On centre-stage: Some inspiring women entrepreneurs from Finland
Finland is famous for the northern lights, its stunning Lapland, and largely for being the home of Santa Claus. Often ranked No 1 for being the ‘happiest’ country in the world, in Finland you notice things that point to this. The Finns have high incomes, there’s health care for all, and a superior education system too.
Finland is a great place to do business – both for foreign companies and entrepreneurs. Plenty of assistance is available. And, how is it setting up and running a business? Getting started is easy, and for entrepreneurs it can be a strong alternative to competing in the job market. Starting a business in Finland is great because there are many benefits like – low cost of living, the economic stability, high quality of life and a friendly and welcoming environment.
The Finnish welfare model has been recognized for its social benefits including – happiness, work-life balance, education and safety. As a small, open and ageing society, Finland perceives innovation as a national necessity. From a broader perspective, looking at female entrepreneurs in Finland –combining an entrepreneurial mind-set with life’s learnings, has
really led to global success stories.
Finland’s entrepreneurial edge, seems to be on a roll, in the current state of affairs. In the heated startup scene, there’s high action too.
Here are some inspiring women entrepreneurs from Finland.
> Carita Orlando, CEO of Women Entrepreneurs From Finland
Carita Orlando, CEO of Women Entrepreneurs of Finland, feels that although they are doing well internationally, there is still plenty of work to do. In 2012 was running her own successful accountancy company.
The current abundance of digital accessibility for establishing and running a business – part-time or according to anyone’s own schedule, have indeed held up the scope for female self-employment.
There are signs that modern entrepreneurship might be well suited to fit the needs of a highly educated person in between jobs and with small children, she felt strongly.
> Riina Laaksonen, Founder, Nordic Fit Mama
It was a personal experience that led her to entrepreneurship. After experiencing post-natal difficulties, Riina Laaksonen began to research physical discomfort experienced after giving birth. She found many disparate opinions and advice – which actually underlined the need for a one-stop-shop for information. This led her to establish Nordic Fit Mama, an online training
programme for mothers, who are recovering from pregnancy. Taking a holistic approach to mothers’ wellbeing, Nordic Fit Mama has also cultivated an active online community.
The impact – for mothers, receiving fact-based guidance from trustworthy sources proved to make the phase much smoother.
> HeliKurjanen, CEO, Lune Group Oy Ltd
Personal challenges met by female entrepreneurs can be more of the everyday variety – like HeliKurjanen. The Lunette reusable silicone menstrual cup tackles the problem of excessive waste produced by traditional feminine hygiene products. While the ecologically sound idea itself is nothing new, HeliKurjanen was intrigued, when she first noticed one of the existing cups available in the market.
There were small things like she didn’t like about the design, and went ahead to change it. And, her company went ahead to make a significant global impact -both in sales and altruistic efforts to aid women in developing countries.
> Miisa Mink, Founder, Driven Woman
Miisa Mink, the founder of the Driven Woman initiative is an entrepreneur, author and blogger with a mission. She wanted to show women all over the world that – making mistakes is not that dangerous. What started as a blog in 2013 grew into Driven Woman, a hugely popular global “lifeworking” network for women – with groups and regular events in London, Switzerland, Helsinki, Singapore and even Australia.
Driven Woman offers women from all industries and life situations, the opportunity to join a local group – to discuss individual objectives and goals in life and find tangible solutions to move forward. Success requires a lot of work and time; it’s about taking small steps – is her opinion.
> Linda Liukas, Founder, Rails Girls
Author and entrepreneur Linda Liukas has done much to challenge gender stereotypes which continue to be prevalent in many industries. Through her work in Rails Girls, a global non-profit community that teaches coding to girls and women in workshops around the world.
Continuing from her Rails Girls work, she wrote and illustrated the Hello Ruby book series – exploring contemporary technologies and teaching programming to children. The enterprise has grown into an entire platform of books, games, exercises and apps. This soon led her to bag a spot on the European Forbes 50 list in 2018.
> Henrietta Kekäläinen, CEO, Carbo Culture
Henrietta Kekäläinen, founded mehackit – a global provider of creative technology training, learning content and pedagogic.
Then her recent achievement came as CEO of Carbo Culture, a Silicon Valley-based start-up making bio carbons out of bio-waste. This is based on the scientific finding that with better land use, through bio carbons, forestation and other factors – a third of human emissions can be removed from the atmosphere annually.
The rise of companies such as Carbo Culture highlights the fact that – as the world becomes smaller, the defining questions become bigger. And, an urge to answer the big questions is a common feature among young entrepreneurs.
In her view, Finnish entrepreneurs are a lot of honest, smart and persistent people with a lot of integrity for their work.