Despite being a small country with a population of 5.5 million people in 2021, Finland has emerged as one of Europe's hottest start-up scenes.
The vibrant ecosystem has attracted the interest of foreign investors, including private individuals and companies looking for new business opportunities. According to the Finnish Venture Capital Association, Finnish start-ups raised a total of 1.2 billion euros in investment in 2021.
The ecosystem's success is largely due to government support, a stable business environment, research facilities, and a world-class education system, among other things.
Many universities now take an entrepreneurial approach to education. Aalto University, for example, has played a significant role in creating the Finnish start-up culture for decades.
In collaboration with Aalto University Executive Education, over thirty students from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany are on an innovation business study tour in Finland to learn about Finnish startups and customer-centric innovation culture.
The students would visit several start-up companies to hear from industry keynote speakers and network with the local players.
During their visit to IQM headquarters in Espoo, the students were given a presentation on how IQM started, the quantum computing landscape, and career opportunities by the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, Dr. Juha Vartiainen.
He told the students that IQM began with a napkin drawing one afternoon at Hoplop, a Finnish indoor adventure park. He recalled how his former Aalto University classmate and co-founder, Dr. Mikko Möttönen, was encouraged to start the business by Risto Siilasmaa and Ilyas Khan.
He praised Aalto University for assistance in the initial stages of the company and told the students that “in the start-up space, you need a clear vision with a good business plan to get support from people.”
He was proud of the company’s achievements so far, adding that the company is on track with its mission of building world-leading quantum computers for the well-being of humankind thanks to its top-notch employees, partners, and investors.
In his presentation, quantum engineer Fabian Marxer shared his experience of working at IQM. He discussed how the organisational structure of IQM has changed positively as the company has grown from a few employees to well over a hundred now.
Both Dr. Vartiainen and Marxer answered all the many questions from the students. The questions ranged from how to secure seed funding for your startup idea to how they could apply to work at IQM.
"It was the TUM students’ particular wish to get to see IQM, one of the most exciting start-ups in Finland, and we were very honoured to be welcomed so generously."
“Dr. Vartiainen’s inspiring presentation about the beginnings of IQM was incredibly useful and empowering for the students,” said Isabell Junkkari, the Program Manager at Aalto University Executive Education, who co-led the students to IQM.
The students were also treated to a fascinating tour of the IQM laboratory. They interacted with the principal engineer, Jean-Luc Orgiazzi, on the development of a quantum computer.
This visit helped students to learn more about how to source funding, manage a start-up, recruit staff, and provided an opportunity to explore potential opportunities for employment.
"I am happy to receive this insightful information on quantum computing. It is great to see how IQM is working innovatively to achieve quantum advantage”, said an excited master’s student, Tiechun Zhou.
Carolin Bastian, a master’s student with a business background, said: “It’s interesting to see how you can manage technology from a business perspective and how you can grow a company.”
Isabell Junkkari concluded, “Everyone left inspired to believe in their ideas and to believe in things that others say are impossible. Thank you, IQM team, for hosting us; for taking the time to really be present with the students and answer their questions. We had a wonderful afternoon that we will never forget.”
Be a part of this exciting journey and start your quantum career now. Explore current jobs in IQM here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Sarpong Bruce is a Communications Specialist at IQM. He has over ten years of experience in marketing and communications across diverse industries, including mining, telecommunications, and insurance. He is also a former business journalist and has experience in public relations and media buying agencies.