Siirry sisältöön
Finnish your business: episode 3
Published : 23.04.2021

What is an ES and how do they support entrepreneurs. In this episode we discuss why community is important and the different offerings from XES with Julia Reinhard and Evelin Bakó. For more information check

Transcription notes

I: Interviewer(s)
R: Respondent (s)
S: Speaker(s)

wo- an unfinished word
(word) an uncertain passage in speech or an unrecognised speaker
(-) an unrecognisable word
(–) unrecognisable words
[pause 10 s] a pause in speech of at least 10 seconds

, . ? : a grammatically correct punctuation mark or a pause in speech of less than 10 seconds

Interviewer: Sethi Namrata
Respondent 1:
Respondent 2:
Evelin Bako
Julia Reinhard

Length of recording: 19 minutes

(intro music)

Welcome to Finnish Your Business! In our podcast we leave no business unfin(n)ished. I am your host Namrata Sethi, and I’m also the marketing coordinator for the project MEGE. MEGE is a joint-project with Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki Business College, Aalto University and the Shortcut, and is funded by Uudenmaan Liitto. It is focused on promoting entrepreneurship with international talent. And today in our episode we are joined with two amazing ladies: Evelin and Julia. Welcome to our show, Evelin, and Julia!

Sethi Namrata: Hello ladies and thank you for joining us!

Evelin Bako and Julia Reinhard: Hello.

Evelin Bako: Thank you Namrata for having us.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah. We are happy to be here.

Sethi Namrata: Thank you. Could you just introduce yourselves?

Julia Reinhard: You wanna go first Evelin?

Evelin Bako: Yeah, I can go first. So, hi everybody! Thank you for listening. My name is Evelin Bako and I’ve been the chairperson of the XES Helsinki in 2020. Besides that I’m also involved in a lot of different kind of projects. I have another day job: marketing coordinator at a software company. And also, I’m running my own podcast/debate show that you can visit on YouTube, where we debate different sort of topics, and we aim to just kind of feature amateur debaters. But yeah, that’s briefly me.

Sethi Namrata: How about you Julia?

Julia Reinhard: Hi my name is Julia Reinhard. I am the vice-chair of XES Helsinki currently, and next year I will be the chairperson. So I’m really happy to join guys here today. Like Evelin, I also have another “day-job”: I work full-time as a marketing automation consultant. That takes up a lot of my time, but the rest of the time I’m thinking about entrepreneurship. I’m thinking about how to solve some of the problems caused by migration and international arrivals here in Helsinki, and the fact we don’t have access to the type of jobs sometimes that we should, and the ones that we want. And I think that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial mindset is a wonderful thing, that we can actually use to solve a lot of these problems. So I’m excited to talk about that with you guys here today.

Sethi Namrata: Great! Could you just tell me a little more about XES? What is XES?

Julia Reinhard: Mmhm.

Evelin Bako: You wanna go Julia, or?

Julia Reinhard: You can go ahead and I can, and I can fill in.

Evelin Bako: Okay, yeah, sure!

Sethi Namrata: (chuckles)

Evelin Bako: So XES is, actually a non-profit organization, and we are officially an entrepreneurship society. So we’ve been founded in 2018 with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship locally in Helsinki and more specifically in Pasila in Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. But this year we’ve been actually very lucky to expand our reach and actually even host people from abroad. I would say it’s been a very beneficial year for us, at least for the organization itself.

Evelin Bako: So we promote entrepreneurship and we try to make students, especially young people interested in entrepreneurship and that they can see it as a viable option for themselves. We also try to promote entrepreneurial skills and they can learn a lot of new skills. I would say one of our main kind of offering, or benefit, for those who are joining us is the networking experience. We currently have around 300 members so you can just really meet anyone.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah.

Evelin Bako: (–) [0:03:29, overlapping speakers]

Julia Reinhard: Just really quickly, I would add that we are kind of a student-led society, but we are not limited to student membership so our members from come from all walks of life. We have members from Finland and from all-over the rest of the world. From different universities, universities of applied sciences. So I think that it’s not only the networking, but the community we have that we have with these people that’s really important and one of the best things that we offer.

Evelin Bako: Yeah, that’s right. Of course we also have our very amazing mentors in our community and I think that’s very beneficial for many entrepreneurially minded people. When you are just starting off to get actual advice from entrepreneurs who already did it. And I think that’s also maybe one of the key areas of our community.

