Week 49, 2011 – Insuring a small business
It was in April 2011. I remember when I and Seungho first took an information session at Yritys Helsinki, Helsinki region service centre for entrepreneurship, provides information and consultation helping establish small businesses. As a part of Regional Business Services for immigrants, they offer sessions in English, too. The session took about 2 hours and a lecturer talked about the various challenges, such as entrepreneurship, business idea, business plan, financing and profitability calculation, taxation, Startup-grant and insurance. The session turned out to be very helpful as it made us write down the business idea and the budgeting plan, which is undoubtedly essential but so basic that we did not really planned extensively.
Despite all the information and consultation, what were even greater were Starttiraha (Startup Grant) and YEL (startup insurance). Comprehending the instability of any starting businesses, Helsinki city and Työ-ja elinkeinotoimisto, Employment and Economic Development Office, together have devised a grant, Starttiraha, to support, encourage, and safeguard the basic livelihood of entrepreneurs during the initial stages of the venture (only to whom pass through the evaluation of documents and interview by the authorities), and the startup insurance/pension, YEL, which is mandatory for those who are applying for the Startup Grant, to secure startups against the case of collapse and provide the applicant with social welfare services for maternity-leave, sick-leave, and retirement.
Once you took the information session at Yrtys Helsinki, you can fill-in an online business plan which will be revised during and after consultations provided by Yrtys Helsinki. Then you visit Työ-ja elinkeinotoimisto and apply for startup grant. If everything is clear and in order you get the decision in two weeks or so, and once the decision is in your mailbox you have to visit Patentti- ja rekisterihallitus, National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland, and register your business in the given time. We did not wait any minute though.
We get to choose either to be hired or to build up own company at one point of our lives, which can be highly dependent on the environment–whether it encourages the people, whether it is capable of embracing failures, and whether it aids those who want to challenge again. We feel cared here, and we believe that this feeling would naturally lead people to consider their responsibility in the society as tax payers and further positive reaction they could bring back to the society as a citizen, thus it will create a virtuous cycle in the society at large.