Project Summary

NYP Business Services (NYP) originally started its activities in 1993 under the name Nuoret Yrittajat Projekti (Young Entrepreneurs Project) and was part of the City of Helsinki Youth Department. At first NYP only served young entrepreneurs, but later it started offering services to both native and migrant entrepreneurs in general. As of 2001, NYP has been offering training courses that especially target migrants. Currently NYP is part of the Business Development Unit of the municipality of Helsinky's Economic and Planning Centre and is considered the most important service for ethnic minority entrepreneurs in Finland.

Source: Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs

The partnershipEdit

The Economic and Planning Centre operates as an expert unit in management and deployment and is in charge of preparing and matching the objectives and strategy alternatives related to developing the city of Helsinki. NYP Business Services itself is an organisation with ten staff members headed by a chief business advisor. In its activities NYP cooperates with two key partners: the Employment and Economic Planning Centre (T&E-Centre) of the region of Uusimaa, a region in Southern Finland of which Helsinki is part, and the Helsinki Employment Office.

Funders and fundingEdit

The project started to target migrants in 2001 but does not have a predetermined end date. The budget is reviewed annually. NYP's total budget for 2006 amounted to €540,000 and is largely funded by the City of Helsinki. The total budget that NYP receives from the municipality includes revenues and subsidies coming from other sources. NYP generates revenues through incubator fees and receives subsidies from the T&E-Centre for giving business trainings and managing a business incubator. The annual budget is dependent on NYP's results in terms of the number of business start-ups, trainings offered and the number of enterprises in the incubator. The T&E-Centre of Uusimaa plans to support NYP with another € 200,000 in the near future. At the moment this T&E-Centre is only financing the training sessions offered by NYP.

Policy contextEdit

At the national level, Finland only started implementing policies promoting ethnic minority entrepreneurship in 2005, through its Ministry of Trade and Industry. The responsibility for organising such services prior to 2005 was left to regional level policy makers. In view of the fact that the large majority of migrants in Finland reside in the Helsinki metropolitan area it is not surprising that policymakers of the City of Helsinki took the lead in developing initiatives for migrants through the NYP project. Today, six years after its inception, the project has become a permanent activity that is widely praised for its attention to the situation of ethnic minority entrepreneurs. At present NYP is regarded as a prototype or role model for setting up similar services elsewhere.


NYP's main objectives are to help entrepreneurs start up their business successfully and to provide its clients with all the information they might need in the running of their business. With regard to ethnic minorities, its goal is to assist migrant entrepreneurs in starting up businesses, as well as with their integration into Finnish society. The relative small scale of migration in Finland makes effective integration of ethnic minorities into society all the more important. It is essential that migrant entrepreneurs be able to benefit from well-developed networks with Finnish entrepreneurs and institutions: without such networks they stand little chance of survival. The project therefore puts considerable energy into helping migrants develop business networks.

Target groupsEdit

NYP has a regional approach in the sense that it only serves entrepreneurs in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Its counselling services are open to both starting and operating entrepreneurs; however, access to training is restricted to unemployed persons or persons who are at risk of becoming unemployed. The project initially started as a general service for (young) entrepreneurs, irrespective of nationality. Since 2001, NYP also particularly targets migrants. At the moment, roughly 43% of its clients are of migrant background.

How NYP worksEdit

NYP offers three types of services: business counselling, courses in entrepreneurship and incubator services. Even though NYP itself does not offer financial support for start ups its counsellors do assist entrepreneurs in preparing documentation when applying for a loan or a grant elsewhere. Participation in counselling and training sessions is free of charge but NYP does charge a modest fee for its incubator services.

  • Business counselling

Counselling sessions are designed for both starting and already operating entrepreneurs who may need guidance on all aspects of establishing, running and developing a business. An increasing portion (currently 40%) of the clients making use of counselling services is of migrant background. In total NYP has had clients from over 110 different countries; however, most are from Russia and Estonia. The client is asked to read through an introductory package before the counselling to develop a first sketch of his business idea. During the first meeting the counsellor assesses the client's skills, abilities and motivation, and helps the client to further develop his business idea. The potential of the business idea is assessed using various profitability calculations. Eventually, in case of a positive assessment, the counselling sessions will result in a fully developed business plan and a business start-up. The relation between the NYP counsellor and the entrepreneur continues even after the business has been started, in case further advice is needed. In some cases the counsellor assists the entrepreneur in applying for a start-up grant, which is offered by the Helsinki Employment Office. NYP believes that primary counselling services should be delivered free of charge, especially if they are meant for migrants. Counselling is available to all interested entrepreneurs: NYP does not have a special admission system to select its clients. To help migrants with language difficulties counselling services are available in Swedish, English, Russian, Estonian, German and Arabic.

