We talked to Teemu Pinomäki, COO at Tribe Tampere, a community consisting of people dedicated to serve Tampere startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Teemu Pinomäki: This has certainly been a difficult time for many, but on the other hand, I would like to point out that this has also been an opportunity to get closer to ourselves and our surrounding nature. At least I’ve noticed that in Finnish people.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Tribe Tampere.
Teemu Pinomäki: Before Tribe, I studied entrepreneurship at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. In this particular unit, you study entrepreneurship in a team company, and these teams are part of a larger community of about 150 people. During this time, I learned the importance of community to myself as well as its enormous potential to create change.
So when I heard that there are these people who want to start a startup community, I obviously wanted to see what’s up. So, I got to know the founders of Tribe Tampere around spring 2017 before Tribe was established. I immediately got excited about the mission of these guys and spent my summer vacation with them, demolishing and building our future facilities.
Numerous long renovation days on hot summer days created a huge sense of ownership of Tribe Tampere that I still carry today.
How does Tribe Tampere innovate?
Teemu Pinomäki: By listening and giving active support. We trust in activating the whole community in innovating with us. As a platform association, it is important to identify emerging ideas and give them support and nurture to get these ideas on their own feet.
For active individuals, Tribe Tampere operates as a gateway into the startup scene. We will introduce newcomers to the right networks and offer them support on their project ideas. We also interview our community’s startups to learn how we could best be of service to them. On top of that, we bring all the startup and entrepreneurial communities of the region together regularly to innovate together for a common goal of making Tampere a strong and unified startup city.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Teemu Pinomäki: We are a community based very much on face to face encounters, so of course, the change has been huge. All the events have been moved online or canceled, and usually, our premises are filled with people having random conversations. Usually, these random encounters and chats are the most fulfilling and thought-provoking moments, and now they are gone.
On the other hand, the timing for us has not been the worst; as we have moved to a new location and expanded our team, we have had more time to plan a new kind of operating model.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Teemu Pinomäki: Countless!
But I would definitely like to raise one thing that has started to frustrate people. Closing our sauna has proven to be a challenge for many. I have numerous discussions every week about whether “we can go to the sauna,” “I wish the sauna was on,” or “could we put it on?”
I can’t wait to get to the sauna!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Teemu Pinomäki: Tribe Tampere is a community, and we have strong values to keep the community working together.
We have an awesome core team of enthusiastic employees, interns, and community builders. The people are the heart of the Tribe Tampere, and we do everything to support each other and our mutual goals. I think that is why we have been able to grow in these challenging times.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Teemu Pinomäki: Our model is to unite, enable and strengthen the already existing ecosystem. So, we do not have in the traditional sense competitors, only collaborations. And as long as you don’t see enemies around you but possibilities and cooperation, you will thrive supporting others. Business is not a zero-sum game.
Your final thoughts?
Teemu Pinomäki: When we finally get to travel again and meet people face to face, we would love to see you here in Tampere! We have an exceptional house full of startup entrepreneurs, city officials, corporations, for- and nonprofit organizations working together. Whether you are an entrepreneur, investor, talent, or corporation, our house community offers synergies you won’t find anywhere else.
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