Many successful companies originate from the Start-Up Center business accelerator. Sumea Interactive, the first company of the entrepreneurs who founded the well-known Rovio and Supercell, began its operations in what was then known as a 'business incubator'. In addition to these, many other companies producing excellent results also have their origins in the business accelerator. One of these is Communicea, currently Ccea.
'I was initially selling my communication concepts to my previous business partners. I approached them and asked about their views of the service I had developed. They gave me valuable feedback and also my first sales', explains Reetta Rajala, who founded the company in 2007, about the beginning of her career as an entrepreneur.
Ccea is Finland's leading company specialised in change management and a partner in implementing change in the largest companies in the country. The name is a reflection of what the company is: Change capability & execution advisors. At the same time, the name is an abbreviation of the company's previous name, which was Communicea until 2014. In the beginning, the company only had one entrepreneur, Reetta Rajala herself. Since then, the company has been growing at a rapid pace and around twenty professionals work at Ccea today.
Valuable sparring and encouragement from Start-Up Center
'The business plan was sharpened and clarified as we applied to the Start-Up Centre at the beginning of the summer of 2008. This was great sparring for us as it also helped us form a clearer conception of our business idea. Secondly, we got a good and functional work space with a negotiating room at what was then known as Helsinki School of Economics, currently Aalto University, which gave our company credibility', Reetta Rajala revisits the beginning stages of the business incubator days.
We spent its first almost three years at the Start-Up Center.
'We made a conscious selection of the incubator and decided to call it our home. I believe that stability is also a good sign to clients. Getting strong encouragement, i.e. pushing you forward and upward is also good when starting business activities. Commitment to the sparring and good-natured encouragement was also required when applying and gaining entrance to the incubator', Reetta Rajala says about the incubator environment.
All begins with sales
According to Reetta Rajala, an entrepreneur must begin selling immediately.
'We tested our sales materials with our own network, received good sparring and practice, and clarified out message. The client perspective had to be fine-tuned, and this was best accomplished by us testing our sales message in the field fairly quickly. Networks were crucial also during the early days.'
In the future, Reetta Rajala aims to increase the business activities even further. The goal is also to expand the activities to the international market.
'I love being involved in client projects, but I should reduce my participation in them in order to also have time for internationalisation.'
In connection to the risks of entrepreneurship, dismayed Reetta Rajala highlights failings in social security.
'When there is an entrepreneur in the family, the whole family is in a state of no safety nets. It is wrong that no member of an entrepreneur family can get unemployment benefits, regardless of whether he or she is able to work in the company. It also makes no difference whether or not the company can pay them a salary. Economic conditions, which one has of course been able to prepare from the start, can also end up costing a lot to the entrepreneur.' As a third point, Reetta Rajala reminds those planning to become entrepreneurs about the fact that with major clients, payment periods are also often extremely long. This is something worth acknowledging and preparing for.
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