Similar values at the heart of business
Suvi Siekkinen (on the left) and Heli Kinnunen (in the middle), who are entrepreneurs in the Oulu area, value their work and customers. Their desire to provide high-quality child protection services led to the founding of a joint company, Arvostava Oy.
Suvi and Heli both have extensive experience in child protection. Suvi has a bachelor’s degree in social services (YAMK), and Heli is a community health nurse and psychiatric nurse. They got to know each other while Heli was doing her internship at Suvi’s former place of employment. Setting up their own business was a natural choice when they realised how well they worked together.
– We could do this work for ourselves since we both like it and are good at it, Suvi said to Heli, pitching the idea of a joint venture.
Courage to take action
The responsibility and freedom associated with entrepreneurship appealed to both, although they initially hesitated about the financial risk. They received encouraging feedback and invaluable assistance from the Enterprise Agency Oulun seudun Uusyrityskeskus, for example, in preparing a business plan and profitability calculations. Once they got the green light from the bank, Arvostava Oy was finally born.
The company’s operations are based on its strong values, which also support a profitable business.
– Suvi and Heli have extensive knowledge acquired through education and work experience and a clear vision of how they want to operate. They have good personal chemistry and the courage to take action, say business advisor Anneli Rinta-Paavola.
The formal establishment of the company was a quick process. However, the amount of bureaucracy in acquiring permits was surprising, and it took about a year for the children’s home to open. These moments required a genuine entrepreneurial spirit, and eventually, Suvi and Heli came up with the idea of expanding their range of services to include home services for families with children. This allowed them to work while they were waiting. The home service remained a permanent part of Arvostava’s operations and currently employs three people.
– We value each and every one of our employees, we all perform our work with full commitment and dedication. Our company would not succeed without employees who are committed to our values, Suvi and Heli say in unison.
However, entrepreneurs do not have to handle every part of the business themselves. For example, Suvi and Heli have hired an external accountancy firm to manage their payroll and other financial tasks. This allows them to focus more on what is most important and what they do best: working with customers – families and children.
– Entrepreneurs need to constantly monitor their environment, both customers and competitors, and be ready to respond to changes. Risk tolerance and industry knowledge are important, just as with Suvi and Heli from Arvostava. Many entrepreneurial skills, such as sales and marketing, can also be learned, Anneli points out.
Entrepreneurship has its challenges, but their passion for child protection motivates Suvi and Heli to give their best every day. For them, entrepreneurship is a choice based on values.