Young startup energy

BUSINESS AS USUAL: START UP SPIRIT, MIIKA HUTTUNEN/VES

In the fall of 2014, a small group of people gathered to discuss how come there is no proper start-up scene in a town than encourages innovating. To fill the vacuum, they founded the Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society, familiarly VES, which is like a piece of Silicon Valley right amongst the global companies in the region. The energy of startups, together with their low hierarchy, speed and tremendous determination to be the best in the world has also taken the previous VES Chairman Miika Huttunen by storm. We asked him to tell us why Vaasa is a good starting platform for startups.

“VES we can!”

“The core of our way of thinking and our activities is the entrepreneurial spirit. That means that we want to continuously develop as persons and think a little bigger than others. Our vision is to make Vaasa a more ambitious and entrepreneurial place. Large energy technology businesses have existed in Vaasa so long already that the startup world is not really close nor present here. We want to give an alternative to people’s lives and careers by creating good undergrowth for development of startups. We help growth entrepreneurs put their ideas into practice through various kinds of events, education and networks.”

Startup opportunities in the Vaasa region

“Vaasa has pretty awesome opportunities for founding growth companies. They have built up a damn fine life-long entrepreneur’s story starting from entrepreneurship education for teenagers. There’s always support provided, such as West Coast Startup, Startia and VASEK, and good resources for bouncing off ideas with others. Our team has a lot of experience from various organizations. If we can’t help, we know who to call. As regards angel investors, there’s still work to be done but I do see opportunities, especially in the energy sector. Energy technology companies and startups that arise from here really can get global interest and funding. The vision of VES is to be one of the most important Nordic startup-ecosystems by 2019. I don’t think that’s in any way impossible.”

Is founding a startup worth the while?

“Founding a startup and working in one are something that you can learn the most out of, especially when you are young. Seeing your footprint and being able to realize something you regard relevant is in my opinion absolutely great. The media gives you easily the kind of picture that it is always super cool and easy to found a startup. Well I can tell you that it isn’t. It is damn difficult and tiring but in principle the best you can do. People make their dreams come true with a tight team. It is valuable if you get a startup to become something you want to think about in your spare time as well. That’s why I’d like to say to everyone who is about to found a startup or jump into such a community to go for it! It doesn’t suit everyone but I believe that for the majority it gives a lot more than it takes.”