Jukka Kurkinen had his eye on entrepreneurship for several years before he became the entrepreneur of Feteco Oy through a change of ownership.
Feteco Oy is a subcontractor in engineering set up on Teollisuuskatu in Joensuu in 2007. It produces welded metal structures for manufacturers of machinery and specialises in pipe structures and pipe bending. CEO Jukka Kurkinen ascended to the management of the company last summer through a change of ownership.
Kurkinen says that he had been looking at companies with such a move in mind for several years since moving back to his home region of North Karelia together with his family after a couple of decades spent with Nokia in different countries. Kurkinen managed to work for several local companies before becoming an entrepreneur himself. He was on the lookout for an existing company of the right size available at a suitable price which might have potential for development and advancement. Kurkinen kept an open mind to different branches of industry and had held discussions with a few companies that he had found through the Osuva Marketplace for business transfer. Feteco was the one that stayed with him to the end. Kurkinen was familiar with the world of machinery, having served been head of product development at Kesla, thereby lowering his threshold to becoming an entrepreneur in mechanical engineering. Other factors favouring Fetoco were a good clientèle and a potential for developing operations.
Kurkinen says that as a new entrepreneur, he has had his hands full of things to do and to learn. The whole setting is different now that he has the freedom and the responsibility of an entrepreneur to advance the operations of the company. Since he took the reins, Kurkinen has already implemented a face-lift at the office. The company has also procured a new pipe bender, and the number of personnel has increased. He says that members of the work team have been welcoming and have been receptive to the long transition period, with the previous CEO had working alongside Kurkinen, which was seen as positive from the point of view of the new entrepreneur.
Best workplace, best supplier
– We want to build Feteco into the best workplace for the producer, the best supplier for the customer, and a significant actor at the provincial level, says Kurkinen, who is passionate about development.
He emphasises the importance of a corporate culture in which people are listened to and supported, and where producers can influence what they do. He feels that a close-knit working community and a warm atmosphere offering flexibility and opportunities to develop are factors that attract people on a competitive market for personnel. A three-stage investment plan, which was launched with the help of Business Joensuu, is implementing the development of operations in the company. The first phase aims at increasing capacity in both pipe bending and edge work.
Kurkinen’s first year as an entrepreneur has included both a pandemic and a war, and he says with a sigh that he could have done with less turbulence. In a company that produces goods, the rise in the price of raw materials, and rapid changes in general pose challenges. The availability of materials posed a greater challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, but since the war in Ukraine, the rising prices of raw materials have imposed pressures that are inevitably passed on to the prices paid by customers. The entrepreneur is nevertheless optimistic about the future and plans for development.
In matters of corporate deals, Kurkinen feels that it is important for specialist advisers to be involved. Kurkinen himself received advice from the auditor, and a transitional period was written into the contract of the corporate purchase, during which time both he and the previous CEO were both involved in the activities. The company was involved in the Business Joensuu Digi Grow programme and Kurkinen also has positive experiences about cooperation with the ELY centre.
Text and photos: Anne-Maria Kankaisto / Business Joensuu