“Know your shit” is the advice of one of the most successful female founders in Finland
From our blog / Article
Monika Liikamaa, owning this famous phrase, was the keynote speaker of this year’s last event. The event series, created in collaboration with Female Founders Suomi and Fusion Ecosystem, brought inspirational female founders to the stage to share their entrepreneurial journey highlights and best learnings.
More women become entrepreneurs, but there are still glass ceilings to break
In the last decade, female entrepreneurship in the Nordics has seen positive developments. Government initiatives, educational programs, networking opportunities, increased access to funding, role models, and the establishment of women-focused incubators have contributed to a more supportive environment. A cultural shift towards recognizing the value of diversity in entrepreneurship has also been observed. While challenges may persist, ongoing efforts across various sectors aim to advance and sustain the progress of female entrepreneurship in the Nordics.
Female entrepreneurs historically faced challenges due to gender bias, limited access to networks, and underrepresentation in venture capital. The venture capital ecosystem, especially, is still far from embracing gender equity. According to Pitchbook, in 2022, companies founded solely by women garnered just 2% of the total capital invested in VC-backed startups in the United States. In Europe, the percentage was even lower, at 0.9%.
However, positive changes include increased awareness, diversity-fueling funding initiatives, supportive ecosystems, policy advocacy, and notable success stories.
We need inspirational role models - here’s four for you
This year we have been honoured to hear inspirational stories of Sari Hurme-Mehtälä, founder of Kide Science, Meri-Tuuli Laaksonen, founder of Gubbe, Laura Strömberg, founder of Dagsmark Petfood and lastly Monika Liikamaa, founder of Enfuce. They all shared their valuable insight and experience of running successful businesses.
“When founding the Female Founders Suomi network four years ago, my initial thought was that we women need inspirational role models. If I see and hear from another woman, how she has become successful and built her entrepreneurial journey, that would help me and all other women to pursue our own dreams, be bold and shoot for the stars”
says Anna Pyykkö, founder of Female Founders Suomi.
What learnings did they share? Here’s the best ones:
1. Identify a Problem
Find a real problem that needs solving, and build your business around addressing that issue. Laura Strömberg found out that nobody produced pet food in Finland, so she decided to do that.
2. Passion and Commitment
Be passionate about your venture, as it will require dedication and perseverance.
3. Market Research
Understand your target market through thorough research to ensure there’s demand for your product or service. ”Know your shit”, like Monika Liikamaa would say.
4. Build a Strong Team
Surround yourself with skilled and motivated individuals who complement your strengths and weaknesses.
5. Focus on Customer Value
Prioritise delivering value to your customers. Happy customers can lead to positive word-of-mouth and repeat business. Gubbe is a good example of happy customers, they receive constant positive feedback from the clients!
Be open to adapting your business model based on feedback, market changes, and evolving trends. Kide Science have pivoted their business model more than once.
7. Financial Management
Keep a close eye on your finances. Budget wisely and plan for the long term. Laura Strömberg highlighted this: if this is not your strength, hire a professional to help you and focus on things where you are at your best.
Establish a strong network. Building connections can provide valuable advice, partnerships, and potential customers.
9. Learn from Failure
Failure is often part of the entrepreneurial journey. Learn from mistakes and use them as opportunities for growth. (Note: none of the entrepreneurs say that they have failed, they always say they have learned!)
10. Stay Resilient
Entrepreneurship comes with challenges. Resilience and a positive mindset can help you navigate tough times.
Fusion Ecosystem is an international alliance of 30+ growth companies. Driven by the core mission, create and grow thriving companies, Fusion co-founds and funds new consulting companies, fostering innovation and expanding the ecosystem. Fusion is part of Reaktor Group.
About the Author
Founder of Female Founders network in Finland. Co-founder of Crush Movement for women's empowerment and business equality. 15 years of sales and marketing experience, I've led projects, managed diverse portfolios, and successfully led teams of up to 80 people, including roles in renewable energy, Finland's largest fair corporation, a small event company, the biggest media company in Finland, and as a leader in EY's Nordic marketing engagement team.
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