My Dad has been an entrepreneur most of his life – everything from selling shampoo to freelance journalism. His bread and butter is ice hockey and for over 30 years he has been a talent scout for the National Hockey League (NHL) here in Europe.
As the son of an entrepreneur I grew up, not in the backroom of a shop, but around ice hockey arenas. Not a bad place to hang around as a kid. I played a bit myself and learned a lot about teamwork in the process.
Watching my Dad over the years has given me an entrepreneurial spirit. The life of an entrepreneur is never easy. Most of the time they are at it 24/7, with loads of uncertainty involved.
Politicians have a tendency to talk big about creating jobs and growth. I think this is rubbish. The government or the parliament should not take credit for the work of others. The further we stay away from business, the better.
Yes, legislators create the conditions for business. Yes, we can create some incentives through fiscal policies. But we should not take credit for the fruits of labour of workers, entrepreneurs and companies. They are the backbone of our economy, not the politicians.
In Finland there are approximately 300,000 entrepreneurs. Not bad in a country of 5.4 million inhabitants. Over the years I have met thousands of entrepreneurs.
I am always fascinated to hear stories of success and sometimes failure: small start-up companies that have made it big; family companies that have made a comeback following bankruptcy; and people who have run their own one-man or one-woman business for decades.
Entrepreneurial spirit is about hard work, courage, stamina and attitude. You have to take risks and accept the possibility of failure. You also have to be able to cope with success.
The logic of a business is simple. It needs to create goods or services that sell, and make a profit for its owners. We in the public sector enjoy the outcome: employment and taxes.
In Finland we have failed to create an equal social security system for entrepreneurs and employees. I hope we can rectify this as soon as possible. Risk should not mean exclusion from security. At the end of the day we should try to make entrepreneurship as easy as possible.
I am proud of all entrepreneurs, including my Dad. Without entrepreneurs we would not be able to sustain our welfare state.