Humak’s Tempo project promotes migrant employment and entrepreneurship in Southwest Finland. One crucial component of the project is a three-month business course that helps the attendants create their individual path in working life.
During the spring 2020, the business course sessions take place every Tuesday evening at the SparkUp facilities in Turku. The course is regularly attended by over thirty people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Each session is carried out bilingually in both English and Finnish to accommodate all participants.
The program involves a wide range of topics relating to business and entrepreneurship. For instance, the attendants are intructed on how to start a business from scratch, how to build and market a brand, and how to establish a network of useful professional connections.
Each week, one of the course members shares their story with the rest of the group. On February 11, Armela Totaj spoke about her company Cherish Your Work and the intricacies of business branding and pricing.
Armela, who is originally from Albania, first met with the Tempo staff in April 2019. She was initially looking to be employed by a suitable company, but ended up starting her own business instead.
The Tempo project staff recommended that I should be self-employed, because I have the right background to create my own business. And I’m so glad I took their advice. They pushed in the right direction when I lacked the courage to make the change on my own.
Armela says that the project enabled her to follow a well-defined process while founding her business.
’’When I was starting out, I had no idea which direction I should be heading. I think the lack of guidance is the biggest struggle for new entrepreneurs. And guidance is exactly what Tempo can offer’’, Armela says.
The Tempo project concentrates mostly on helping migrants start their own businesses. However, entrepreneurship might not be the best career choice for everyone — the project also helps people find work at local companies and organizations.
Project coordinator Anna Pikala says that it is vital to direct people toward the path that suits them the best.
’’We assist people in forging their own career path in Finland. We help them set the right goals for themselves, and help them understand the steps they need to take to reach them’’, Anna says.
The project staff offers personal career guidance for migrants in cooperation with the City of Turku.
Humak’s community education students can also attend the Tempo business course. The course can then substitute for a separate entrepreneurship course that is included in their degree programme.
’’The students complete the same tasks and exercises as the other people on the course, but they also work simultaneously as peer mentors. They have been really pleased to get the opportunity. It’s a great chance to gain some practical leadership experience, while learning about migration and entrepreneurship’’, Anna Pikala says.
The Tempo project began in March 2019 and will conclude in February 2022. It is funded by the European Social Fund. Further information can be found on the project website (in Finnish).
Photos: Emilia Reponen.