What came out of Kasvu Open for companies in Porvoo
The largest company growth sparring program in Finland, the nationwide Kasvu Open, will be organised for no less than the ninth time. In the program, the country’s best experts and investors advise growth-hungry companies in business development. Applications have opened on 12/11/2019 and will close on 11/3/2020.
– Kasvu Open offers companies a free opportunity to improve their business. That is why we challenge every entrepreneur interested in developing their business to apply to join the competition, Fredrik Pressler from Posintra encourages.
You can apply to Kasvu Open by taking part in your own region’s Kasvupolku. Kasvupolku is a two-day event where the company receives free sparring for developing their business, marketing, financing and internationalization.
At the end of a Kasvupolku, a Runway Day is held, where companies pitch their business ideas and growth plans to the jury and other companies. This time all Kasvu Open participants will also be invited to further thematic sparrings.
The jury-selected winner and recipient of an honorable mention will enter the final, a concluding event held in autumn 2020 in Jyväskylä, the two-day Kasvu Open Carnival.
The national final is a combination of fairs, seminars, an evening program and a final competition, where the most promising companies in the Startup and Start Again series in terms of their growth prospects are selected and the Finnish Growth Prize is awarded.
Posintra has been a regional partner of Kasvu Open since 2015.
– During our years of cooperation, 119 companies from Eastern Uusimaa in total have applied to join the different Kasvupolkus of Kasvu Open. 57 companies have entered the sparring, of which 12 have progressed in the Kasvu Open processes into the top 100 group of finalists, Pressler says.
Arkista paskaa: From an annoyance to a successful company
– Kasvu Open forced me to stop and think where I am, the founder of the Arkista paskaa (Everyday Shit) company Jenni Timoska (in the picture) recounts.
Arkista paskaa came into existence in October 2016. – I did graphic design for various companies and often ended up repeating ”fuck this shit”. The projects took a lot of time, and nothing was good enough for the customers. One weekend I decided that I wanted to do something of my own and not keep asking others whether this will suffice, Timoska says.
Timoska founded the vittumitapaskaa.fi online store and uploaded a few postcards to the site, as well as the Samaa paskaa joka kuukausi (Same Shit Every Month) calendar ”in case some loon stumbles upon the site”.
In November, a link on an annual calendar of positive thoughts was shared in the naisyrittäjät (women entrepreneurs) Facebook group, and Timoska linked her own calendar in the comments section and went off to see a movie with her husband.
– We watched the three-hour The Unknown Soldier. When I opened my phone after that, 50 orders had already come in.
Practical tips from Kasvu Open
Timoska did well last year. – I was about to die of orders.
Timoska turned to Posintra in order to get help for her growing pains. In the process, it was suggested in Positra that she participate in the Kasvu Open competition.
Timoska filled in the application and prepared a pitch of a few minutes on her company.
– That alone helped. At the time I kept doing, doing and packing, now I had to stop to think about where I am.
Ten companies from Eastern Uusimaa were selected for the Runway, from which Arkista paskaa was selected for the final as the recipient of an honorable mention.
– It was quite a fun event. I was pregnant, though, so I could only manage the mandatory parts of the program. I did, however, get practical tips from the event and we talked about the trademark that I managed to implement.
Timoska recommends the competition for everyone who wants to develop their own company.
– You meet people from many different fields in Kasvu Open. They pose questions that you wouldn’t even think of yourself. I made contacts that I have been in touch with afterwards, too.
Did Kasvu Open bring the growth that was hoped for?
In January, a son was born to Timoska, and husband Tero Timoska has taken on responsibility for running the company. In March, a new shop was opened in Tarmola.
100–200 orders are dispatched a day, and there are more than 30 retailers. In addition to Tero and Jenni Timoska, the company has 2 packers and two helpers, the youngest ones of the four children in the family, the 4-year-old and less than 1-year-old children.
– Next year we plan to tour various summer events in our executive car, a 1973 Fiat 600. We move forward on the childrens’ terms, in small steps. At the moment we’re unable to do more.
Hamari: Finnish auditorium equipment from Porvoo to the world
– Finns have traditionally been modest at marketing their products. In Kasvu Open, you won’t succeed if you can’t praise your activities. It was a good place to practise pitching, chief executive of Hamari Auditorium Furniture Solutions Jari Jääskelä (in the picture) says.
There are auditoriums by Hamari, which operates on Runeberginkatu in Porvoo, across the world, e.g. in the John F. Kennedy Center in the USA, Casa Da Musica in Portugal, Sugamo Gakuen in Japan, the Swedish Parliament House, Kulttuuritalo and Musiikkitalo. Around 65 % of the orders come from abroad.
A focus in marketing from Kasvu Open
Hamari took part in Kasvu Open in 2017. – We thought there can’t be any harm in additional recognition, even though the competition won’t reach our main customers: big international architectural firms, Jääskelä says.
Taking part got Hamari to polish their marketing and Jääskelä to practise making a sales pitch. A company introduction video was also made for the competition together with the Porvoo video communications company Ansa Productions.
– Making a video was a good thing, Jääskelä says. – With it, we create a quick image of our company and its products.
Hamari, among three Porvoo companies, was selected into the group of 100 finalists.
– I do recommend taking part for everyone who wants to learn how to do visible marketing. We Finns have a lot of potential but we’re terribly modest. Sometimes even a small increase in marketing can boost sales considerably.
Did Kasvu Open bring growth?
– Our business requires years of preparation, customer service and product development. For five years, we have been developing our breakthrough product. For us, this is the year the bottle is uncorked. This is where it starts, Jääskelä says.
Kasvu Open is one stage in the lengthy and thorough preparatory work.
– The competition perhaps made us realize better that we’re a service company. We have a long experience in solving the customer’s problem. In the international arena, we’re that small and tailoring alternative. Service is in our core.
Read more about Kasvu Open
Companies that have taken part in the program:
Oy Pace1 Tools Ltd
Mecanil Oy Ab
Uusi Kaupunki Kollektiivi Oy
Rex Nordic Oy
Hyvinvointia Kotiin Oy
Be Limitless Oy
Ansa Production Oy
Skandinavian Food and Bakery Ab
Mergus Yacht Trans Oy
Robbes Lilla Trädgård
Weldmec Marine Ab
Hamari Auditorium Furniture Solutions
Myrskylän Savu Oy
Meritta Bra Oy
Ansa Production Oy
Oy Aurora Data and Systems Ltd.
Kirjapaino M&M Oy
Wistec Training Oy
Learning Media Finland Oy
Pieni Suklaatehdas Oy
Haven Porvoo osk
Hoivax & Avux
Old Town B&B
Hyvinvoiva Netta Turunen
Liljendalin Kala ja Palvi