Entrepreneurship and growth in the forest industry 

Strong expertise and a well-functioning concept have made Nälkäviulu a success story, creating employment for a significant number of subcontractors in addition to its own employees through a network of cooperation. 

Becoming an entrepreneur was an easy decision for Anssi Nykänen when he noticed that UPM Metsä was looking for franchisees to carry out and sell forest management work. And when he managed to lure his former colleague and neighbour Antti Ojala to join him, Nälkäviulu Oy was born. 

– I spent some time thinking that if I was ever going to make a change in my working life, now was the time to do it. The final decision was made when we were able to negotiate a slightly bigger contract, and it was clear that two men could make a living from this, says Antti. 

There is a touch of humour in Antti’s vision, as the company’s name, which refers to a bucksaw, dates back to the scarcity era, when loggers barely made a living working on smelters, using an old-fashioned bucksaw. The name of the company was a bit of a fluke, as other name ideas were not accepted in the trade register. However, the name has since been praised for its memorability. 

Moving forward efficiently 

According to Antti, franchising made it easy to start a business. Many things had already been thought through, such as contracts and many operating models. 

– Of course, the package was not quite finished, there was still some development work to be done, and there still is. It also brings meaning to our work. We could get help if we needed it, but we haven’t needed it much, because we’re very familiar with the industry. We have a total of 30 years of experience in the field, and we also had some experience in entrepreneurship, says Anssi. 

One of the things the entrepreneurs did at the Enterprise Agency before setting up a company was to get confirmation of their calculations. They also received tips on how to apply for a start-up grant. 

Business advisor Sanna Hietalahti-Husu says that everything was really ready for Anssi and Antti. 

– Anssi and Antti were very well prepared, and they complemented each other perfectly as individuals. They had knowledge of the industry and an understanding of business economics. They also had good networks and some entrepreneurial background. The process was therefore straightforward and efficient in this case. 

Profitable growth 

Nälkäviulu has grown rapidly and profitably. The services include a wide range of forest management-related work, which is contracted to UPM Metsä in the North Savo and North Karelia regions. The company’s operating model is based on a network approach, whereby the company creates employment for a significant number of subcontractors in addition to its own employees. 

– The entrepreneurs also take care of the growth and production of Finland’s largest natural resource and carbon sink, the forest, with a high-quality and professional approach. Environmental values are strongly embedded in the company’s day-to-day activities. This creates significant impacts, Sanna says.