Start-up counselling to be diversified with business know-how and educational opportunities from Gradia

calendarMay 27, 2020

City of Jyväskylä
Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia
News release, April 30, 2020

The City of Jyväskylä is set to conclude an agreement to begin to purchase its start-up entrepreneurship counselling services from Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia. The prospective Gradia-produced start-up counselling will commence from August 3, 2020. With this change, a versatile palette of services will be made available to clients. A key objective of the new model will be to enhance clients’ entrepreneurship skills and readiness. The Gradia entrepreneurship learning model was selected as the best in Europe in the fall of 2019.

With the start-up counselling contract with the Central Finland Enterprise Agency to expire on June 30, the City of Jyväskylä and Gradia have begun to prepare for the switch in providers. Gradia is also engaged in negotiations with other municipalities to provide counselling services.

The Finnish Municipal Experiment on Employment is about to change the structure of the services on offer from the start of the next year, and the Start-up Grant procedures will change as well. For the clients of the city employment services, it’s increasingly common to choose the path of entrepreneurship, and our cooperative relationship with Gradia in employment matters is already strong. A changing environment brings changing needs, and we need to find the services and service providers who can best meet those needs. What we want to offer is a path to improving your entrepreneurship skills as seamlessly as possible. This is a way to revitalize businesses even in these exceptional circumstances, says Jyväskylä’s Director of Business Development and Employment Anne Sandelin about the reasoning behind the change.

Counselling services through a broad network and able personnel

The start-up counselling services Gradia will provide include personal advisory services and group counselling, the evaluation of business ideas and entrepreneur qualities, the charting of the conditions for profitability and the state of the competition, as well as advice and coaching on the practical side of getting a business started.

Gradia also helps clients develop their capabilities with a variety of development and educational services, and offers access to a versatile network of services through its regional partnerships. A client planning to start a business can benefit, for example, from a Further Qualification for Entrepreneurs degree or from individual modules from various degrees. Gradia can offer a wide variety of education solutions that also enable the choice of alternative career paths.

– We’re cooperating with more than 2,500 businesses even at this very moment. Our widespread networks, our educational offerings and our award-winning entrepreneurship model enable us to offer our clients the very best counselling service possible. Every year, we help more than 500 students work out their own business ideas, so extending this service to new kinds of clients is only natural, says Gradia Development Director Anu Tokila.

Gradia will recruit new employees for its counselling service.

– It’s vital to have professionals of entrepreneurship and counselling helping those who plan to go into business. Over the rest of the spring, we’ll be recruiting business counsellors with the experience and skills to advise and coach businesses. In addition, our start-up clients will have the support of the experienced entrepreneurs and business development experts in Gradia’s present staff, says Kaija Haapasaari, Head of Gradia’s Working Life and Business Services unit, where the new start-up counselling service will operate.

Over the summer, start-up founders can receive personal advice and assistance through the City of Jyväskylä’s Business Jyväskylä telephone number, 014 266 0138. The telephone helpline will be open on weekdays throughout the summer.

More information:

Anne Sandelin, Director of Business Development and Employment, City of Jyväskylä, Tel. 040 581 9958, anne.sandelin[at]
Anu Tokila, Development Director, Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia, Tel. 040 341 5141, anu.tokila[at]
Kaija Haapasaari, Head of Unit, Working Life and Business Services, 040 341 5180, kaija.haapasaari[at]

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