A vision of growth requires the right attitude, and any company can be a growth company. Examples include the guys at lääkärihinta.fi that were part of Summer of Startups, as well as the brave migrant restauranteur who has just expanded my favourite lunch restaurant Zava. It’s all about choosing between the willingness to create new things and simply trying to survive and defend the current position.
It also relates to the approach to new technologies and business opportunities. It is more common now to see growth generated from digitalisation and the consequent opportunities for quick expansion into the global markets. From a historical perspective, Finns have had an aptitude though less of a willingness to take advantage of this opportunity, i.e. to grow their business. A classic example of this the underused potential and parochial attitude of the online retail businesses in Finland; this has led to the collapse of many well-known Finnish retail brands.
Espoo Innovation Garden is even gaining international recognition as a haven for growth businesses. People are talking about success stories such as Rovio and LeeLuu. The area is also home to numerous success stories that are not as well recognised by the public, including the pioneer of automated advertising Kiosked and the cybersecurity company Nixu. The most active entrepreneurship society for students in the world, AaltoES, keeps pushing new entrepreneurial young people onto the market; their passion to change the world is palpable.
Enthusiasm about growth should not, however, be limited to small businesses or to the frenzy over new apps created by technology startups. As the growth among the 500 largest companies in Finland is slowing down, new jobs and growth are now mainly created in small and medium-sized enterprises that invest in their future and take risks to change their markets. The big players should learn from the ideas and practices implemented in small and flexible companies; this is what Paulig did when it purchased the majority of shares of the pulled oats sensation Gold&Green. It is good to notice that a greater number of the pillars of our economy are building their future success by learning from and supporting smaller companies in initiatives such as the 11 accelerator programmes organised by the city of Espoo.
You’re welcome to join us!