Everything good starts with an idea – the city’s business advisory services are meant for new entrepreneurs

Business Helsinki is a hub for entrepreneurs and business services, offering support to entrepreneurs and those wishing to become entrepreneurs in Helsinki in starting and developing their business. The aim of the business advisory services is to nurture successful businesses, innovations and solutions in Helsinki.
Laura Wathén and Katri Ylinen.
Laura Wathén (left) and Katri Ylinen founded the Darravapaa community with support from Business Helsinki. Wathén particularly praises the Starting a Business Info Event, which provided information on how to actually establish a company. Photo: Business Helsinki

An invention, a business or a better tomorrow. All of these require a good idea to start with. Meanwhile, taking the first step towards entrepreneurship can be challenging, as you might not be quite sure where your new path will take you. Becoming an entrepreneur can be easier than you think, though.

Business advisory services are free and strictly confidential

Business Helsinki offers confidential business advisory services free of charge to Helsinki residents. The city’s business advisors aim to make the first step towards entrepreneurship easy and provide personal service to anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur. The business advisors can help you find the services you need, as well as the correct authorities, activities and resources. 

“80% of companies that used the advisory services are still in business after five years, compared to around half of companies set up without the help of the advisory services. We are here to teach entrepreneurial thinking and make our customers understand the significance of a business plan and profitability calculations,” says Toivo Utso, the Head of the City of Helsinki Business Advisory Services.

Supporting a strong entrepreneurial culture is important for the city, as entrepreneurship is crucial to the city’s vitality. A positive attitude towards entrepreneurship is an important part of the strategy of the City of Helsinki, which emphasises Helsinki’s role as a solution-oriented enabler. The city’s economic policy also focuses on enabling the growth, renewal and diversification of entrepreneurship and business activities in Helsinki. The business advisory services play an important role in laying this foundation.

Starting a Business Info Events provide important basic information on entrepreneurship and how to apply for start-up grant

If you are considering entrepreneurship, the first thing you should do is attend a Starting a Business Info Event. Such events are held regularly, and they provide important basic information on both entrepreneurship and the start-up grant application process. After the event, you will be able to book an appointment for personal business advice.

“We started by attending a Starting a Business Info Event, where we were given a lengthy guide that went into great detail about what we needed to do next. That’s where we learned how to actually set up a company,” says Laura Wathén, co-founder and managing director of the Darravapaa community.

Wathén established Darravapaa Oy with Katri Ylinen for their Darravapaa podcast.

Business Helsinki assists entrepreneurs through the different stages of entrepreneurship

In personal business advice, new entrepreneurs receive support in preparing their business plan and profitability calculations. Business Helsinki’s ready-made business plan templates can also be used. In addition, those who have already established a company can discuss the development of their business with the business advisors.

“The most important thing about meeting the business advisor was having someone to talk to. Someone who is impartial and has business experience. We could go through the business idea with the advisor and receive feedback. That gave us the confidence to go ahead and try. Since then, I have assumed responsibility myself. Only when I encounter a problem do I contact Business Helsinki,” says Bernhard Gerlich, the founder of Austrian café and restaurant Good Coffee Company.

Business Helsinki offers business advisory services free of charge for all industries in several languages. In addition to Finnish and Swedish, advice is available in English, Estonian and Arabic, for example.

“The best thing for us was the help given by the business advisors. They explained in depth how to establish a company, how to start a business and how to keep it going. I also received business advice in Arabic, which made the process easier for me,” says Ahmed Al-Kayyat, an entrepreneur and the founder of Barber Mobile.

Business Helsinki in figures: 

  • 30 years of business advisory services free of charge 
  • 30,000 established companies 
  • 6,000+ customers per year 
  • 180 events per year 
  • Business advice in several languages 
  • 80% of companies that used the advisory services are still in business after 5 years .