A few weeks ago two blog posts went viral in Finland. “Finland is not for the ambitious” and “Finland is for the balanced” were written to show to perspectives on foreign life in Finland. I am not intending to judge any of these, rather would like to open up what came to my mind while I was reading them.
As I see it, Finland is for the ambitious and for the balanced.
Finland is for the people, who are willing to work for what they want. We all know it is not going to be easy. It is not easy anywhere. “The fence is not made of sausages here either” – says the “Hungarian wisdom”. Before you would think that this is a political connotation: no, it is not. But then… what do I really mean? You do have to work to be appreciated and acknowledged in Finland. And it refers to both, foreigners and Finns.
As a foreigner, you have to play your cards well: network with people, make connections, and cooperate. You have to get familiar with the language and face people who will not accept you. Nothing will happen if you are doing more of the same all the time, and wait for the manna to drop onto your laps.
And as a Finn? You have to open up and accept that it takes time for everyone to get used to an environment. But also you have to realize that perhaps it’s an advantage to have a more diverse society.
See, if you have ambitions, no matter how amazing inventions are born in this country, a land of 5.6 million people probably is not going to be a big enough market for your goods. As every place in the whole wide world, Finland needs different perspectives, experiences and new knowledge for developing. Finland needs arguments. Finland needs positive and negative experiences. A new perspective can bring something amazing to this place.
Interculturality has become increasingly relevant in public awareness in several parts of society and research areas. International organizations, politicians and researchers in a number of different fields have been discussing about this subject in the world, where mobility has become an essential element and where the national boundaries that have been set up mostly in the last two centuries seem to be almost non-existent anymore. Without being political, you need to realize that in a world like this, the country cannot grow without international talents.
The competition is big, and our products, solutions and methods need to find the way out of Finland to become world-class innovations. The Finnish governmental entities provide you a plenty of help if you want target foreign markets. Why would you waste this opportunity and why wouldn’t you ask for help of a foreign talent who knows the market?
There are plenty of cultural differences to overcome, and deciding to hire a person from another culture might seem risky. But: people who have experiences and interests in common fields are going to be able to communicate with each other regardless of their origins or backgrounds.
So what are waiting for? Step out of your comfort zone, and open up for new people! You need to learn a lot, and make several attempts. You might not find what you are looking for at first, but you can learn from bad experiences too, right?
Now there is a possibility to give it a shot:
Emerging Markets Ignite [part of Think Africa week and SLUSH impact] on 9th of November in co-working & events space HUB13 at Helsinki will take an attempt to match foreign talents from the emerging markets with Finnish tech startups.
The goal of the initiative is to benefit both parties – increase employability of foreigners in the fields they are passionate about, as well as give startups an opportunity to conduct market research, develop business connections, execute sales, and build products with people from different countries, with the knowledge of different languages and the local culture and business ethics.
There has been a lot of talk about how foreigners are getting an education in Finland and leave the country unable to find a decent qualified job. Emerging Markets Ignite ambitiously aims to fix that, even though in a small scale. We believe that Finland is for the ambitious and for the balanced, and we want to prove that.