Silicon Valley, London and Berlin and many others cities are considered as strong startup-hubs (Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking). Among countries, the picture is different. Israel, Estonia and Finland are usually on the top. Smaller countries have certain advantages in this race and I would also claim they have stronger incentives. They need to be innovative and entrepreneurial to manage in a tough global competition. Additionally, public policies can in small countries have a greater impact on the whole market and the public administration tend to be more engaged with creating national programs. Israel has its Office of the Chief Scientist and Finland has Tekes. Both are known and approached by more or less all startup-entrepreneurs in respective countries. And finally, the impact of a big success is in proportion much larger in a small country, take Skype in Estonia or Supercell in Finland.
Finland has a high level of education and a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship. Slush has created excitement towards growth companies among both natives and foreigners. We even have an initiative to gather most of all the startup activity to www.startupfinland.com. Our public institutions are also aware of the importance of supporting the birth of high-growth ventures. More could always be done. But a bigger risk than not doing enough is forming or keeping unnecessary restrictions. FiBAN has reached its goal of becoming the biggest business angel network in Europe and has most members per capita in the world. We are far more organized and active than in any other country if looking at paying members as well as amount of events. Our annual business angel investment sum per capita is not bad either but we are not always at the top.
Finland has it all what is needed to become StartupNation No 1 in the world if we put our effort on that. What is needed?
Literally that means investing enough money. We need to get all the relevant investors of this country to open their eyes for the opportunities with early stage growth companies. We can do this with good conscience, because data shows that this has been a very good asset class for all those with enough money and time.
What this means in plain language is at least the following:
And we are not talking about huge amounts of money. If we keep up everything that is already being done, the money increase needed is approximately 300 million euros per year. We would clearly take the first place in Europe if for example:
A happy new year is approaching. There are some positive signals concerning the Finnish economy and now would be a good time to be bold enough to put our limited resources where they matter the most. Are we ready for a common quest to the top of the world?
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