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Finland: Innovate in the coolest and happiest startup hub

StartupBlink has launched the Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2019 that now ranks 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide and is available for download here.

Finland offers a vibrant and friendly startup ecosystem with accelerators, angel investors, VCs and strong innovation support by the government. Finland is an excellent test bed for innovative, ambitious startup teams and a great place to scale the business globally. While you are growing your startup business, you can enjoy your life in the happiest country in the world*.

One of the engines behind the growth of the Finnish startup scene has been the hugely successful gaming and software industry led by companies like Supercell and Rovio. Today, startups’ business areas range from gaming, software, ICT and digital services to health tech, environmental and energy industries.

The capital Helsinki ranks number one in the world in local connectedness among founders, investors and experts.** The Finnish startup community is very open and eager to share experience and networks. The co-working locations, run both by cities or municipalities and also private actors gather the teams to work together towards challenging goals. One example is Maria 01 in Helsinki; it is a former hospital that was converted to a startup home base with minimal rebuild. At Maria 01 there are currently 105 startup companies and 10 venture capital companies and there are plans to expand so that the number could be multiplied and also the R&D activities of large companies could expand to Maria 01. Again an indication of the culture of working together.

Startup ecosystem welcomes also foreign startup entrepreneurs to Finland. For innovative startup founders coming from countries outside the European Union, Finland has a special residence permit (Startup Permit). The permit gives an opportunity to talented growth entrepreneurs to build a startup company in Finland and to become part of Finland’s startup ecosystem. EU citizens don’t need even that when moving to Finland. To pave the way for an easy start in Finland for all foreign startup teams a service package called Startup Kit was launched. It provides information both for business and personal life.

The Finnish born annual startup and tech event Slush is a student-driven, non-profit movement originally founded to change attitudes toward entrepreneurship. In 2018, Slush was organized in Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, and Helsinki. It has grown from a 300-person conference in 2008 into one of the leading global startup event of its kind in 2018. In 2018, Slush Helsinki gathered over 20,000 attendees, 3,100 startups, 1,800 investors and 800 journalists from 130 countries.

Statistics collected by Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN) and Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA) show that in 2018 Finnish startups and early-stage growth companies raised the highest amount of funding to date, as the total financing figure raised hit 479 million euros. The trend of foreign investors actively investing in Finnish startups and early-stage growth companies continued developing positively. Finnish companies were able to attract a fresh record-high figure of 291M€ in foreign financing. The number of foreign investments has increased more than tenfold since 2010. Business Finland is a public organization that is sharing the risk with startup founders and investors with grants and loans. For example, Tempo funding (50 000€ grant) is meant for accelerating the early-stage growth of startups. Business Finland funding to startups amounted to 153M€ in the year 2018.

You can browse Finnish startup companies by industry, turnover, founding year and region in the Business Finland website, which offers a database with a comprehensive overview of the Finnish startup scene.
*source: UN World Happiness Report 2018
**source: Startup Genome 2018 Report

Written by Business Finland.