Finland’s tech scene is booming.
The country is home to successful startups like Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, Nokia, and multibillion-dollar gaming company Supercell.
Here are just a few reasons why Finland seems to be a great place to have a startup.
- The startup ecosystem is highly supportive of each other. For example, Rovio’s former Executive Vice President for games Petri Jarvilehto left to create his own startup called Seriously, another gaming company. However, there’s no bad blood there. Rovio is still rooting for Jarvilehto to do well in his new venture.
- The government provides financial assistance to startups. Finnish government-backed public agency Tekes invested 135 million in growth startups last year.
- Tekes has backed hundreds of companies since its founding 1983, including Nokia, Rovio, and Supercell.
- School in Finland is free, even higher education. That means there’s a lot of really intelligent people to hire.
- Everything is really clean in Helsinki.
- Finland hosts one of the most leading startup conferences in Northern Europe and Russia called Slush.
- In Finland, it’s OK to be different. At some startups, like Supercell, it has a strict no-shoes policy for employees.
- Saunas are big part of Finnish culture. There are an estimated over 2 million saunas throughout Finland. One entrepreneur told Business Insider that deals have likely been made in a sauna.
- Failure is celebrated in Finland. Rovio made over 51 games before reaching success with Angry Birds. Supercell, a multibillion-dollar company, pops a bottle of champagne when it fails.
- Finland has one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates. For the last 75 years, the Finnish government has provided a maternity package to expecting mothers. It contains a starter kit of clothes, sheets, bathing products, and toys.
- Bonus: Santa Claus’ home is located in Korvatunturi, Finland.
Disclosure: Finnish funding agency Tekes and Finnfacts, a non-profit media service organisation in Finland, paid for my trip to Helsinki to explore the startup scene.