During the recent ArcticStartup and AES trip to Silicon Valley, there was an interesting lesson to be learned. It was commonly talked that it is not so much the countries competing for startups, but cities that are wanting to build ecosystems enabling growth startups to be founded and prosper. This is the approach the city of Helsinki is taking towards growth companies with Enterprise Helsinki’s new Startup Acceleration program. Simply put, it’s a free advisory service for all high growth oriented entrepreneurs and startups as well for networks of angel investors and experts that want to work on building these growth companies.
Here are some of the areas they are going to help with:
1. Free and continuous advisory service (no bias)
– check the business model & potential, suggestions to follow
– how to better communicate your team & startup (aka. plan, deck & pitch)
– how to lower the risks in those areas that it’s possible.
– how to find needed contacts like: partners, other team members and angel investors
– how to navigate in Finnish support systems (not as good as fixing the systems, but it’s a start)
2. Build network of private people and organizations that want to join new startups with their own risk
– quick access to this network
– help build the startup ecosystem overall
– provide tools to manage information and matchmaking
– organize own events and support & communicate about events of others
3. Provide tools to help the negotiations, networking and growth process
– standardized templates to present information among the people in the ecosystem
– web service to manage networking, contacts & process
– valuation statements to help get the discussions going
What are the requirements of joining this program as entrepreneur? You need to have a business idea and passion for growth. That’s it. If you only have one or the other, they can see if there are other teams to join or ideas to follow. From there on, they start to test the potential of the business idea and the team.
This screening phase will take place in a very natural and informal manner. It will include a joint look into the network of people the startup should be presented to. Also, it can include a simple analysis of the team and how it is able to perform.
How are the startups paying for the program? Program itself and enterprise helsinki services are free for entrepreneurs and Startups, however if some people or companies will offer to join any startup, at that point equity is used. For some reason entrepreneurs think it’s easier to try and find investors for money and then use this money to buy services or resources needed to build their business, when in fact it can be much easier to build resources with equity directly. All of these are to be agreed directly between the parties and not by enteprise Helsinki. However they can help and participate on the negotiations if requested.
For this to work, all parties must practice expectation management. This is something Enterprise Helsinki will help in, including the valuation of the company. All parties must understand the valuation for this equation to work.
Startups and network partners looking to learn more about the program should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +358 (0)9 310 36360. You can follow a live stream of the program kickoff at 4pm EET (Finnish time) today, 24th of November at YritysHelsinki.