Boosting Community at Laukaan Yritystankkaamo – Collaboration project between the University of Oulu's Kerttu Saalasti Institute and the Municipality of Laukaa

Community and networks play an important role in enhancing entrepreneurs' resilience and the need was recognized in the municipality of Laukaa. In collaboration with the University of Oulu's Kerttu Saalasti Institute, a joint initiative known as the Laukaan Yritystankkaamo project has been launched. The primary objective of the project is to develop a new communal model that supports the resilience, innovation, R&D activities, peer learning, as well as the mental well-being and resilience of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The project will run until the end of August 2025.
Yritystankkaamon julkisivu

Sanna Jylänki, the CEO of Laukaa’s Development Agency, says, "Strengthening community is still relatively uncommon in municipalities, and it's novel that both a municipality and entrepreneurs build municipal vitality together through community. We need spaces and platforms where entrepreneurs can meet, collaborate, and generate new ideas."

Jylänki believes that prosperity and economic benefits can be achieved based on soft values. "When the threshold for taking action is low, innovation flourishes more easily. Through the project, we aim to develop and create conditions for the strengthening of community among entrepreneurs and throughout the municipality," she says.

Marko Kämäräinen, the project manager, believes that the entrepreneurial field needs a communal and open space, which serves as a neutral place for encounters and collaboration. "We need a place where someone is there to greet you and ask how you're doing. This is how we can find help and expertise for questions that entrepreneurs may have. The formation of peer support and networks is essential because together, new opportunities for collaboration can be discovered. At its best, new innovations and business initiatives can be born. It's crucial for entrepreneurs to realize that they are not alone in their endeavors," says Kämäräinen. This is a part of the 'Laukaa tribe' formation, and it's no coincidence that the title chosen for the Yritystankkaamo’s project manager is 'tribal chief.'

In collaboration with the University of Oulu and the Kerttu Saalasti Institute's MicroENTRE® research group, Laukaa municipality is carrying out the Yritystankkaamo joint project. The project involves the testing and development of various communal practices, including coaching, workshops, relaxation sessions, and peer groups for companies and business service providers. Additionally, the project focuses on the development of innovative peer learning methods through pair and group work. The project also aims to publish data resources to support both internal community building within companies and external community building between companies and business service providers.

MicroENTRE® brings a deep understanding of micro-entrepreneurship and resilience to the project. The two-year project's objectives include strengthening companies' and entrepreneurs' adaptability, enhancing collaboration and community within companies and business service providers, and activating R&D activities. As a result, the project will create a community action model and a digital networking platform. Santeri Halonen, a doctoral researcher and change coach, is part of the MicroENTRE® team working on the project.

The project's implementation period is from September 1, 2023, to August 31, 2025. The project is executed by Laukaa municipality's business services and the University of Oulu's Kerttu Saalasti Institute. The project has received support from the Just Transition Fund (JTF) through the Central Finland Regional Council."

Last updated: 16.11.2023