For our readers outside of Finland this may not be too interesting, but changes at Tekes (The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) can have a noticeable impact on the financing of Finnish startups. The big news is that Tekes is trimming its organization to become more agile, and right before the Christmas holidays the Tekes board came to a conclusion regarding focus areas for its board of directors.
"Tekes' new organisation has been outlined and guided by our principals of customer orientation, clear responsibilities and the organisation's ability to respond rapidly, efficiently and flexibly," states Pekka Soini, the Director General of Tekes in its blog post.
This seems to be good news for the Finnish startup scene. One common complaint heard about Tekes is the long period of time it can take to reach a funding decision, and the layers of bureaucracy one must go through to get there. But from what I can tell, Tekes has been responding to this criticism by setting up new programs, like Tekes Tempo, which strives to cut through bureaucracy and make quick funding decisions for mobile applications.
As an American expat I've found it strange to complain about how long it can take to get free government money for your startup, but it's true that free money doesn't mean efficient processes shouldn't be in place, especially given the difference a month and a half can make with long term goals of your startup.
The new organization of Tekes will come into effect on 1.4.2013. According to the blog post,
The new focus areas for the directors are as follows:
- Jukka Häyrynen with the focus area for business start-up services
- Martti Äijälä with the focus area for services for internationally oriented growth companies
- Riikka Heikinheimo with the focus area for large business and public organisation services
- Teija Lahti-Nuuttila with the focus area for natural resources and the sustainable economy
- Minna Hendolin with the focus area of vitality of people
- Reijo Kangas with the focus area for intelligent environments
- Ari Grönroos with the focus area for funding guidance and support
- Jenni Nevasalo with the focus area for working life and personnel development
- Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä with the focus area for marketing and communications
- Hannu Kemppainen with the focus area for steering and international activities
- Juha Sarkio with the focus area for general support services
Customer service for Tekes Applications will continue as normal in the meantime. Have any thoughts on this restructuring? Let us know in the comments.
Top image Tekes office building, © Tekes