Start-uPS · FoCus FInlAnd 2012 start-up that has grabbed media attention, not least a prominent story in The New York Times, makes the reasonable assumption that people are happy to let others do their dirty work for them. microtask happily observes that "simple and repetitive routines are frustrating to those busy with more challenging tasks". The system works like this: a customer forwards a large document or text processing task to microtask. microtask then splits the job up into smaller tasks using a proprietary software platform. The smaller tasks are dispatched to a pool of remote, global `microworkers'. They return the completed tasks which are then automatically reassembled as a completed whole. "in practice we work in document processing and test recognition, but the solutions could be applied to other processes," says ceo ville Miettinen. "most of our business is in the States, so we need an english language workforce. Small and simple tasks are outsourced to workers in South east asia, india, Pakistan, and china, for example. Since we are not tied to the physical world, the tasks can be assigned anywhere on the planet with an internet connection." microtask reaches this worldwide team of millions through distributed workforce providers. microtask has also embarked on an ingenious joint project with the national library of finland to make its archives searchable online. "in this case we have 85,000 volunteer finns involved in making available online every newspaper ever printed in finland," says miettinen. "This particular text recognition job would be impossible to do only using existing software." www.microtask.com IllustrAtIons: hArrY sePPälä A SHared a BurdEn Seed acceleratIon Gaudet also runs Aalto's Start-up Sauna that operates as an offshoot of the Garage. The Start-up Sauna describes itself as the leading seed accelerating programme in northern Europe and consists of training entHuSIaStIc GatHerInGS sessions and intensive training of selected teams under the Venture The link between education Garage "roof". and the workplace is strong. In "The Start-up Sauna was first the city of Jyväskylä, the Team called Bootcamp. At first it only Academy at the Entrepreneurcatered to Helsinki start-ups but ship Centre of Excellence at the we soon discovered there was not JAMK University of Applied enough deal flow to make the proSciences encourages students gramme strong. to launch their Plus, there were own cooperative many internaventures. tional teams, The Jyväskylä "WHatever you especially Team Academy do, do It to from Russia, is one of ten at your MaxIMuM knocking on our university level potentIal. door. Now when in addition to teams graduate, three at secondfocuS on eacH they feel like ary level around eMployee'S they are part of the country. StrenGtHS. an alumni class About two hunforGIve MIStaKeS. and meet on a dred students regular basis. are members reMeMBer tHat "The teams of eleven team you cannot do tell us the companies. MucH alone." programme Almost 40 per is essential cent of these to take their students launch business to the enterprises within two years of graduating. next level. We are on to our fourth Start-up Sauna after two years. It In Helsinki, the privately is now a valuable part of Finland's funded Aaltoes, Aalto entrepreneurial ecosystem." Entrepreneurship Society at Gaudet has observed an increased Aalto University, runs a Venture enthusiasm for entrepreneurship Garage and nurtures a start-up and a rejection of the hierarchical ecosystem based on grassroots models of big companies in the last action, individual initiative and couple of years. "lean practices". The Garage has "Before 2009, there were no its own premises at the Aalto University School of Technology entrepreneurship clubs in Finnish universities. Aaltoes in Espoo. Aaltoes stages social was the first to be established gatherings where the start-up and since then, almost all major community can exchange expeuniversities have created one. riences in an informal setting. "It used to be that people would "We're open to everyone, says work at a large firm for the rest of Natalie Gaudet, who works at "Always be diligent and honest. Whatever you do, do it to your maximum potential. Find yourself mentors, role models, and read life stories. Hire only people better than you to do specific work. Focus on each employee's strengths. Forgive mistakes. And remember that you cannot do much alone." the Garage. "You only need to be an enthusiast about entrepreneurship and start-ups." 30
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