands upon them.

 

Implementation

An idea alone is not an innovation; it must be developed into a practical application, e.g., product, service, or process.

 

Value

Innovation creates value for its users: it solves a problem or meets a need or desire.

Examples of innovation types:

Technological innovation

A new technology that enables the development of new products and services, e.g. 3D printing.

Business Model innovation

A new or significantly improved business model, which is how a company creates value for customers, addresses their needs, and solves a problem for them in a financially viable way, e.g. Airbnb.

Design innovation

A novel or significantly improved design, usability, functionality, and accessibility of a product or service, e.g. the touchscreen on a phone.

Product innovation

A completely new product that addresses customer needs or a significant improvement to an existing product, e.g. a smartphone.

Marketing innovation

A new marketing approach or a novel utilization of existing practices or channels to enhance the customer experience, reach new customer segments, and increase sales, e.g. social media marketing.

Process innovation

A new or improved process that increases efficiency, reduces costs, and enhances quality, e.g. a process developed using lean thinking.

Service innovation

A new service that better meets customers’ needs, e.g. mobile banking and mobile payments.

Social or Societal innovation

A solution to social, societal, or environmental challenges and problems, such as poverty, inequality, and combating climate change, e.g. the maternity package.

Entrepreneurial skills

In addition to knowledge of their industry, an entrepreneur also needs basic understanding in areas such as financial management, marketing, communication, and sales. These skills can be acquired through various entrepreneurship studies, e.g.:


Aalto University’s open startup online course

Aalto University’s Starting Up online course (2 ECTS) provides fundamental knowledge about startup entrepreneurship. The course covers key concepts and themes, from defining problems to customer acquisition and team formation.

Entrepreneurship studies minor subject

Entrepreneurship Studies allows students to combine business skills with the entrepreneurial mindset, method and attitude. They will look at entrepreneurship from personal, societal and economic perspectives.

The studies explore topics such as business law, predictions and planning as part of profitable business, as well as the process of preparing a business plan and establishing a business.

Becoming an entrepreneur in Lapland online studies

The Becoming an Entrepreneur in Lapland MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is aimed at anyone interested in entrepreneurship. Currently only in Finnish, with an English version coming up.

Help and support

In addition to our university startup services, there are numerous support services, networks, organizations, and communities available to assist in becoming an entrepreneur, developing products and services, and seeking growth and internationalization.

Regional Business Services

Various regional business services offer comprehensive support and guidance, including refining business ideas and assisting in the establishment and development of your business. Kemi, Rovaniemi, Tornio.

Suomi.fi for companies

What responsibilities do you have when setting up a company? You will find the answer to this and many other questions in the Suomi.fi guides.

A must-read for those looking to start a business!

Startup incubators and accelerators

Startup incubators and accelerators are programs designed to assist startups at various stages of their development. They can provide support for idea refinement, company growth, office space, funding, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

Incubators typically support startups in their early stages, often from ideation to launch, while accelerators assist companies that are further along in their development.

In Finland, there is significant startup incubation and accelerator activity, along with thriving startup communities. These initiatives are not necessarily limited to local businesses, and are often open to all, e.g.:

  • Red Brick is an accelerator supported by Tampere University and the City of Tampere, offering free services to startups.
  • Aalto University’s accelerator program is also open to startups from outside the university.

Kasvu Open

Kasvu Open organizes free mentoring programs and events for entrepreneurs.

Team Finland

Team Finland network provides businesses with a smooth service chain, ranging from advice services to funding. The network offers tailor-made service packages for companies’ internationalisation needs based on the services provided by the network actors.

InfoFinland: Starting a business in Finland

InfoFinland gives information on what you need to take into account when starting a business in Finland.

Suomen Yrittäjät  entrepreneurship organization

Suomen Yrittäjät is an interest and service organization for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Finland.

Students can join as members for free through the student membership program.

The organization has regional and local associations, also in Lapland.

