When the baby boomers in the Nordic and Baltic countries were born, work was still found in the countryside. The generation nearing retirement got a solid education and moved to the cities to help build the Nordics and Baltics into the countries that top the world rankings. But as they’re retiring, they’re moving back to the countryside and dissolving their businesses. With it, we’re going to see a greater pressure on the next generation to create and build new companies.

As an abstract idea we know this is true, but it’s more startling when you look at the numbers. Yle News reports that a survey commissioned by the Federation of Finnish Industries found that 38% of Finnish business owners over the age of 55 are expected to sell their companies.

Twenty-eight percent responded they expected they expected their companies to stop all together. This translates to roughly 20 000 of the country’s 262,000 companies shutting down over the next several years, or around 10% of all Finnish companies.

The speed and size of this shift is mind boggling. I’m not familiar with any similar surveys in the rest of the Nordics and Baltics, but I would have a hard time imagining that Finland is the exception here – landscape is shifting worldwide as the baby boomers hit retirement age.

This new room should be looked at as a great opportunity for young people of today. If small businesses are the drivers of the economy, we need to see an even greater focus of entrepreneurship to replace the last generation’s batch of businesses.

We’re seeing this enthusiasm coming out of the region’s universities and accelerators, but clearly theres still a big gap to cover.

Top image Businessman jumps, © Tekes, Ellinoora Enkovaara