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Team Academy – trip to the wild west of management education

Options:     Print Version - Team Academy – trip to the wild west of management education, part 4 Print view

Ending unemployment through entrepreneurship

The theoretical basis behind TA has been well thought out, but the practical aim remains thoroughly pragmatic. It boldly and uncompromisingly states its aims as:

"To remove unemployment in Finland and to revolutionize marketing and learning. To abolish the old structures which hinder new companies and accelerate progress through entrepreneurship."

TA believes that by teaching people to be entrepreneurs, they become not so much employable as employment generating. Enterprise is a key element in creating a healthy society, so if you create an entrepreneurial spirit, you create jobs and you also help put a brake on the old hierarchical structures that hold back the economy – the term used is "teampreneurship".

At a recent TA seminar, Peter Senge commented that the idea of entrepreneurship was the opposite of teamwork, and whereas to combine the two might seem insane, it actually worked "in an amazing way".

Henna acknowledges that the strong welfare culture of Finland creates a culture of support that makes people reluctant to do anything as daring as starting a company – "why would you start a company, if you can have easy money for living?".

Thirty per cent of TA students start their own company, and many of these companies become established and successful, employing people outside TA. A few are listed below:

  • DialogueLife, a company that measures team performance by assessing communication and dialogue, and employs two people.
  • Festago a company that organizes events, including big rock festivals, and employs between two and 100 people depending on the season.
  • A marketing and design company, Dot Design, employing eight to 12 people.
  • The Monkey Business coaching company, Henna's own company, which currently employs seven people and is growing.
  • Aivoteollinen Toimisto, a personnel recruitment and event marketing company, which employs between three and 30 people.
  • Moneral, which makes wooden dishes and employs two to four people. The President of Finland bought 300 for a banquet for her Japanese guests.
  • Team Mastery, a collaborative forum for TA coaches.
  • Secco, which recycles old objects into reusable and attractive items – "car tyre inner-tubes are turned into handbags, washing machine drums into stylish bowls, computer keys into magnets and key rings" boasts their website – employing ten people in production and sales.

Even if the total number of new jobs created is not that high, the above remains an impressive list. And for the 70 per cent of TA graduates who do not start new businesses, there is a 100 per cent employment rate (as against that for Jyväskylä University, which is 70 per cent).

This figure is attributed to the skills generated by the TA experience:

  • networking with customers,
  • lots of practical work experience,
  • presentation skills, and
  • the maturity that comes from the process of training by dialogue and team building.