Lapland Chamber of Commerce

Lapland Chamber of Commerce represents the views and opinions of trade and industry in Lapland, works for a better business environment, offers business related services, and builds networks.

Development services by ELY Centres

ELY Centres (Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment) cover internationalisation of business operations, improvement of business efficiency and management skills, development of technology and innovation, updating of staff skills and training of new employees. ELY Centres may also contribute to the funding of development projects.

TE services

TE services (Employment and Economic Development Office) offer support for businesses, including, among other, start-up grants and entrepreneurship training.

EU networks and initiatives

The European Union has several networks and initiatives related to entrepreneurship and innovation, for example:

Startup Foundation

The Startup Foundation’s mission is to create more entrepreneurs, new companies, growth and internationalisation. The Foundation offers grants to support first time entrepreneurs or early career entrepreneurs.

    Lapland Universities’ services and development environments

    Companies can leverage the services and development environments at Lapland University of Applied Sciences and the University of Lapland. These development environments encompass physical or virtual spaces, such as laboratories, studios, workshops, or simulation environments, where products, services, and expertise can be developed.

      Residence permit to start a business

      Information from the Finnish Immigration Service on starting a business as an international student or researcher in Finland.

      Startup Refugees

      Startup Refugees is a non-profit organization that supports refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in employment and entrepreneurship.

      Startup events

      In addition to the most renowned Finnish startup event, Slush, there are smaller events in Finland, such as Polar Bear Pitching.

      Foundation for Finnish Inventions

      The Foundation for Finnish Inventions is a non-governmental (NGO) legal entity focusing on advancing new inventions, transforming inventions into innovation and commercially successful products and services.

      Sustainable business

      Sustainability in business refers to the minimisation of negative impacts on the environment and society, or to ensuring that a business’s impact on these aspects is positive.

      Sustainable businesses aim to be economically profitable, socially responsible, and environmentally friendly.

      Awareness of the social and environmental effects of business operations is growing, and many consumers value sustainably produced products and services. Companies that prioritise sustainability can benefit economically, for example, through improved reputation, customer loyalty, and reduced costs.

      Social entrepreneurship

      Social enterprises aim to have a positive impact on societal or environmental issues.

      The primary goal of social enterprises is not to maximize financial profit. They strive for profitable business operations but allocate a significant portion of their earnings or surplus to address specific societal challenges. These challenges can relate to the vitality of local communities, supporting sustainable development, culture, education, or promoting inclusion in the job market.

      Social enterprises prioritize responsibility and transparency in their operations.

      Social enterprises also include businesses that provide employment opportunities for long-term unemployed individuals or those with disabilities or illnesses that make finding employment challenging.

      Part-time and “light” entrepreneurship

      Part-time or “light” entrepreneurship can, at its best, enable the testing of a business idea and the commencement of business activities without the risks associated with full-time entrepreneurship.

      A part-time entrepreneur operates as the name suggests, alongside regular employment or studies. Those who are currently employed and are considering part-time entrepreneurship should take these into account:

      • Non-compete and loyalty obligations towards their primary employer.
      • The requirement to inform their employer about their part-time entrepreneurial activities.

      On the other hand, “light entrepreneurship” (referred to as ‘kevytyrittäjyys’ in Finnish) involves engaging in entrepreneurial activities without establishing a formal business entity. “Light” entrepreneurs invoice their clients through a billing service.

      Startup Services at the University of Lapland and Lapland UAS

      Support for University of Lapland and Lapland University of Applied Sciences students and staff in the early stages of startup entrepreneurship.

      Get in contact!

      Do you want to discuss entrepreneurship or perhaps give feedback on this page? Send a message using the contact form!

      Or contact me directly by email or phone:

      Paula Kassinen
      Startup and innovation specialist
      Lapland University Consortium

      firstname.lastname@ulapland.fi
      +358 40 4844 233

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