After sampling more Lapland delicacies at breakfast, I donned my boots and warm coat and walked across town with Maiju, my host from Talent Tampere. The conditions were perfect for walking, the snow being crisp underfoot with no dangerous icy patches to contend with.
Our first destination of the day was at Crazy Town which is a co-working space and business community intended for both start-up and established micro-sized companies and freelancers. My prize in winning the Talent Tampere international blog competition was to come to Finland and explore the travel, business and international aspects of Tampere, and what better place to start with international business than here.
Business Tampere had organised a winter warm-up event for local companies, Tampere ambassadors and members of Crazy Town. Stepping inside, I was impressed with the informal yet well organised layout. There’s a large open plan area ideal for seminars, networking and events like this. Surrounding this space are around 75 small office units on two floors, connected on the upper level by an eye-catching wooden bridge.
Timo Lahti, the sales director gave us a tour of the building and explained that there had been so much interest in this working concept that construction has already started to add an additional 25 working spaces within the existing building. It’s not only locals who are interested in this way of working, Crazy Town is also home to many international entrepreneurs.
The event was well attended by an international audience and got underway with a light breakfast. After a welcome introduction by Talent Tampere there was a talk by Woolman, an e-commerce company who design and develop on-line stores for their customers. This presentation started with some nature photos and of the speaker’s fly-fishing hobby that became the inspiration for the company, demonstrating how lifestyle changes can lead to a business plan. This was followed by a series of short pitches by Crazy Town members who were aiming to expand their businesses. Attending the event had been inspirational, demonstrating how it’s possible for development ideas to be transformed into successful small businesses
It had then been arranged for me to have lunch with the Talent Tampere team and one of their ambassadors so that I could learn about her role. We walked through town to the Puisto restaurant beside the Tammerkoski rapids. Utilising the power from these rapids, Tampere flourished with its cotton mills but nowadays it’s been transformed into a city noted for its technological innovation
Puisto translated into English means park, and from our window table we had splendid views across the park to the river beyond. The buffet lunch had lots to tempt me and I enjoyed a selection of hot dishes and salad whilst learning more about Tampere’s international links.
Later, we had a stroll through the town where I discovered a really nice design shop called Taito that showcased Finnish design and local arts and crafts. If only my suitcase was large enough to take home so many of their products!
Later, I was a guest at another of Tampere’s innovative tech companies but I’m going to hold back on that story for now and introduce you to them a little later – so stay tuned for more!
During the evening I enjoyed a final stroll through the town, the dark winter nights brightened by a thick covering of snow and twinkling lights. Each winter the centre of Tampere holds a Festival of Light when the streets are illuminated with hundreds of lights ranging from traditional installations to urban art projected onto the sides of buildings allowing both locals and visitors to view the city under a different light.
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