As you know, we believe that continuous learning and networking is the key to a successful career and confidence. Many international talents in Finland found their professional path in entrepreneurship, including us.
Entrepreneurship can be challenging, especially if you are a foreigner, and have a lack of knowledge about the different steps you need to go through.
● How to create and validate your idea?
● How to register your company?
● How to find investors and partners?
● How to handle your budgeting and taxes?
● How to market and sell your product?
These are the most common questions that the majority of people have before starting their own business. If you don’t have these questions, you should probably start thinking about them before you start making the wrong steps.
The Shortcut provided comprehensive support to us when we still had many doubts, uncertainty and unawareness. Their team inspired us to make an important step to launch the company and keep learning and developing.
The Shortcut is based in Helsinki at the startup mecca “Maria O1”. We had hybrid sessions during the B.Y.O.B. program and had to travel back and forth for three weeks. Even though sometimes it was challenging, but at the same time, it was a very rewarding experience, when you can change your surrounding, explore Helsinki, meet new creative and enthusiastic people from all over Finland!
Kristina Sweet, the CEO of the Shortcut, and Ling Choi, Digital strategist, shared with us the story of the Shortcut, its principles, mission, and diverse team. We also talked about Finland as a dreamland for startups, and the employment situation of international jobseekers. You will also find more information about the B.Y.O.B.program and who can apply for it!
- What is The Shortcut?
“ The Shortcut is an impact-driven organization dedicated to professional integration in Finland, where talents can upskill and build meaningful careers through learning in-demand skills. Owned by Startup Foundation, we are a sister organization to Maria 01, Slush, Junction and Wave Ventures. We mainly work with international business professionals in the greater Helsinki region. We have created nearly 50% success rates for our participants by adopting the startup spirit — being agile and entrepreneurial. The Shortcut started in 2015–2016 during the refugee crisis. Our founders understood how difficult it is to integrate professionally and socially into Finland. We train and match talents to meet the company needs. High-growth tech and startup industries have been an easier pathway for international professionals to integrate.
Our mission is to equip our community members to build meaningful careers. We are real, impact-driven, supportive and practical. We represent the community we serve. Since we have been through similar circumstances, we only want to offer practical solutions. Celebrating the success and good news of community members makes us smile and motivates us further!”
- Tell us about your multicultural team.
“We are a team of eight and each team member represents a nationality. The beauty of having a diverse team is the wide variety of perspectives that can make our work even better. We have all walked a version of the path our many in our network, it provides us with a genuine, authentic connection to our community. Food is somehow a hot topic among our team (naturally) and we get to taste many delicious dishes, definitely a positive bonus!”
- What challenges do international jobseekers face in Finland?
“Finland has been a homogeneous market for so long, thus not many companies are used to having an international team to cater the global market need. The business climate is still being developed. Low awareness of the benefits of having an international team from companies prevails in Finland, which affects many subsequent decision making. Finland is essentially a large country club, everyone knows everyone. Having a meaningful, wide network is critical to professional success. Invest in the time to grow your network,” emphasized Kristina Sweet.
- Why Finland is one of the best countries for startups?
“Finland has a very special setting. It is a tiny club with a strong talkoot culture, which has made many things happen in this country. People know each other and work together for a common goal. This has laid a very important layer of foundation for the startup scene. People help each other out in the Finnish startup ecosystem. Synergy and cooperation also happen organically, which is definitely the beauty of it. We also happen to have an estimated €6B of investment money waiting for the right ideas and teams!”
What is B.Y.O.B.?
“B.Y.O.B. stands for Be Your Own Boss. It is our 6-week entrepreneurial training program to equip aspiring entrepreneurs to create their own company by the end of the program. Anyone under 30 who has a business idea can apply. Building a meaningful career does not only mean getting a job. Understanding entrepreneurship is many’s aspiration, we want to give every business a chance. From our program, participants will obtain actionable insights to build their own viable company, be it a startup or a brick and mortar. 9 companies are armed from our 2020 cohort! We are very excited to see our alumni’s success and make their dream come true!”
More information about The Shortcut and their upcoming events can be found at: https://theshortcut.org/
Personal invitation to the B.Y.O.B. by Vickie!
Apply for the B.Y.O.B programme here: https://new.theshortcut.org/events/byob
Interviewer: Arina Lykova.
Interviewees: Kristina Sweet (CEO) and Ling Choi (Digital Strategist).
Photographer: Arina Lykova.