Igniting the spark of innovation for start-ups in Finland
Last week the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association
(EVCA) reported healthy signs in the Nordic investment market: €1,9 billion invested in 450 companies (25% more) in the first half of 2010, an increase of 23% compared to the second half of 2009. While we don’t see a detailed breakdown for ICT companies, we know that many start-ups in that region still have issues getting access to early stage capital.
Finland’s story is quite typical of many smaller EU countries: above average levels of innovation, great entrepreneurs; but limited availability of funds, especially in their early years.
So we are delighted to announce that EUGA – the European Union Grants Advisory service, which helps early stage companies secure public funding – is now available to the start-up community in Finland.
EUGA fits well into the European Commission’s vision: over the life of the service, we’ve helped over 100,000 small businesses gain access to more than €350 million in grant funding. These companies go on to invest in R&D, product development, training and hiring new staff and expanding into international markets.
EUGA is just one of the ways in which we work with the investment community and it’s the perfect partner for BizSpark, our programme that helps start-ups with technology, support and market visibility.
Exporting Great Ideas
Hanne Tuomainen, our Microsoft BizSpark representative in Finland: “As is the case in any small country, companies need to develop their products quickly and target customers and partners outside the domestic market fast if they want to succeed. The culture of entrepreneurship and innovation is rising fast in Finland and I keep on meeting a growing number of start-ups with global ambitions from the very beginning. Of course, tools like cloud computing can help them achieve this, but through EUGA, we can also assist them with access to capital.”
Focusing on BizSpark
So exactly what will we be doing with EUGA in Finland?
For the implementation of the EUGA project, besides our Finnish partners within in the Finnish BizSpark network, we’ve collaborated with local company Finnish Consulting Group International (FCG) who will be facilitating the whole grant application process.
Today’s small businesses have the potential to be tomorrow’s business leaders, so this is a winning situation for everyone – entrepreneurs, investors, and Governments.