Reijo Kangas: Courage, risk-taking, and funding – and yes, also speed


The first two of these are something that all of Finland needs, and in addition to them, the backbone of our country, small and medium enterprises, need funding. Speedy funding. Now is the right time to dig up those product development ideas from the bottom drawer and put some speed into them. However, recent experience indicates that growth, and especially willingness to take risks, are too modest. Why is this?

I submit that we public funders and accelerators of growth can help Finnish SMEs much better than before. The recently published Team Finland description of services is the best compilation of services promoting growth and internationalisation of domestic companies that has ever been seen. I admit that the entire spectrum has been too complicated, but now we are moving quickly forward. In addition, for all of us public players, the description of services works as an excellent overall picture of our services. Much still needs to be fine-tuned, but the Finnish team is sharpening its claws.

Digitality is a factor that is inevitably changing the world. The change is at hand right now, and Finland simply must not fall to the wayside. Last week Tekes opened an application process for projects developing digital business activities. It is a lookout for projects of all types: from hard technology to new digital applications in traditional fields. We are also setting up a programme for the industrial internet, or should I say, the business internet. But let's not wait for it. I challenge all SMEs regardless of what industrial branch they are in to digitalise their business activities and to seek growth and international markets here and now.

It pays to test quickly. Demo and pilot financing from Tekes is the right way to speed up productisation and commercialisation, and to get feedback on the function of a product directly from the customers. Feel free to conduct thorough tests for users and use on the product, or test how well new material works with it. And learn about new markets with the help of Team Finland Explorer funding.

Go for it – courage, risk-taking, and funding – fast!

M.Sc.(Tech), MBA Reijo Kangas started as the director of Tekes funding for small and medium enterprises at the beginning of September.

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