Both small and large success stories are started in Espoo Innovation Garden.
"I had my first contact with Espoo 35 years ago, when I visited my aunt. Already then I knew I wanted to live in Espoo when I grew up. The atmosphere here is energetic and youthful. Espoo is in the core of Finland, yet in the middle of nature.
The key to cyber security company Nixu is its staff – its excellent knowhow and motivation. In Keilalahti, we breathe technological expertise and inspiration. Our neighbouring Otaniemi rears new security talent for us.
For a fan like me, Espoo provides experiences in many different sports at the highest level in Finland. Sports sustain Espoo’s identity and building of community. Here we can also realise the Finnish dream of living: “a house by the market place and on a lake shore”. There is only one Espoo in this country!"
Marko Kauppi, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nixu Corporation
"I was born in Espoo and my whole family is from here. In Espoo you can find everything possible from suburbs to countryside, schools to university, forest to sea, culture to design, Finnish to international and young to old. The population is multicultural.
Keilaranta in Espoo is a good location for Kiosked application for intelligent and interactive online advertising. The sea, the university, international companies, services and good connections are all typical to Espoo. Last year we expanded to London and Los Angeles. Espoo as a city provides our employees a versatile environment that makes them feel at home throughout the year.
Nature is close to my heart, and Espoo’s nature offers many different kinds of great exercise possibilities. I hike in Nuuksio national park, bike and ski in Oittaa recreation area and paddle, sail and swim in Suvisaaristo. It is the nature and people that make Espoo unique."
Micke Paqvalén, CEO and founder of Kiosked
"I first stepped foot in Nuuksio national park in 1986, and its unique, wild mood blew me away. Since 2002, Green Window has provided nature tourism services in Nuuksio; you can for example bathe in a smoke sauna, hike in the wilderness or try out snowshoeing.
When Oliver Phelps, star of Harry Potter films, listed his ten favourite destinations, Nuuksio national park was sixth on his list. Phelps described Nuuksio as one of the most picturesque parks he has ever visited. My company Green Window received special thanks from the star for good service.
Espoo is a great place for kids, and I’ve raised my four children here. I’ve been fortunate to have the greatest nature experiences here with them. I hope all Espoo residents are proud of their city and its great nature, where the sea and the forest shake hands."
Pekka Väänänen, Green Window entrepreneur
"Apart from my student years, I have remained true to Espoo all my life. For me, it is home.
It also signifies work to me. I work as a project coordinator in EnterpriseEspoo, which provides assistance in all matters of setting up and developing a company.
Our core service is promoting entrepreneurship: good new business ideas and already functioning companies are prerequisites to our success – and these are aplenty in Espoo. Key to our success is our team and its rock solid expertise.
My Espoo memories are tinged by summer and nature. In my youth, my mates and I used to drive our mopeds to have a swim in the lakes of Nuuksio and Bodom. These places seem to have stayed the same, but our mode of transportation has changed."
Henri Iivari, project coordinator in EnterpriseEspoo
"Startup Sauna helps promising startups enter markets and acquire financing. Our mentors include successful serial entrepreneurs and investors. Startup Sauna is located in a converted industrial building, to which everyone is welcome – we have an open door policy at our office in Otaniemi.
To date, over a hundred companies have graduated from Startup Sauna; their total funding adds up to tens of millions of dollars. The secret of our success is continuous learning, drive, teamwork and embracing the future. In Espoo, we have an extensive network and endless opportunities to try and test new things.
I have lived most of my life abroad, but I finally settled in Espoo: its unique combination of nature, people and technology tamed me. From the hustle and bustle of the Keilaniemi technology campus, it takes only an hour by bus to get to the wilds of Nuuksio forest. I can recharge my batteries there for long working hours and interesting meetings – and the early mornings when I feel a bit ropey after those interesting meetings."
Panu Paljakka, COO of Startup Sauna