  • Courses in entrepreneurship

NYP offers three types of courses in entrepreneurship:

- A regular course in establishing a company
- An entrepreneur course specifically for migrants
- Advanced courses for existing entrepreneurs

The courses are publicised through the website of the Ministry of Labour, the Helsinki Employment Office, advertisements in local newspapers, and multilingual brochures available in schools and libraries. All courses, except for the advanced ones, are specifically meant for the unemployed and also serve as general labour market training. Applications take place through an intake meeting at the Helsinki Employment Office and a subsequent round of interviews at NYP's premises. Candidates are expected to have given due consideration to a business idea beforehand. Preference is given to candidates with a solid business idea, since they are expected to benefit most from the courses.

1. Course in establishing a company

This course is organised in cooperation with the T&E-Centre of Uusimaa and the Helsinki Employment Office, and aims to provide basic knowledge about entrepreneurship and to improve participants' functional abilities in various areas of running a business. The course is meant for those who are seriously interested in starting their own business in the near future. This eight-week course, although only given in Finnish, is open to both natives and migrants. About 20 to 30% of the participants are of migrant background.

The teaching methodology is based on lectures, group discussions and individual counselling sessions. The lectures are given by NYP staff and hired experts from other entrepreneurial organisations, unemployment benefit societies, tax authorities, banks and insurance companies. At the end of the course, participants present their business plan and also hand in a written version of the plan for evaluation.

In addition to lectures and group sessions, each participant is also assigned a NYP-business advisor. This business advisor is available for further elaboration in individual counselling sessions on more advanced topics like production and sales volume calculations. After the course this business advisor can assist the entrepreneur when applying for a start-up grant at the Employment Office or a loan at a bank.

Topics are:

  • Business idea, product development
  • Different forms of business
  • Market research, marketing plan
  • Business economics, taxation, VAT
  • Public speaking, communication skills
  • Personal sales skills
  • Legal issues of a small company
  • Strategic planning and time management
  • Risk management
  • International trade and customs
  • Establishing procedures
  • Business plan (written & presentation)
  • Personal business counselling, profitability calculations

2. Entrepreneur course for migrants

This course aims to familiarise migrants with Finnish business culture and to clarify general matters related to starting up and doing business in Finland. The course is taught in Finnish but important key terms can be explained in English, Russian or Arabic if necessary. Although this course is a little shorter and more accessible than the basic course the teaching methodology is similar: a mixture of lectures, group discussions and individual counselling sessions. Upon successful completion of the course, interested participants are encouraged to apply for the regular business course described above.

Topics are:

  • How to be an entrepreneur in Finland
  • Public performing and negotiation skills
  • Different forms of companies
  • Business idea as basis for business planning
  • Development of business idea
  • Marketing and personal sales skills
  • Basic financial matters
  • Taxation
  • Legal issues for a small company
  • Business Plan (written & presentation)
  • Practical establishing issues
  • Incubator services

NYP offers its incubator services in cooperation with the business incubator network of the T&E-Centre of Uusimaa. Entrepreneurs in the incubator can rent office space with furniture at rates well below the market level. Per square meter NYP charges a rent (including internet access, cleaning and security services) of €12.80, while the going market rate can be as high as €35.00. The rent is low because the premises are the property of the municipality, which enables the fees to be exempt from value added tax. Incubator services are open to both native and migrant entrepreneurs and the average stay in the incubator is about two years. Entrepreneurs in the incubator can also make use of NYP's counselling services.


NYP reaches a fairly large number of (potential) entrepreneurs per year. CHECK Figures from Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs show that NYP's clients establish an increasing number of businesses per year, from 304 start-ups in 2004 to 430 in 2006. Most of the newly established companies operate in the services sector. NYP's website contains a considerable number of links to newly established enterprises. The survival rate of these start-ups, in terms of the number of businesses still in operation after two years, is estimated at 80%. Migrant entrepreneurs show a slightly lower survival rate of 68% over the 1999- 2002 period. (Upload table? Table 2)

Monitoring of supported businessesEdit

NYP's services are both externally and internally evaluated. Internally, NYP evaluates its counselling services using an evaluation questionnaire. Externally, the Employment Office and the T&E-Centre of Uusimaa use similar evaluation questionnaires to monitor the results of NYP’s training and incubator services. Past reports show that participants generally are very positive about NYP's services. Finally, the City of Helsinki, Economic and Planning Centre monitors NYP's activities in terms of quantitative targets. This evaluation has a direct impact on NYP's activities. The budget, for instance, is contingent on the number of business startups, the number of new jobs created, trainings offered and the number of enterprises in the incubator.

