In recent years, startups have become familiar to Finns thanks to the Slush startup event and successful Finnish companies such as Rovio, Supercell and Wolt. Startup entrepreneurship seems to many to be a passionate, creative technology entrepreneur who is renewing the Finnish economy and entrepreneurship.
However, Henri Koskinen’s dissertation in the field of sociology shows that startup entrepreneurship is a continuation of the long-lasting change in the Finnish economy and society.
In his research, Koskinen analyzes the significance of entrepreneurship in Finnish government programs in 1979-2015, in the entrepreneurial activities of Finnish universities, and in Finnish startup guides and non-fiction books of the 2010s. From the materials, the texts of the “ideal entrepreneur” are analyzed.
– Startup entrepreneurship crystallizes the change in the meaning of entrepreneurship, which has already begun at the turn of the 21st century, Koskinen says.
During the 21st century, entrepreneurship has increasingly been seen as an innovative, highly skilled activity that generates economic growth.
– In the political debate, in the 21st century, entrepreneurship no longer means a certain way of doing things, but has become part of the idea of generating economic growth through innovation. Growth entrepreneurship plays an important role. The ideal entrepreneur is starting to resemble an innovative startup entrepreneur, Koskinen says.
The background is Finland’s transformation into a so-called knowledge economy at the end of the 20th century, which aims to compete with high know-how, innovation and new technology.
In the knowledge economy, universities have become more closely integrated into national competitiveness and in recent years have sought to promote entrepreneurship in many ways. For example, various business accelerators, business incubators and communities have been set up in connection with universities.
– In such environments, entrepreneurship is seen specifically as startup entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a passion and self-realization and at the same time inspiring teamwork, Koskinen says.
Also in Finnish startup guides and non-fiction, startup entrepreneurship is also set as the opposite of traditional entrepreneurship to the traditional Finnish mentality. According to Koskinen, this confrontation is a key part of the self-understanding of startup entrepreneurship.
– Entrepreneurship is not just an independent, disciplined job, but a relaxed and pleasant togetherness and buzz, Koskinen says.
At the same time, startup entrepreneurship is presented as a necessary direction in the new reality after the collapse of Nokia.
– However, entrepreneurship is very fragmented in Finland. Entrepreneurship consists of farmers, the self-employed and many employers. Most Finnish companies are still one-person companies in the traditional industry, Koskinen says.
There are few start-ups and the importance of startups in the labor market and in the economy as a whole is much smaller than their publicity. It is therefore important to look critically at what is meant by entrepreneurship in a given context and what goals it seeks to achieve.
– Frankly, it can be said that promoting entrepreneurship in celebratory speeches does not mean that we want more taxi drivers or hairdressers, Koskinen says.
Henri Koskinen, M.Sc. (Eng.), Presents his dissertation “Towards a startup-Finland? The Changing Meanings of Entrepreneurship in Post-Industrial Finland ”to the public at the University of Turku on Saturday 14 May 2022 at 12 noon (University of Turku, Publicum, Pub 1 lecture hall, Assistentinkatu 7, Turku). The dissertation can also be monitored remotely here.
The respondent is a professor Eeva Jokinen (University of Eastern Finland) and the custos is Professor Suvi Salmenniemi (University of Turku). The event is in Finnish. The field of the dissertation is sociology.
The University of Turku actively monitors the coronavirus situation and the instructions of the authorities. The university will update its guidelines as necessary. Instructions and links can be found at: utu.fi/koronavirus
Source: The Nordic Page