When Hanna Karvonen decided to resign from her job as a practical nurse due to burnout, she went to the TE Office to ask what she should do if she wanted to become an entrepreneur. This led to a four-month entrepreneurial experiment that she started through START coaching while still unemployed. Where did Hanna's business idea come from and what did she do before the trial began? Jukka Litja, an expert at the TE Office, also gave Hanna some valuable tips.

The cutbacks in the care sector, physically demanding work, the coronavirus era and everyday life with special-needs children became so strenuous that Hanna eventually began losing sleep due to fatigue. The desire to seek help for her own burnout and her children’s ADHD symptoms and sensory sensitivity led Hanna to training related to relaxation coaching and Brain Relief.

– I’ve been thinking about my own dreams, and who I am and what I want. The idea of setting up my own company has become stronger during the last couple of years, and the training sessions clarified that idea. My company offers relaxation coaching for individuals and groups as well as Brain Relief treatments, says Hanna.

Updating entrepreneurial skills with Business Joensuu START coaching

Hanna is a practical nurse, and she has a vocational qualification in business. Since it’s been quite a while since she completed the vocational training, the TE Office recommended entrepreneurial training before setting up her own business. Hanna’s goal is to apply for a start-up grant, and updating her entrepreneurial skills is one of the prerequisites for obtaining it.

Hanna began the START coaching in May 2021, and when it was over, her coach proposed a four-month entrepreneurial experiment intended for unemployed persons who wanted to start their own business. Hanna felt that the trial would be very useful because it can be difficult to understand the overall situation in the early stages of a new company.

– I have no previous entrepreneurial experience and the experiment will certainly help me see things more realistically, explains Hanna.

Jukka Litja, an expert at the TE Office, also sees many positive aspects in the entrepreneurial experiment:

– For those within the scope of unemployment security, the four-month entrepreneurial experiment is a great way to try out entrepreneurship and see whether a customer base exists. If the operations are not very profitable at the outset, the person is still entitled to unemployment security. It’s also possible to apply for a start-up grant during or after the trial if the entrepreneur wants to expand to full-time business. The activities can also be continued on a part-time basis after the trial, states Jukka.

Jukka’s tips for people interested in the experiment:

  • Participate in entrepreneurial training before starting the trial.
  • Contact the TE Office and find out what rules apply to the trial.
  • If the business operations seem to be growing during the experiment, contact the TE Office’s Services for new entrepreneurs. If your business has already become full-time, you will no longer be eligible for a start-up grant.
  • Send a notification about the starting date of the business, respond to the questionnaire sent by the TE Office within four months, and describe the scope of your business.
  • Notify the unemployment fund or The Social Insurance Institution (Kela) of the company’s income.

This is how the entrepreneurship experiment started

– First of all, I contacted the TE Office and we discussed the trial and its requirements with Jukka. At the end of the discussion, he encouraged me to register for the entrepreneurial experiment, recalls Hanna.

When the experiment began in August, Hanna’s unemployment had lasted for four months and she was receiving an earnings-related unemployment allowance from the unemployment fund. During the trial period, Hanna can earn 500 euros per month with business activities, after which the amount of the daily allowance is adjusted.

– Next, I established a business name and looked into matters related to VAT, because I’m going to do the accounting myself during the experiment. Before the trial began, I went to the TE Office’s e-services to submit a notification, where I marked the starting date of the trial and other information, explains Hanna.

– It’s great to start the experiment and I’m a little excited, too, says a pleased Hanna.

At the end of the trial period, the TE Office will assess whether Hanna’s business activities are part-time or full-time based on how much time she has spent on the business activities.

The START team will stay in touch after the coaching

Hanna’s coaching group became her first entrepreneur network, and they will also continue meeting in the future.

– We agreed to catch up on how we’re doing over a shared lunch on the first Tuesday of each month. Peer support from the group has been very valuable, says Hanna.

Text: Satu Niiranen / Business Joensuu
Image: Rosa Cantarella






Themes: Start-ups