We requested a representative from each major political party to discuss measures to accelerate private startup investments, innovations, and growth all across Finland. The following party representatives participated: Ted Apter (Kok.), Juha Sipilä (Kesk.), Ville Skinnari (SDP), Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo (PS), Mari Holopainen (Vihr.), Janne Parkkila (Vas.), Oona Hagman (Liik.), Joakim Strand (RKP) and Peter Östman (KD).

The panelists raised several action points that would strengthen the startup investing ecosystem, eg. sustaining platforms that support new innovations and provide networking possibilities, reinforcing the entrepreneurship education in the education system, creation of regional funds, and enabling seamless communication between the key actors and stakeholders.

Some of the topics discussed already have public initiatives behind them. FiBAN sees these three as especially important for generating new startup investments and hence the creation of new jobs:

1. Building the next Silicon Valley requires world-class talent

Several panelists raised suggestions for attracting skilled talent from abroad, such as ensuring English kindergartens, offering a smooth work-related residence permit process, and fostering an inclusive Finnish society and work-life. Attracting new talent and keeping the existing ones would also contribute to the employment objectives of the Finnish Government.

2. Public procurement for innovation

One topic discussed was the unleashed market potential for innovative products and services through public procurement. Used inclusively in municipalities, the public procurements can help startups to promote innovation, for example, through piloting opportunities that let startups’ collect references and improve productivity. Hence, including more startups in the bidding process can help municipalities support a growing startup ecosystem.

3. Tools that incentivize private investments in growth companies

As touched upon in the conversations, angel investments are subjected to heavier taxation than investments made via the share savings account or venture capital fund investments. Incentives and tools, such as equity savings account broadened under angel investments, would allow more funds to be re-invested in growing startups. 

Another tool that has the potential to initiate angel investments is the co-investment fund proposed by the Steering Group for Domestic Ownership led by Juha Sipilä. FiBAN has been actively involved in the work of the steering group and has set out proposals for the goals and guiding principles for the fund. 

“It’s of utmost importance that municipal representatives work together in order to enable local startups to form fluent cooperation with the public sector. Every startup starts somewhere and the local community is the first step for successful entrepreneurship”, says Annukka Mickelsson, the Vice Chair of FiBAN Board and moderator of the panel discussion.

You can watch FiBAN’s municipal panel discussion from June 10th here, and June 11th here.  We thank all the panelists for bringing their expertise to the discussion and engaging in fruitful and open exchanges in the municipal panel discussions!

Read more: FiBAN Monthly: Building an Attractive Angel Investment Landscape

More information: 

Johanna Ahtiainen
Training and Development Manager, FiBAN

Amel Gaily
Managing Director, FiBAN