This post is adapted from an earlier article in the online magazine ‘Ostrobothnia in English‘ written in June 2015.
It is often said that there is a strong Entrepreneurial spirit in Etelä-Pohjanmaa. I didn’t really understand what that meant until we started Xport at the beginning of 2014. I certainly didn’t know that I might have some of that spirit in me. As soon as we announced Xport to the world, people would say ‘Oh, you should speak to my friend’ and that friend would then take the time to offer some advice of their own, trying to help us find our first customers.
That is what gives South Ostrobothnia
its unique business environment.
At first I found it funny to hear people using this word so often, ‘how does cooperating help us grow our business’ I thought. I have learned, though, that cooperation does lead to business.
Apparently, this doesn’t happen in the same way elsewhere in Finland. When we talk to people from other towns in Finland, for example Tampere, they remark that things are done differently here.
We have also tried to give something back to the local community. Once a month, Xport publishes a list of the upcoming business/networking events in the region. Many people have told me they appreciate receiving this and have learned about interesting meetings and seminars from it.
I could give you many examples, but I’ll restrain myself to four;
- From the outset, we decided that Xport should try to cooperate with SeAMK (Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences). At first, this was by taking on an intern from their International Degree course. This led to a group of students recording a short promotional video for one of Xport’s services. In 2015, we have taken two more interns, with others due to start after summer – they need to complete a work placement in order to graduate, Xport gets the opportunity to meet and work with young, enthusiastic students from all over the world. This can only benefit both sides.
- Recently, Xport announced that it was launching ‘Xport Associates’. We have grouped together several people from the Pohjanmaa area, who have skills we don’t have e.g. languages, communication, training, sales etc. They have agreed that we can market their skills under the Xport name with the aim of attracting more customers to the company. It’s costs them nothing, it costs Xport little but the time to organise the Associates group but, again, should benefit both sides
- Xport has also asked several key business people from Etelä-Pohjanmaa (and beyond) to write a Guest Blog for XPORTblog. There is no reason for people to give their time, other than wanting to cooperate. We have published three so far, and I know there are more to. I hope those guest Bloggers realise how much we appreciate their support.
- Finally, away from my day job, I have spent the past nine months recording the Explore Finland Radio Show. I have asked people to give me their time and talk to me ‘on tape’; so far I can only promise that ‘I hope to build an audience’. The response from all those involved has been humbling. From Jenniina at EP-Matkailu who has helped me connect with possible interviewees, to those who have been interviewed. I can only offer a big thank you, and the offer that I will reciprocate the cooperation someday.
Learn more about the XPORTblog: http://xportblog.com
The podcast is taking a short break through the summer, but I’m not resting. I’m already recording season 2 and you can hear season 1 here: http://explorefinlandpodcast.com/category/show-episodes/
Mark Wiltshear, Co-founder, Xport