Julia Reinhard: Mmhm.

Sethi Namrata: That’s great. As like your mentioned it’s about entrepreneurship. So what does entrepreneurship mean to you and why is it important?

Julia Reinhard: I think entrepreneurship is so much more than what people perceive it to be. In the world today an entrepreneurial mindset is absolutely essential if you want to be really successful. Even if you don’t want to necessarily start your own business and look at entrepreneurship in a traditional way, as it’s a way of having your own business that you would be maybe like a solo entrepreneur, that you would maybe have a start-up, but just that you can really work on, on that mindset, that is going to benefit you in so many ways. I think that is what we’re more focused on as an organization. Of course we want to support entrepreneurs, that is one of our primary functions, but I think that it can benefit so many people, to just really work on the entrepreneurial mindset in general.

Evelin Bako: Yeah, I totally agree with Julia and I would also add that many people think that entrepreneurship is about making a business and, yes, it is about that as well. But I think it’s important to kind of acknowledge, and I’ve been actually, yesterday, listening to a podcast where people were talking about that nowadays people promote that you can do anything and you can become anyone. And I think it’s a bit like harmful in a way. I think it’s just important to acknowledge that maybe entrepreneurship is not for everyone.

Julia Reinhard: True.

Evelin Bako: But you can still benefit from entrepreneurial skills because I think at the end of the day it is about innovation and creating something from nothing. (chuckles)

(Julia Reinhard laughs)

Evelin Bako: You know I don’t know how to put it, but I feel that entrepreneurship to me, it means solving a problem in a very innovative, unique way.

Sethi Namrata: Yeah.

Julia Reinhard: Skills to create your own life and the life that you want, and to be successful in your field, whether that’s owning a business or working for somebody else.

Sethi Namrata: Yes.

Evelin Bako: Yeah.

Sethi Namrata: That’s great. Yeah, I truly believe that it is very important to have entrepreneurial skills.

Evelin Bako: Yeah.

Sethi Namrata: But is it only for entrepreneurs or anyone can join the community?

Evelin Bako: Anyone can join.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah.

Evelin Bako: Really there’s no barrier to join at all. So you can be literally anyone. You can be a person who just came out of high school, you can be a full-time employee, you can be someone who is searching for their own passion at the moment or – I really like we have so many different kinds of people in our community. So there’s really nothing that should stop you to join us or to come and talk with people.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah, I agree and I think the more diverse our community becomes the more everybody benefits. I would really encourage people that are also interested in self-improvement to come and join our community. We offer a lot of activities for that. Also people that just want to get to know themselves better and find out what they’re capable of, that’s also a big thing that we promote and we try to have events around that as well.

Sethi Namrata: We have been talking a lot about the community and I wanted to ask why is community important?

Evelin Bako: To me, personally: I just remember when I moved to Helsinki, I actually didn’t know anyone and it was very difficult for me. Because I was very interested in improving myself and I found these very prestigious business forums, for example, the Nordic Business Forum and other events that I couldn’t really attend to because I was on a student budget. So I couldn’t afford. I was really looking for something outside of school that is not just partying. We have a lot of student organizations. They are great, they organize lot of parties and activities, but I was looking for a bit something on the self-improvement and professional career development side. So that’s why, when I found XES, for me that was kind of a big deal. Because I met people who are interested in that and I could tell my crazy ideas to them and get their feedback. So for me, that was kind of community feeling that I first got and still. I think that’s why I stayed.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah. I think that the community is really the people, right? When you get such a diverse set of people and everybody’s had these different experiences, I think it’s not even just networking. It’s more like about enriching your perspective.

Evelin Bako: True.

Julia Reinhard: So I find that to be also very valuable. I have learned so much from people. Even things that I wasn’t seeking out, that I wouldn’t have never found out on my own. I shared things with people that I never really thought I could share with anybody. Sometimes if you have an idea you think, maybe when you’re by yourself, that’s it’s not so great. But when you trust the community and you have people within the community that you know will be open-minded, and it’s a safe space for you to share, that also helps you grow. Because you can be actually honest about your ambitions and your dreams and all of those things.

