Everything you need to start and grow a business in Espoo.
BusinessEspoo.fi - A portal combining all the information for business managers based in Espoo or considering starting a business there.
- Online tool that helps entrepreneurs and companies find the right business service for their needs.
- Marketing strategy to increase the awareness of the above tool by organising events and blog posts connected to the site.
We first researched and studied the material provided by the sponsor and previous research by a group of students into the challenges of creating a unified point of business services in Espoo.
We then benchmarked existing business services from 10 cities around the world to understand how they support entrepreneurs and how this information is shared.
Next, we identified needs through user interviews by talking with multiple entrepreneurs from various types of companies in the Espoo and Helsinki region to understand what kind of business services they have used:
- Founder of a one-person web development consultancy
- Manager of a large technology company
- Co-founder of a small startup
Learnings and insights
- Entrepreneurs can find a lot of advice regarding administrative business tasks through search engines (not using Espoo services) or from their personal social networks. People with entrepreneurial families have a lower barrier to entry.
- Companies are generally unaware of the services offered by Espoo.
- Founders highly value learning from other entrepreneurs who have been in the same situation, as they can offer believable and trustworthy advice.
- Larger companies do not need many of the business management services, their main challenge is recruiting experts from other cities or countries and convincing and helping them to relocate to Espoo.
We structured our findings and identified three key problem areas to tackle:
- Lack of awareness of the available services .
- Lack of accessibility of services, meaning it is difficult to find all the relevant services for a customer’s particular situation.
- Espoo must highlight why it is an attractive place to live and work for employees and entrepreneurs.
Based on the problems we wanted to address, we rapidly prototyped our ideas in tools like Figma and Sketch to iterate quickly and understand how the different problems could be addressed in a coherent manner.
Our solution consists of two parts, a service finding tool and inspirational content. The first part solves the accessibility issues, letting companies and individuals find the right information for their particular context and problem by answering a set of questions to match them with the most suitable service.
This alone does not address the awareness issue, which our second solution part solves by creating new channels for reaching entrepreneurs.
In order to reach more online visitors, we create a business blog where companies share success stories and learnings. This supports the need to learn from other entrepreneurs. The content is provided by companies that wish to market themselves and sharing of the blog posts online attracts new visitors to the businessespoo.fi website.
Our second new channel consists of organising events at the A grid, attracting people to the premises of the Espoo business service organisations and helping them meet other entrepreneurs. Combined with a focused online marketing strategy (search engine keyword advertising and targeted social network ads), this will increase the visibility of the services offered by Espoo.
Goals and success measures
Based on the challenge, we aimed to address the following long term goals of Espoo:
- Increase employment by SMEs.
- Increase the longevity of SMEs (better survival rate).
- Increase the number of large companies in the region.