Assessment of NYPEdit

  • Relevance

The project is highly relevant for migrant entrepreneurs as it helps them step-by-step through courses and with tailor-made counselling services. Those migrants that need extra attention in terms of learning about Finnish business culture and the Finnish language can start with a special course designed to meet the needs of recent migrants. Migrants who already are more acquainted with the Finnish culture can step directly into the regular business course. Finally, the language skills and international experience of NYP's counsellors foster a fruitful interaction with the migrant. The cooperation between NYP and its partners also assures the relevance of the offered services. A pre-screening of the candidates by the Helsinki Employment Office and NYP seems an effective way to select the right migrants for the business courses. The relevance of course topics is also reflected in the positive evaluations that participants give in their evaluation questionnaires. Although NYP is the best-known Finnish service for ethnic minority entrepreneurs, there is still some room for improvement, for example in the effectiveness of its outreach. Not all unemployed migrants are necessarily familiar with the project; and furthermore some express a wariness of the confidentiality of its counselling services, many apparently preferring to ask advice from a family member rather than rely on an unfamiliar public advisor. Finally, migrants often only start looking for professional support when confronted with serious difficulties. As a way to overcome these obstacles NYP tries to maintain close contact with the migrant community, and it also encourages migrants to get involved in business counselling themselves.

  • Effectiveness and efficiency

With a relatively small budget NYP has contributed significantly to the number of business start-ups among both native residents and migrants in Helsinki. The 2006 budget of € 540,000, for instance, resulted in 430 newly established enterprises. One should note however, that some of the entrepreneurs who started businesses in 2006 participated in training sessions during 2005.

  • Innovativeness

In addition to the high level of personal attention it provides clients through tailor-made counselling, this project also stands out for its positive side-effects in terms of networking. NYP recognised early on that, due to the small scale of migration in Finland and the correspondingly small size of the ethnic market, networking is indispensable. Without strong contacts with Finnish entrepreneurs and institutions the chances of success for ethnic minority entrepreneurs will be limited. The advisors believe that networking encourages new and innovative business ideas, fruitful partnerships and will helps to integrate migrants better in Finnish society. To stimulate multi-cultural networking NYP has opted to give its regular business courses in mixed groups of natives and migrants. Contributions of guest lecturers from Finnish institutions also work to reinforce the integration of migrants into the Finnish business world.

  • Replicability

The project seems replicable in other contexts. Its innovative elements - the multi-cultural networking and its personal touch in terms of business counselling - are transferable. And NYP is in fact expanding its operations. In 2008 NYP will be offering business advisory services for migrants from other cities nearby Helsinki.

  • Sustainability

NYP has been in operation since 1993 and has been specifically targeting migrants as far back as 2001. Given its permanent character within the City of Helsinki's Economic and Planning Centre, NYP should be seen as a sustainable ongoing activity rather than a short-term project.

The apparent 80% survival rate for newly established businesses would seem to demonstrate that this project is sustainable in terms of long-term outcomes. However, it should be noted that this rate can not be much more than an educated guess given that NYP does not yet have a systematic follow-up system to monitor entrepreneurs no longer making use of its services.

Key learning pointsEdit

  • A comprehensive approach integrating training, counselling and incubator services can improve results in terms of an increased number of start-ups and a higher business survival-rate.
  • Offering business counselling services in foreign languages can be a way to promote the use of these services for migrant entrepreneurs that would otherwise not be reached.
  • A two-stage training approach in which ethnic minority entrepreneurs are first acquainted with local business culture prior to participating in more advanced training courses can yield encouraging results in terms of promoted access to training.
  • Especially in countries with a low level of migration, policy measures should promote networking of ethnic minority entrepreneurs with the local business community. This is important since having strong links to local entrepreneurs and institutions increases migrants' chances of success.

Contact addressEdit

NYP Business Services IImalankuja 2 M P.O. Box 37 00099 City of Helsinki E: T: +358931032628 W: http://www.nyppLnet Contact: Mr. Toivo Utso

T&E-Centre of Uusimaa Maistraatinportti 2 P.O. Box 15 00240 Helsinki E: jakke. T: +358 106021201 W: Contact: Mr. Jakke Peltonen

Helsinki Employment Office Jaakonkatu 3 B 3krs P.O. Box 570 00101 Helsinki T: +358 10 60 70669 W: Contact: Ms. Rintala Eila

Notes and referencesEdit

Interviews with: Mr. Toivo Utso, head of NYP Business Services. Ms. Tuula Joronen, researcher at the Research Unit of the City of Helsinki, Urban Facts. Websites: • NYP Business Services: Documents Joronen, T. (2007). Yrittajyys maahanmuuttajien integraation vaylana. Helsingin kaupungin tietokeskuksen tutkimuksia [Entrepreneurship as a route to migrants' integration]. The City of Helsinki, Urban Facts Research Series: forthcoming.

Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs 5 Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs 6 Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs 7 Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs 2 Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs 3 Examination and evaluation of good practices in the promotion of ethnic minority entrepreneurs 4

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