Evelin Bako: Yeah. And I would also add that for example, for me, the community itself also helped me to start my own project. For example, the debate show came, the whole idea came from XES. Because we’d been debating so much on the events, and I’d seen it. You know it really drives people, and I loved it. Then I just asked around for some feedback and people were really eager to give it. And I’d seen that okay, people are passionate about it as well so, why not do it? I think this is the kind of great stuff that you can just talk to people. I think humans are naturally kind of social, in way.

Sethi Namrata: Yeah.

Evelin Bako: So, I think that’s kind of what community is good for.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah. Advice, mentoring, sharing, we have it all. If you have like a dilemma or a problem.

Evelin Bako: Mmhm.

Julia Reinhard: And it’s something that maybe the people on your own level in the community can’t help you with. I’ve talked with our mentors about a lot of things. Like jobs, job searching, what is a good job to take for you, how will you know. These type of things that maybe it’s not so apparent. Especially when you come here as a foreigner, as I did also seven years ago. I think Evelin and I have about the same timetable. Those are all things that you can find you can find within XES.

Evelin Bako: Yeah. I think here you get such amazing opportunity to you. Interact with people who are so well-established in their work and they want to mentor you and guide you.

Evelin Bako: It’s a great, amazing support that you find, being in a community. I also moved three years back and I just wanted to be like, ‘why nobody is talking to me’ or you know. Let’s just go to events. You know you want to learn or see new stuff.

Evelin Bako: And the events really help you to grow your skills.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah. Definitely.

Sethi Namrata: That’s amazing.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah.

Sethi Namrata: So, what kind of people are the members of XES?

Evelin Bako: Well, as I mentioned I think we have all kinds of members. But the latest kind of research we did among the members showed that about 60% of them are students. So, they study somewhere, in Finland mostly, I would say. And then the other 40% they are like all kinds of people: they are entrepreneurs, they have maybe their own start-up, they’re freelancers. There’s also a lot of people who work full-time, there’s also people who don’t work. I really would say that’s really all kinds of people (chuckles)

Evelin Bako: It was also very interesting to see the amount of nationalities we have. There’s literally from all places of the Earth people joining us. Which is really great. I would also say there’s a lot of variety in the kind of skillset and interests of people. So, different interests represented also.

Sethi Namrata: What do you think Julia?

Julia Reinhard: I would also totally agree. I really don’t have that much to add. Yeah, we have basically all nationalities. Women, men, all ages, all types of interests, all types of skillsets, all levels of experiences. I think that is also very enriching, because we get so much more input from different perspectives. It helps us to also guide the community into making better decisions.

Evelin Bako: Yeah. And maybe what unites all of these people is the kind of interest in self-development or entrepreneurship in one way or another.

Sethi Namrata: At what stage would you say an entrepreneur should join your community or they should come to you?

Julia Reinhard: I don’t know. We’ve been talking about this actually. We wanna really refine, our customer journey and also within the ecosystem. At the moment we offer a lot of entry-level content. So basically, if you think about it like a funnel where the top of the funnel –

Evelin Bako: Yeah.

Julia Reinhard: – is people that are just interested in self-development, interested in entrepreneurship. Those are probably the first segment of people I would say should definitely join us. However, because we are a part of a larger ecosystem, people at levels can join. We’re actually hosting an event in January on the 12th.

Sethi Namrata: Okay.

Julia Reinhard: It’s an international event in collaboration with a US university, where we are going to host start-ups and entrepreneurs that already have either very developed business idea or actually a business incorporated. They are going to present those ideas. So we’ve gotten everybody from students that are just interested in self-development, to people that actually have their businesses already. It’s up to you. And if we don’t have the services you need, I’m pretty sure that we know who does. We can also serve as kind of a hub for people that maybe would like to be pointed into a certain direction. We’re happy also to do that.

Sethi Namrata: That’s great. What other future plans for XES?

Evelin Bako: (gasps)

Julia Reinhard: Do we talk about XES Global? It makes us sound like crazy masterminds.

(Everyone laughs)

Evelin Bako: No! I mean, we can maybe introduce the concept itself.
Julia Reinhard: Yeah.

Sethi Namrata: Yeah.

Evelin Bako: So originally, and this is from the very early stages of XES, we actually had a very global aim. Entrepreneurship societies are usually very focused locally and kind of serve or focus on local community. But we also want to expand our reach, as I mentioned, and we would like to basically develop different societies abroad. On the same kind of XES concept. And I think we’ve been doing great job this year towards that goal. As Julia mentioned, we’re also next year developing different sort of events. But I would maybe give to Julia the word because, she will be actually continuing with XES next year.

