Helsinki hosted on 5 November the National Entrepreneurship Forum. The event was attended by more than 120 government and business representatives. The Finnish Prime Minister, Antti Rinne, took the opportunity to emphasize Finland's need for foreign labour and entrepreneurs capable of creating wealth.
In his opening speech, Prime Minister Antti Rinne said one of the most important objectives of his Government is to have a much larger proportion of the population engaged either in gainful employment or self-employment.
"To promote self-employment, all entrepreneurial matters were incorporated into one entrepreneurship strategy in the government programme,” Rinne remarked.
Representatives of business organisations, companies, other interest groups and ministries met at this event organised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to discuss the significance of entrepreneurship and measures to promote it for sustainable growth and employment. The event launched the preparation of the Entrepreneurship Strategy included in Prime Minister Rinne’s government programme.
“The Entrepreneurship Strategy will help this Government to formulate a consistent entrepreneurship policy. A strategy always needs a goal. For us, a good and realistic goal is to make Finland the best place in the Nordic countries for entrepreneurs,” Prime Minister Rinne concluded.
In her speech, Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni -who is responsible for preparing the Entrepreneurship Strategy- pointed out that we need a comprehensive industrial and innovation policy that will diversify our economic structure and encourage companies to grow, renew and employ.
Employment by micro-enterprises
“The entrepreneurship strategy we are preparing will take into account companies of different sizes and young growth companies. It will include measures to improve the position of sole entrepreneurs, to facilitate employment by micro-enterprises, to develop value creation and business models in the creative industries, to drive growth and internationalisation in SMEs and mid-cap companies, as well as measures to promote exports together with industry leaders,” Minister Kulmuni said.
The Entrepreneurship Strategy aims to identify the key obstacles to employment and business growth, and to find ways to remove them.
In his speech, Prime Minister Rinne mentioned a number of key development areas, such as labour shortage, that he felt the entrepreneurship strategy should address.
“A growing number of companies report labour shortages. To solve this problem, we need better employment services that encourage unemployed people to fill vacancies. We also need foreign labour. From the beginning of next year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will be responsible for work-related immigration matters. This will also allow us to take measures to make work-based immigration more goal-driven”.
Conditions for economic growth
A stakeholder perspective was offered by Aki Kangasharju, Managing Director of the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA), and a panel of representatives from the business sector.
In his speech, Kangasharju addressed the current state and future outlook of entrepreneurship, and its importance for the Finnish economy.
The panel discussion at the event focused on factors affecting economic growth: new ideas, capital and skilled people. A panel consisting of Kari Jussi Aho, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rukakeskus Oy/Pyhätunturi; Tom Kaisla, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eilakaisla Oy; Nina Olander-Villegas, Managing Director of Beautyhair Sirpa Mansner Oy; and Anna Perho, sole entrepreneur at Blonde Ambition Oy, discussed the regulation affecting the market entry of new companies, competition situation, the functioning of the financial markets, and the matching of jobs with jobseekers.
Next steps in the strategy
Entrepreneurship strategy work will be carried out throughout Prime Minister Rinne’s government term.
The strategy is being prepared under the leadership of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, in cooperation with various other ministries and interest groups. The next step is the appointment of a broad-based steering group, chaired by Director Olli Koski from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
The objective is to complete the entrepreneurial strategy in early 2020, followed by large-scale implementation.