Finland: Flexible business and easy collaboration with government officials
In 2019, Suokas and his company relocated to Finland, and all of Lektor’s operations will be run from Helsinki. The company already has a new office and employs three people as well as a varying number of freelance trainers. In addition to personal reasons, Suokas also had professional reasons for moving to Finland.
“Our business requires a great deal of collaboration and interaction with government officials, and in Finland this interaction is quite easy. Everything from applying for permits to building long-term cooperative relationships is straightforward, and the authorities are open to new ideas and innovations,” Suokas says.
“Another great thing about Finland is the ease and flexibility of hiring part-time employees and freelancers. I sometimes hear claims that entrepreneurship is difficult here, but having worked in several other countries, I’ve noticed that the grass is definitely not always greener on the other side of the fence. Entrepreneurship in Finland is smooth and easy.”
Helsinki was an obvious choice for Lektor’s new home base.
“The government agency that we regularly interact with – The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom – is located just a couple of blocks from our office. Being close to the Helsinki Airport is also very important, as this business requires a lot of traveling.”
“All in all, relocation to Finland has been easy, and Helsinki Business Hub has been a great support. They’ve helped us connect with partners and funding organizations and deal with the many practical matters of setting up a business in Finland. We’ve had an on-going, very fruitful discussion that’s enabled us to develop our operations and goals. NewCo Helsinki has also helped us map digital R&D partners and learning platforms.”
The government agency that we regularly interact with – The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom – is located just a couple of blocks from our office. Being close to the Helsinki Airport is also very important, as this business requires a lot of traveling. -Samuli Suokas
Disrupting air traffic controller training
Lektor’s next step is to apply for a company-level training certificate, which would make it an official air traffic controller training organization, not just a company that offers certified freelance trainers. An official training certificate would allow Lektor to start educating new instructors and organizing refresher training for those whose training licenses are about to expire. It will be a helpful service to freelancers, as they always need an official training organization to refresh their licenses.
“Educating new instructors and upkeeping the validity of their training licenses would give us a great competitive edge. We want to be the company that changes the education of air traffic controller instructors and produces even better professionals. We are hoping to get our company training certificate in the beginning of 2020,” says Suokas.
Lektor’s second major plan is to develop a digital training solution that will target the labor-intensive one-on-one simulator training and reduce the number of instructors it requires. It will be highly scalable for use anywhere in the world – a solution to disrupt the way air traffic controllers are trained globally.
“We are looking for funding and R&D partners in Finland to leverage digital learning platforms and develop a solution that will digitalize simulator training, and possibly even the initial basic training. Air traffic controller training is standardized both in Europe and globally, which is a great basis for this type of solution.”
Opening doors to Europe and the world
Lektor’s business operations have taken off quickly, and the company expects to grow as its business model takes even deeper root. If Lektor gets its training certificate, it will become the second official air traffic controller training organization in Finland, which will create some competition.
”We aim to be a trail-blazing training organization that offers an entirely new kind of digital training model. We will soon launch our R&D operations here in Helsinki and expect to employ around ten people and at least double our turnover within a couple of years. Once we have our training certificate and our digital training solution, all doors to Europe and the world will be open,” Samuli Suokas says.
Text: Anu Jussila