Julia Reinhard: Umm.

Evelin Bako: So, if there is any sort of plans for, for next year besides the international concepts?

Julia Reinhard: Well, we’re trying now to develop these different plans. But we’re going to be working a lot more, for instance, in collaboration with start-up school at Haaga-Helia.


Julia Reinhard: That’s really great for us in that we also get access to sort of deeper pool of speakers, different types of people that hold workshops. Things of that nature. Some other secret plans that maybe I shouldn’t – (everyone laughs) I shouldn’t talk about here, that are not like totally finalized. But I know that the XES Global is a priority of ours. I think it’s become more of a priority as we’ve seen how interacting over the Internet can really increase our reach. So, who knows? Harnessing the power of the Internet and these different sort of digital solutions for creating communities is something we really hope to explore more.

Evelin Bako: Yeah. I think one thing, that we got the feedback from this year is that there’s really a need for a place or a community, or some sort of thing, where people can easily validate their ideas in different markets.

Evelin Bako: If I have an idea. Okay, I maybe did this research here in Finland and it did will stand, but what about the US? Or what about in China?


Evelin Bako: If I want to expand, how can I validate that quickly and easily? If we would have members from different areas of the planet, then maybe it would be a lot easier. We’ve been trying to kind of develop this concept further. I think maybe next year we’ll see a lot of development in that area.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah. And we have had some changes in our operations board, so I know that those people will probably also have kind of their own areas of interest. And we do try to honor that. To help people also develop, when they’re part of our leadership, in the ways that they’re interested in.

Sethi Namrata: Oh, that’s really exciting.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah.

Evelin Bako: (chuckles)

Sethi Namrata: So, how do we become a member of XES? How can you join XES?

Evelin Bako: You can become a member attending one of our events or you can just go to a website, sign-up as a member. We also have our own communications app, so you can download XES Network and just sign-up and talk to us. Really like, there’s nothing that you should get, to hold you back.

Julia Reinhard: Yea., it’s up. It’s been recently renewed. Let us know also what you think about the site. How was using it, what you think about the sign-up process. We’re always welcoming feedback.

Evelin Bako: Yeah! Of course.

Julia Reinhard: From members and potential members, but don’t be shy.

(Everyone chuckles)

Evelin Bako: Yes, yes.

Julia Reinhard: We wanna be (-). Please join us!

Sethi Namrata: That’s great. So, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs, let’s see, in five words?

Evelin Bako: Hmm.

Julia Reinhard: Ahh. I don’t know. I don’t have typical advice for entrepreneurs, but I would just say that: entrepreneurial mindset is for everyone. That would be my five words.

(–) [0:17:38, overlapping speakers]

Evelin Bako: Yeah. I was also just thinking maybe I don’t even have five words but one thing I realized, and maybe one seen among entrepreneurs: what is important is consistency. I think that’s what kind of makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurs. They have very consistent so- Be consistent. Two words!

(Everyone laughs)

Julia Reinhard: Keep trying, you know.

Evelin Bako: Yeah.

Julia Reinhard: I think like it’s also important to know when to kill your darlings, as they say, and give up. But work on your idea every day. Every time you have time to do it.

Julia Reinhard: Really, I do agree that’s super important for any type of success.

Sethi Namrata: Yeah.

Evelin Bako: And maybe if you’re in the beginning of it, just don’t fall in love with your own idea.

Sethi Namrata: Yeah.

Sethi Namrata: That’s the universal law.

Evelin Bako: Yeah, I would say so.

Julia Reinhard: Yeah, yeah. If it’s only for you.

(Everyone laughs)

Julia Reinhard: It doesn’t work.

Sethi Namrata: That’s true. But hey, thank you! Thanks a lot for joining and it’s been lovely having you guys here.

(theme music starts playing)

Sethi Namrata: And please join XES.

Evelin Bako: Yes please!

Julia Reinhard: Yea. Thanks, Namrata, you’ve been a great host.

Sethi Namrata: Thank you, and also for MEGE for the collaboration.

Julia Reinhard: Yea.

Evelin Bako: Yeah.

(Thank you, thanks a lot.)

(theme music continues playing)