Micro-entrepreneurship deserves its own professorship

Ninety-four per cent of Finnish companies are micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 employees, covering about 24% of all jobs in Finnish companies.

In other words, micro-enterprises play a major role from both an economic and a social point of view. Their role continues to grow as a result of the increase in self-employment and part-time entrepreneurship, among other reasons. At the same time, it is clear that micro-entrepreneurship deserves high-quality research and education focused on it.

The University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute has conducted pioneering micro-entrepreneurship research since 2011. As part of the national task of micro-entrepreneurship research and education, entrusted to the University of Oulu by the Ministry of Education and Culture, we will continue to strengthen the resources for societal impact by establishing a professorship in micro-entrepreneurship. We aim to launch and establish Finland’s first professorship in this field at the University of Oulu.

The professorship in micro-entrepreneurship is an important research initiative that will produce new, researched information about micro-enterprises and their operating prerequisites. The University of Oulu promotes business opportunities through its research, taking into account the opportunities offered by sustainable growth and renewal, business diversity, digitalisation and the green transition. Led by a professor, the research activities in micro-entrepreneurship will be strengthened and raised to the next level in terms of quantity and quality. In cooperation with the Oulu School of Business, we have already launched a process aimed at establishing an endowed professorship in micro-entrepreneurship. The Kerttu Saalasti Institute would be the home base for the professorship.

The professorship will strengthen the societal impact of research and education in micro-enterprises whose success is a prerequisite for sustainable growth and renewal in Finland. The endowed professorship will be used to establish e-Learning courses in micro-entrepreneurship at the University of Oulu as part of the customer-driven opportunities for continuous learning, independent of time and location. This training will support the diversification and deepening of entrepreneurial competence and the strengthening of competitiveness.

With the professorship in micro-entrepreneurship, we aim to also strengthen the impact of micro-entrepreneurship research and education across Europe. At the European level, increasing the impact of research and education means both networking and practical cooperation in research and education. There are more than 21 million micro-enterprises in the European Union and more than nine out of ten companies in the EU region employ less than 10 people.

Our goal is to collect the funding required for the professorship during this year. In the present world situation, this target is, of course, tough, but we believe in our cause. After all, who wouldn’t like to be involved in promoting and supporting Finnish micro-entrepreneurship, its operating conditions and growth?

Martti Saarela, acting Programme Director, PhD, M. of Laws, MSc (Econ)
Matti Muhos, Director, DSc (Tech), Professor
Eija-Riitta Niinikoski, Development Manager, MA

Image: University of Oulu