Finland’s Minister of employment and the economy, Mauri Pekkarinen, has announced last week that Finland will be adding more capability to commercialise innovations with a €45 million fund. The fund is put together from governmental organisations such as Tekes and Finnvera’s seed financier Vera.
The aim of the new fund is to attract more international talent from overseas to help the companies grow and also enable more targeted investments. One of the ways international talent is attracted is the financial upside. The goverment is willing to invest into these companies, if a private sector individual (person or organisation) invests. Thus the financial upside is the invested amount in the company.
Not that much new there, but they have managed to renew and rationalise the investment process somewhat. Before, the investment decisions were made in the public sector organisations. With the new fund and model, the investment decisions will be made mostly by the market and private sector. So in essence, when before the public sector investments were leveraged with private sector investments – the tables have turned in this new model. Something definitely worth experimenting with.
However, The Economist had a good piece on entrepreneurship titled Heroic Entrepreneurs that sheds some light into the Finnish ways of work. Direct quote follows:
If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes almost all the difference.’ You can build as many incubators as you like, but if only 3% of the population want to be entrepreneurs, as in Finland, you will have trouble creating an entrepreneurial economy.
So in the end, it might not have nothing to do with the amount of money around if people do not want to go down that road. This is a difficult and a very interesting question that has yet to be answered. Which goes first, the culture to create businesses or the ecosystem to support entrepreneurship?