How my Studies in Finland encouraged me to start my own startup

Belonging to a small town in Pakistan, I chose Finland over any other country as it is ranked as the happiest nation in the world. I started my studies at the University of Oulu in 2021, and unfortunately, I had to study from home for one whole semester due to the pandemic. However, finally, one thing leading to the other removed all the hurdles my way, and I was in Finland in January 2022.
A boy in front of a mall

Inspiration from my degree courses

I was already amazed by the quality of education received, even remotely. Every course that I chose to study gave me handy skills to implement in my practical life. From the start of my degree, I was learning so many skills, and I wanted to implement them somewhere. However, I am not a 9 to 5 person, and I have always wanted to be my own boss. So, my aim was to start something that I could call my own and build it from scratch.

However, the journey to start a new venture was not easy. I was all alone in a new country, not knowing the rules and regulations to set up a new company that would also favour the community. Before going into what exactly I am working on and when it will be available to launch, let me tell you how the University of Oulu gave me the confidence to fulfil my dream.

I am a student in the Software Engineering and Information Systems master's programme majoring in Information Systems but I aIso take courses from Oulu Business School as well. I studied the following courses, and the skills I learned from these courses led to starting my own company.

  1. Digitalisation and Innovation – I studied this course in the first period, and it helped me to figure out how to develop a new business idea and write a business plan from scratch.
  2. Servitisation and Co-Creation – A very unique, innovative course that taught me how to bring innovation into modern businesses and make them different than competitors.
  3. Business Intelligence – Studying business intelligence was one of the best decisions of my academic life as I learned how to analyze and forecast data.
  4. Brand Management- Studying brand management taught me how to manage a brand through different marketing factors.
  5. Persuasive System Design – I must say, this course was one the best course in my programme, and it taught me how to design a system that the industry and customers will accept.

Apart from all these courses, there is a list of other courses too that assisted me in moving on to work on my business idea rather than going for a 9 to 5.

Steps to consider after business idea

So, now that you know how these courses encouraged me to step up, I will tell you the steps that you should follow if you have a business idea.

1. Gather your team

Working on a business idea is not a standalone task. There will be a number of tasks you need to perform, and you will be needing a solid team to work with. You should always target a diverse team so you can utilize their skills in the next stages. For example, one of you could be a web developer other could see mobile app development, and the rest can see finances and marketing.

2. Prepare a business plan

Once you have gathered your team member, the next step would be to prepare a business plan. Now, this is a tricky part where you have to have a detailed business plan and business calculations for at least the next three years. This will help you out when you will be pitching your idea in front of investors.

3. Register your company

This is where you will secure your brand now. You need to register your company with “Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)” to secure your company’s name and rights. You should also keep in my mind the budget, as PRH will charge you some amount.

4. Open your bank account

I will advise you to open your bank account as soon as your registration is approved by PRH. This will help you out in paying your company’s expenses and keep your finances clean.

5. Start making your digital presence

Everything is in line, now is the time you officially start working on your startup. Now, to save the expenses, I will advise you to start developing your website and mobile application yourself as outsourcing a person will cost you a lot.

6. Ready to fly

You need to ensure your website is ready before the app is launched for marketing purposes. Develop a strong marketing strategy to create mass awareness about your startup so everyone will be curious to know about your startup. Once the mobile application is ready, you are ready to conquer the world.

So, the whole blog was based on my personal journey to set up my own startup. My startup is almost ready as the mobile application is in the testing phase (the website already launched) and it will be available for users all over Finland in January/February 2023. To make things easier for you, the University of Oulu’s career centre is also here to connect you with relevant investors or companies.

My advice is to also consult a lawyer before launching your services to develop a privacy policy and terms & conditions. The documentation will always help you out later in legal matters.

Hopefully, my personal journey encouraged you to start your own ventures and study at the University of Oulu!

About the author

Nabeel Ali from Pakistan is a second-year master's degree student in the Information Systems programme. He is always a tech-oriented person and also loves playing indoor and outdoor sports. He also likes to observe different cultures; thereby, Finland was his first choice of study due to its diversity and land of opportunities.