As in previous years, the City of Helsinki, Economy and youth TAT, and the 4H association for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area will be providing young people between the ages of 15 and 29 with the opportunity to try entrepreneurship this summer. Applications for the two separate programmes were open earlier in the spring and, for the duration of April, young people have been introduced to and trained on the basics entrepreneurship. The participating youngsters have created their own business plans with support from experts and mentors, thanks to which they will be able to kick off business activities in the summer and bring their business ideas to reality. The programme also includes a €300 summer entrepreneur voucher.
The popularity of the TAT and 4H programmes has been increasing significantly. Despite the shorter application period and budget constraints, 20 young people out of 90 applicants were selected for the 4H programme this year, and the same number was admitted to the TAT programme from among nearly 100 applicants.
“Getting applicants has not been a problem in Helsinki, and there is demand for significantly larger programmes,” says Joni Nissilä, Entrepreneurship Coordinator for 4H.
Tella Krigsman, who is involved in the summer entrepreneur programme for TAT, agrees: “In our programme, the number of young entrepreneurs has almost doubled from last year nationwide as a result of the new digital implementation.”
As implementers of the programmes, both Joni and Tella are looking forward to a summer of learning experiences and new ideas for everyone involved.
The young people selected for the programmes come from diverse backgrounds, which also ensures a wide range of business ideas. Some of the participants have experience in entrepreneurship and a true entrepreneurial spirit, while others are just now getting their feet wet. Some of the youngsters may continue their activities after the summer, as has been the case in previous years. In this article, we will hear about the thoughts and ideas of six young entrepreneurs heading into the summer season.
Varied business ideas from wellness services to selling handicrafts
Milja Haltsonen and Oona Hänninen will use their business to produce wellness services, such as meditation and astrology, for busy people. Both of them were interested in entrepreneurship, and a mutual friend brought them together. “We had already started thinking up ideas together when we came across this programme and saw it as an amazing opportunity to learn, since have no prior experience,” Hänninen says.
One service idea is to provide work communities with recreational days which can include a relaxation session, vegan lunch and talks related to well-being. “We believe that the coronavirus emergency has made many people want to stop and self-reflect. We aim to customise a service package based on customer needs,” Haltsonen says, describing the company focusing on green values.
In terms of entrepreneurship, Haltsonen and Hänninen are interested in the freedom to do things their way and adhere to their personal values while working towards a better world. “Freedom also brings responsibility, but we are confident that we can handle ourselves. We will also receive support and training for this purpose through the programme,” Hänninen says.
Jaakko Tulisalo, who is planning to sell handicrafts, applied for the TAT summer entrepreneurship programme to gain experience for his path towards full-time entrepreneurship. Tulisalo, who will be graduating as an artisan from vocational school, makes handicrafts that are traditional among the visually impaired, such as weave baskets, brushes and small wood items. He needs someone with unimpaired vision to help with bookkeeping and marketing.
Tulisalo has experience in business activity from the last couple of years, and he has completed an entrepreneurship qualification at his vocational school. Still, the programme has been useful: “I learned things I did not know before and can now handle many things independently.”
The programme helps him financially and with preparing a business plan. “I intend to sell my wares at marketplaces and in the countryside, and to find retailers in a number of locations. I will also take time off in the summer, but I aim to become a more full-time entrepreneur in the autumn,” Tulisalo says, describing his plans.
Accelerated housing trade through virtual reality and a washing service for cars and windows
Ael Korpinen, who is about to graduate from ninth grade, learned about the 4H programme through his school’s study advisor. “I immediately knew that this was the opportunity to realise the business ideas I already had. The summer is also particularly well suited for this kind of thing,” Korpinen says.
He provides 3D viewings for housing trade as a service. Korpinen sells his idea for housing units that do not provide this kind of opportunity for viewing. His customers also include real estate agencies: “I can provide the service at a low price compared to competitors.” The service involves photographing the housing units, after which algorithms stitch the images together to form a virtual reality environment.
Korpinen finds that entrepreneurship comes very naturally to him and sees the programme as good support: “I got positive feedback when I presented my idea to the mentor, which gave me a boost and some added motivation.”
Rand Kavalo and Elias Laiho, who wash cars and detached house windows as a service, already new each other from going to the same upper secondary school in Töölö. Both have some entrepreneurial background from selling textbooks, but this summer they will go into business in earnest for the first time through the 4H programme. “I heard about this from our study advisor, who informs us about a variety of opportunities,” Kavalo explains. “We would have started our business anyway, but especially the financial support was useful,” Laiho adds.
The boys offer their services mostly in North Helsinki, and both are excited to get to work. “I am especially looking forward to customer service and getting to see my own handiwork,” Laiho says.
Both boys see the programme as an important opportunity for young people to try out entrepreneurship and hope for more arrangements of this kind. “This is particularly useful for those who want to try out entrepreneurship but do not know much about it,” Kavalo says.
Economy and youth TAT: https://www.tat.fi/
4H association for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area: https://www.pks4h.fi/
Check out the city’s services for new entrepreneurs on the NewCo Helsinki website.
In the picture: Milja Haltsonen’s (left) and Oona Hänninen’s company, supported by the Youth Summer Entrepreneurship Program, provides welfare services for people’s busy everyday lives.