Start-uPS · FoCus FInlAnd 2012 nurturing entrepreneurS of the future MANy FiNNiSH BuSiNESS STuDENTS rEjECT THE COrPOrATE lADDEr iN FAvOur OF STArTiNg THEir OWN ENTErPriSES. WHATEvEr THEir PrEFErENCE, THEy HAvE BEEN ABlE TO ENjOy A COMPrEHENSivE PrEPArATiON FOr TODAy'S BuSiNESS WOrlD. A Sixth grade teacher Juhani Rämö: Offering new ideas to receptive children TEXT tIM BIrd BusinEss VillagE coVErEd By randel WellS phoTos anttI KanGaSSalo fresh example at the very early phase is a mobile "Business Village". The concept supplies a role-play framework in which fifth and sixth graders choose professions, spend time working, receive salaries, and buy and sell products and services. "We want to teach the youngsters about business and make working life more visible," explains Tomi Alakoski, managing director of the Business Village. The village construction can be set up in any city, and real companies are involved. Teachers get a one-day induction and a ten-lesson plan for their students that include job applications and interviews. "It wasn't difficult to sell the idea to the students," says Juhani Rämö, 6th grade teacher at Käpylä primary school in Helsinki. "It helps that the kids are up and moving around learning rather than sitting in a classroom." SHarInG experIenceS The Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Finland is available to students contemplating taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. The JA-YE programmes encourage volunteers from the business world to share experiences with students, demonstrating ways of creating and managing wealth as well as ways in which entrepreneurship can strengthen the wider community. But great programmes are only as good as the teachers who put them into practice. In the OPE-TET an acronym for "teachers' familiarisation with working life" programme offered by the city of Seinäjoki, teachers spend a few days with a company or organisation. They use these working life experiences to motivate their students. Once they have taken the jump, young entrepreneurs are supported in the form of the annual Timangi award. This honour is presented by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy to business professionals between the ages of 18 to 32 with a first prize of 50,000 euros. "Timangi had a great effect on us," says the 2010 winner Jaakko Alasaarela, CEO of Oulu-based Internet marketing and data outfit ZEF. "The prize gave us the faith to work even harder to obtain our goals and dreams. Competition is part of an entrepreneur's life." Alasaarela shares advice to would-be entrepreneurs. 28
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