Shall we go together?

Entrepreneurial resilience remains a topical issue as world situations shift from one crisis to another. During the Corona pandemic many of us woke up to the importance and value of community and other people. This is also confirmed and reflected in the research.
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Research confirms the importance of networks and relationships not only for individuals’ well-being but also for resilience (Newman et al. 2013). In fact, social networks and the emotional resilience of the entrepreneur are two of the most important determinants of business success (Owens et al. 2010). Resilience is not something that can be taught; it is developed primarily through the individual's own process of learning from challenges and experiences and responding to situations (Blass 2018). Networks, close contacts, and professional support play an important role in this learning process.

It is probably no coincidence that, at least here in Central Finland, entrepreneurs' community workspaces and hubs have sprung up in several localities. Places to meet, encounter and build community. In the ongoing Tolerance project, the importance of peer support and working together has also been demonstrated in practice. Over the past year, we have run a Healthy Entrepreneur, Healthy Company trainings and well-being peer groups in three different locations. The groups have met monthly to discuss wellbeing and competence development themes.

As important and good as the knowledge on the training topics has been, I dare say that the main message of the groups was not written in the initial training plan. The essence was the sense of community, peer support, relationship building and trust, "good vibes", the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and to hear from others and share good, practically tested tips.

Trust enables us to work together. Working together often generates enthusiasm and new ideas. When you have a like-minded group that is positively driven about ideas and new openings, you don't need many sparks to ignite the flames. The conversation flows naturally and ideas fly. But we needed a reason to come together.

Now that research shows this and many of us recognize the importance of community and peer support, I've put together some tips on what you can do in practice.
• Check the events calendar for your area and go to an event.
• If you're stuck with something, don't be left alone - ask for help.
• If you have someone you've been meaning to have lunch with for ages, take the initiative and arrange a lunch date.
• Think about which and what kind of relationships empower you. If you already have them in your network, get together for a good cause.
• Do you feel like you've fallen behind in your physical training and can't get started on your own? Can you get together with someone to exercise, or can you find a suitable exercise group in your area?
• Once you show up, everything else kind of falls into place.

Life is presumably meant to be lived and shared with others, including as an entrepreneur. So, shall we go together?

Santeri Halonen, Doctoral Researcher, MicroENTRE®, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute
The author works as a change coach and expert in the Central Finland Tolerance project in Jyväskylä.


Blass, E. (2018). DEVELOPING A CURRICULUM FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS: WHAT DO THEY REALLY NEED TO LEARN? Journal of entrepreneurship education, 21(4), 1-14.
Newman, A., Mole, K.F., Ucbasaran, D., Subramanian, N. and Lockett, A. (2018), “Can your network make you happy? Entrepreneurs’ business network utilization and subjective well-being”, British Journal of Management, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 613-633, doi: 10.1111/1467-8551.12270.
Owens, K.S., Kirwan, J.R., Lounsbury, J.W., Levy, J.J. and Gibson, L.W. (2013), “Personality correlates of self-employed small business owners’ success”, Work, Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 73-85, doi: 10.3233/ WOR-121536.
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