The City of Helsinki’s business advisory team serves both new entrepreneurs and existing companies. The goal is to create new, profitable business and jobs in the city.
Business advisory is always on the entrepreneur’s side
If you are planning to start a business, do not hesitate to contact the City of Helsinki’s business advisory services before even starting operations. The City of Helsinki’s business advisory team coach new entrepreneurs in business development, producitisation, and assist with profitability and investment calculations. Service design aids to boost marketing and sales. It is pertinent to preserve sufficient time for planning business activities and a company registration.
According to an impact survey conducted in the summer of 2021, 85% of business advisory customers felt that the service challenged them to think about their business and its profitability beyond expectations.
“The promotion of profitable business is the guiding light of our operations. As a non-commercial operator, we are on the same side as entrepreneurs,” says Hannele Kostiainen, Head of Services of the City of Helsinki’s Business Advisory.
The customer base of business advisory services is very diverse. The services are often used by persons planning to start a business in the service sector. Many customers are highly educated, so there are also many companies offering expert services, some of which aim to the international market from the very beginning. Business advisory services are offered in several languages, as 40% of customers have an immigrant background. About one-third of customers are under 30 years of age.
One-fifth of the business advisory customers are already active companies. Business advisory services give entrepreneurs tips on, for example, business development, profitability, growth and internationalisation.
Many business owners will retire in the next few years and, as a result, there have been more questions about company acquisitions. There are many changes of ownership, especially in cafés, restaurants and brick-and-mortar shops. Changes of ownership often benefit the buyer, the seller and the customer alike. At best, the retiring business owner gets a successor and the buyer a ready-made clientele and a functioning company. Business advisory services offer support to those starting out as entrepreneurs through a change of ownership through counselling and also through training and networking opportunities.
Helsinki also believes in young entrepreneurs
The City of Helsinki’s business advisory services pay special attention to promoting entrepreneurship among young people. For example, there is close cooperation with educational institutes: information on entrepreneurship is distributed to young people and services are marketed through educational institutes. The threshold for entrepreneurship among young people has been lowered, for example through a summer entrepreneurship programme.
The summer entrepreneurship programme is a free-of-charge summer programme for 15–29 year olds to encourage them to try out entrepreneurship. During the summer, the young people participating in the programme acquire a great deal of knowledge and skills related to entrepreneurship. The summer entrepreneurship programme provides information on entrepreneurship and enables participants to develop characteristics important for entrepreneurs. In addition to theory, participants get to test their business idea in practice with the help of a guided learning environment.
“The results of the summer entrepreneurship programme have been fantastic. A full 100% of last year’s participants would recommend the programme to their friends,” says Business Advisor Maria Korpisalo.
In the summer of 2021, 96% of the participants in the summer entrepreneurship programme started business activities, and 72% think that they will engage similar activities next summer. During the summer, many young entrepreneurs did a lot of traditional service work, such as painting and yard work. Half of the companies sold various products.
The summer entrepreneurship programme is by no means the only support offered by the City of Helsinki to young entrepreneurs – all business advisory services are also open to young people.
“I want to encourage young people to seek out our services already when they are considering entrepreneurship. We do not judge – our mission is to promote entrepreneurship by sharing information,” says Korpisalo.
The ways of entrepreneurship are undergoing major changes, and many young people in particular initially work as light entrepreneurs. However, there are dozens of providers of light entrepreneurship services, and the fragmentary information may be difficult to parse. Business advisory services also provide help and pre-digested information related to light entrepreneurship.
Working together is at the core of future business advisory
Like the rest of society, business advisory has taken a big digital leap due to the pandemic. Over the last year and a half, both advisory services and events have been implemented remotely. Face-to-face service will gradually return, but some services will also be offered remotely in the future.
Cooperation is at the heart of business advisory be it then with new entrepreneurs or partners.
In supporting new and existing companies, business advisory work together with external and City of Helsinki internal partners. The need for networking and peer learning among entrepreneurs is met by developing services further. In addition, entrepreneurs are offered a wide range of additional services through an extensive partner network, for instance financial management, training, financing, or start-up services.
You may book an appointment with a business advisor and subscribe to the newsletter on the NewCo Helsinki Business Advisory Services website: Business advisory services – NewCo Helsinki
Photo: Jussi Hellsten/Helsinki Marketing