“In Finland, less is more” – David Sternhufvud, CEO & Founder of Prepaird
Let’s get started by briefly introducing David. He is from Sweden, where he graduated from Lund University with a degree in Business Administration and Finance. In 2014, David founded a start-up after working in business and finance controlling projects for big corporations worldwide. His start-up Prepaird is a HR Tech company focusing on matching jobs with talents based on competencies.
So how has David shaped his path from working for a global corporation into the Helsinki start-up scene? The next question that comes to mind is why a Swedish professional would relocate to Finland to establish a business in Helsinki. Of course, as in many stories, “love is always part of those decisions”, David laughs. However, there is much more.
The story starts in the early 80’s when David visited Helsinki for the first time with his father who participated in a conference. From that time, his memories of Finland were linked to a cold weather, delicious seafood and a visit to Temppeliaukio Church. In this sense, nothing has changed, but it was enough to make David return.
In 2016, on his return to Helsinki, David experienced so much more compared to his first visit. He encountered a super vibrant and booming city. “People here are constructive, goal orientated and have a let’s do attitude.” After working from home for a while, David received a tip that changed a lot. Funnily enough, the tip came from the Business Sweden office. The tip was short and simple: ‘Maria01’. This connected David and his business with a local cluster of resources and professionals under the same roof. He describes the membership super friendly and supportive, where it is possible to always ask for help and meet people willing to help. Overall, the spirit of this community is comparable to ones existing in big metropolitan cities seen by David throughout his career.
To build a network and get people to trust you in Finland requires working on your personal relations for a while. Risk willingness in Finland, especially when it comes to investing, is something that David would like to see more. To enable that, David encourages others to get out there and be actively involved using the help infrastructure provides. For example, participate in events, which play an important role in Finland than for example compared to Sweden. Here you can find people ready to get things going with a let’s do it attitude.
Nevertheless, willingness to do things comes with a demand: “Be fair, square and be yourself. Aim to do as good of a job as you can do. And remember, you also need to be able to deliver, otherwise you are out”, David summarizes.
It’s not only about professional possibilities, it’s also a better quality of life that David feels he can achieve in Finland. It’s about the infrastructure and how the modern society works all the way to small details. In Helsinki there is a possibility to live close to the sea which is an important factor for David who has born in the coastal city of Gothenburg.
“Helsinki feels like home”, he concludes. I thank David for the interview and let continue with his day.