How Tampere became a unique startup city — Four secrets shared

By Veera Reko

Photo by Hanna Leppänen

If you are looking for the next innovation capital in Finland, head to Tampere. The city of a thousand bricks has totally changed its face in recent years.

After the Nokia and Microsoft layoffs, Tampere had thousands of unemployed people, and the situation started to get worse. Then, somebody turned on the light bulb, just like in 1882 when Tampere was the first place to use a light bulb in the Nordics. So what made this change possible?

The city started to offer services for startups and startup communities.

After Nokia and Microsoft, the Tampere area had thousands of ICT professionals and a lot of knowledge which was not being put to use. Many skilled workers soon figured out that they would have a great chance to start their own business. The City of Tampere was then awake and started to support new businesses and startup activities by building new services for startups and by accelerating their business possibilities in the Tampere area.

Tampere invests in young entrepreneurs.

Tampere is not only investing in existing startups, but it’s also growing a new generation of young startup entrepreneurs. Y-kampus and Proakatemia are good examples of how students in Tampere are taught to design their own life by enhancing entrepreneurship and learning through it. Proakatemia is a school for entrepreneurs and Y-kampus operates in all of Tampere’s universities, bringing students closer to businesses and entrepreneurial-minded mentors from different fields.

Entrepreneurs and professionals started to collaborate.

Tampere currently has an active startup ecosystem, which enriches the city’s startup life by organizing events and meetups and by offering entrepreneurial-minded people possibilities to collaborate. There are multiple different organizations that offer co-working spaces for startups, for example.

Last spring, people had the idea that Tampere needs even more cooperation. That was the start of Tribe Tampere, an open community for all people dedicated to serve Tampere’s startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem. So far, thousands of professionals have met each other through Tribe events, giving rise to plenty of new business ideas and models.

Successful startups and an active startup ecosystem attract more skilled workers to the city.

On 26 April, Tampere will host the Silicon Vikings´ Startup World Cup Finland Nationale Finale. The event is held in the Pakkahuone venue at the Tullikamari events arena. It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurial-minded people to feel Tampere’s startup ecosystem. In the World Cup, you will hear pitches from Finland’s best startups and meet influencers and investors. The event’s Keynote Speaker is the co-founder of Wolt, Juhani Mykkänen. The winner will win a golden ticket to Silicon Valley to compete on the million dollar investment prize.