The world is full of buzzing tech hubs and colossal metropolises, but none of them is the planet’s happiest capital with the best work-life balance. When you add on top of that the world’s leading startup event Slush and Maria 01 – soon to be the biggest startup campus in Europe – Helsinki competes totally in its own league.
Helsinki is a frontline city pushing global change, and entrepreneurship is a powerful way to change the world and make an impact. Helsinki’s objective is to be Europe’s most captivating location for innovative startups and the most attractive knowledge hub for companies and individuals wanting to make world-changing business.
One of the ways to accomplish this is the tight collaboration between the City of Helsinki and Slush. The value of Slush is considerable to Helsinki and entire Finland, and that is why the city makes increasing investments in the co-operation.
“The global startup community's interest towards Helsinki grows continually. Slush and our expanding startup campus Maria 01 are important factors in this success, but one of our assets is also the quality of everyday life we have to offer. It’s easy to accomplish a great work-life balance in a city where residents for example spend an average of only 26 minutes commuting, which is significantly less than in the majority of business capitals in the world”, says Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
Helsinki steps up efforts to attract international talent
Helsinki is bolstering its international reputation among talent. One of the barriers for Finnish growth companies is attracting talent. Helsinki wants to improve city’s image as a place to live.
“Majority of foreign experts who have settled in Helsinki are satisfied with the quality of life here. We’ve noticed that when we do get the people companies are trying to recruit to experience Helsinki for themselves, their enthusiasm ignites and they are more likely to sign a contract”, says Laura Aalto, CEO of Helsinki Marketing.
A new marketing campaign City as a Service (CaaS) was launched in September together with local companies in the technology sector. As part of the campaign, Helsinki has now invited 15 tech pros around the world to experience what true work-life balance can mean. The demo trip takes place during Slush week, on 19–22 November. Helsinki’s CaaS project has well-known partners: Supercell, Smartly, Slush, Relex, and MaaS Global (Whim).
Helsinki intensifies cooperation with Slush
The new deeper cooperation between the City of Helsinki and Slush focuses on making Helsinki better known and on supporting the growth company field. This is strongly visible especially to the event’s international visitors.
Slush and the City of Helsinki are also working together to make Helsinki the leading birthplace of companies that are solving the most urgent global problems of our time.
“At Slush, we believe that entrepreneurship is one of the most effective ways to create change in the world. Entrepreneurs have always been problem-solvers. Today, the problems our world is facing are more complex and urgent than ever. Startups that have a product that solves a big problem as their core business will be among the fastest routes to solving the challenge at scale”, says Andreas Saari, the CEO of Slush.
Slush’s and the City’s joint campaign “4 Reasons” brings up growth entrepreneurship as a way of solving significant problems in the world. Additionally, Helsinki has its own campaign theme in support of the message called “A worklife worth living”, which speaks of the City’s top-level quality of life and the work-life balance that is rooted in functionality.
Helsinki is the main partner of Slush’s new Ready to Launch event, which focuses on product development. The Nordic Countries have for long lacked a visionary event of this type and Slush is now launching the new event in collaboration with the City. The event arranged at the Cable Factory on 20th of November is expected to attract around a thousand visitors.
This year, it is also possible to take a look at Slush's offerings without an admission ticket. The semi-finals of the Slush100 Pitching Competition is for the first time arranged in a public location, in the middle of the Kamppi shopping centre on 20thof November. At the event, early-stage startups challenge each other in a pitching competition. Helsinki is a partner of the event.
Maria 01 drives ambitious expansion to become Europe’s largest startup campus
Startup campus Maria 01 is built at a former hospital complex in downtown Helsinki. Maria 01 is a home to over 130 start-ups and scale-ups, 12 venture capital funds, several ecosystem supporters, and over 1,100 members.
At the moment Maria 01 drives an ambitious expansion to become Europe’s largest startup campus. The campus will expand from its current 10,000 sq m space to 70,000 sq m by 2026. The future campus will attract approximately 650 new operators and new jobs for at least 6,000 people.
Maria 01 is owned by the owners of the Nordic’s biggest startup conference Slush, the City of Helsinki and Helsinki Enterprise Agency.
The coolest tech hub in Europe
TOP 4 reasons to do business in Helsinki:
1. Funding culture
Finland has Europe´s highest level of venture investment relative to GDP and one of the largest business angel networks. (In relation to GDP, FVCA and FiBAN)
2. Ease of doing business
Finland ranks as the number one country when it comes to business environment. (Global Innovation Index 2018)
3. Founder connectedness
Helsinki is the best ecosystem for local connectedness and community in the world. (Startup Genome 2018)
4. Quality of life
Helsinki is the best city for work-life balance and the capital of the happiest country in the world. (Work Life Balance Index 2019, World Happiness Report 2019)
In addition to these, Helsinki has in the recent years reached the top spot or one of the spots next to it in several large-scale international quality of life and working life rankings. This is explained by, among other things, equality, community spirit, mutual trust, work-life balance, low hierarchies in working life, family benefits, and traffic and public transport functionality.
YouTube – City of Helsinki: A worklife worth living
(Original release date of the article 18.11.2019)