My Career: From Start to Finnish
The Finnish startup ecosystem is focused on solving real problems, says Erdal
Get to know more about Erdal via LinkedIn.Erdal Kilinc
Erdal Kilinc, Turkey, CEO and Co-Founder
Erdal Kilinc faced a major decision ten years ago. His wife had received a job offer which required leaving their native of Turkey and moving to Finland. Open to new experiences, the couple didn’t take long to say “why not” and decide to make the jump.
Finding meaningful work in a new country wasn’t without difficulties, so Erdal chose another route and turned to entrepreneurship. He has a technical background, with a master’s degree in industrial engineering and project management, and tapped into this expertise to start a data-focused event management company. Today Erdal lives in Espoo, Southern Finland, and runs a global team of employees.
I wanted to start a company in Finland because… I didn’t get a response to my job applications, not even decline responses. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and started a company.
I already had experience in entrepreneurship in Turkey, and I knew how to get started. The first step in Finland was to start networking with like-minded people. I started studying for a master of business administration (MBA) at Aalto Executive Education to learn more about entrepreneurship and meet people with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Erdal enjoys all nature-related activities, including beekeeping.Erdal Kilinc
The most challenging part was to register the company, prepare the applications in Finnish and understand the legal requirements. Once I managed to register the company with Vero [the Finnish Tax Administration] and PRH [the Finnish Patent and Registration Office], the next challenge was to find the first customers.
The main difference in working life in Finland compared to other countries where I have worked is…a better balance between my job, personal life and family. Work life is also more flexible here.
The Finnish startup ecosystem is…more stable in growth and resilient [than in Turkey]. It is focused on solving real problems.
Physically the Finnish startup ecosystem is centred in a few places, especially in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Maria 01 and A Grid are two of them. Our first office was at Maria 01, where the community is really active and friendly, and focused on helping each other and helping each other's growth.
“The best thing about being an entrepreneur is getting to challenge yourself every day.”
The organisations that have been helpful for my professional growth in Finland include… Aalto University. I did my MBA there, and it was a blast for me to develop my knowledge and skills. It also helped me to acclimatise to the Finnish way of business.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur is… getting to challenge yourself every day and every minute.
The advice I would give to anyone considering starting a company in Finland is… to make sure you already have your core team before starting a business.
Starting a business is not a side project. It takes time and dedication. If your core team members aren’t fully dedicated and cannot co-operate and work well together, then failure becomes your destiny.
Erdal moved to Finland ten years ago and has since settled in Espoo.Erdal Kilinc
What I enjoy most about living in Espoo is… that life here isn’t too fast-paced.
It is also a city that welcomes foreigners. The City of Espoo has many services and dedicated people to welcome foreigners, help them to settle down and moreover help them to get into society. Around 20 per cent of Espoo residents are from foreign backgrounds, and this diversity helps a lot in being social and networking in personal life.
The hobbies that I have really enjoyed practising in Finland are… forest walks, berry and mushroom picking and camping. I also love beekeeping and gardening. Helping my beekeeper
friend to harvest the honey is one of the best passe-temps during August and September in Finland. In short, I enjoy all forest and nature-related activities.