Aiming for the best

When Ehot Oy was founded, the aim was to provide the best quality child welfare services in Finland. It has also become a workplace where not only entrepreneurs but also children and staff enjoy themselves. 

Behind the company are three friends from school and work; Ville RouhiainenTommi Mustonen, and Matti Kortelainen. Ville already had entrepreneurial skills, Tommi is an expert in child protection, and Matti has particular experience in demanding child guidance work. 

– We became frustrated that things did not seem to be going in the right direction in the sector. We wanted to do things better, both for children and to improve the image of the sector. We also felt that better results could be achieved with the right human resources, the entrepreneurs say. 

In Mikkeli, the company has a six-place special care unit for children in very challenging situations who have been taken into care, and a seven-place unit for long-term residential care. The property also has two independent living apartments. 

Help to get started 

In the field of child protection, the process of establishing a company is relatively long. Heli Tavasti from the Enterprise Agency Mikkelin seudun Uusyrityskeskus stresses that this is when careful groundwork and early planning are very important. In such cases, strong professional skills are highlighted, as in the case of Ehot. 

Even though Ville already had previous entrepreneurial experience, the three entrepreneurs are grateful for the support they received from the Enterprise Agency during their start-up phase. For example, a suitable accounting firm was found through the Enterprise Agency. 

– This was concrete, invaluable help for us. As we have grown rapidly, having an expert accounting firm has been important. In addition, this contact later coincidentally led to an opportunity for us to expand our property base, says Ville. 

According to Heli, an accounting firm is a very important partner for an entrepreneur, so it’s a good idea to choose it carefully. The skills and resources of the accounting firm must be matched to the needs of the entrepreneur. 

– The decision is important, but not final, as you can also change your accounting firm if necessary, she stresses. 

A successful business in a demanding industry 

Their aim of the entrepreneurs is to provide a service that respects the child and takes into account individual needs. But at least as important is the staff, whose retention has become a matter of honour for the company. The company invests in resources, and there are significantly more staff than the licence would require. 

– We want to show the whole of Finland that it is possible to do this and succeed, and that this most demanding child welfare work can be done in a way that supports the wellbeing of the staff. The staff must also have the opportunity to develop their activities, the entrepreneurs say. 

– We created a comfortable workplace, but above all a childhood for the children, Matti emphasises.