WHAT IS A CHANCE FOR NON- FINNISH SPEAKING ENTREPRENEURS?
Last time I have read one discussion topic on the community Facebook page of Vietnamese people in Finland answering the questions of one student in Vietnam about whether she should choose to study in the university in Finland or in Sweden. I expected there would be some advice from my community to choose Finland, but surprisingly there was not anyone proposing Finland in nearly 100 comments. All people advised to choose the university in Sweden because in Sweden there will be more job opportunities after graduation, the environment in Sweden is easier for English speaking people, Swedish language was also believed to be easier to learn than Finnish, etc. Along the shared stories, I have learnt that many people with a lot of experience and university degrees could not find any job in Finland or could not have the opportunity to work in the same field as their career before. Most of them must change to work in the proposed jobs for immigrants by TE like being a cook, cleaner, nurse, etc. and must learn to be able to use Finnish fluently.
All of these made me think a lot and relate to my own experience in finding jobs, learning Finnish and doing business in Finland. Everything mentioned in the discussion happened exactly same to me. No Finnish degree, no good Finnish ability, no good knowledge of culture, etc. have made me really struggled with finding the job and get acquainted well with Finland environment. However, even though I put a lot of effort learning Finnish, all job opportunities seem to be closed for me. I have learnt that many people in my community have been facing the same. One even shared that from when he changed the name into Finnish, he could get the interview opportunity right away after 2 years looking for the job even though he has been living in Finland over 10 years and knows things very well here.
What can be a development chance for non-good-Finnish-skill entrepreneurs?
During the sales day 2021 in Proakatemia, Hekumu has sold a lot of products. However, those efforts were made mostly by Finnish speaking sales teams which could communicate well with the resellers and customers. Since then, Hekumu sales activity had to be frozen for not having the salesman to continue the works. Sandy and I cannot communicate well in Finnish because we are only in the basic levels which are not enough for emailing, calling, or feedbacking to the buyers. A big barrier of language started and caused a lot of difficulties. We have been trying to use google translate, asking helps from husbands to fix grammar mistakes, etc. with the effort to communicate but not much use. I remember one day when we delivered the products to the companies in Ylöjärvi. The buyer cut off the call immediately right after he heard hello from me. That was really painful feeling since we were shocked for the situation and could not know what to do when we were in front of the company’s door already. I could understand that Finnish people do not want to communicate in English, or they may feel shy to use it. Just I could not understand why English speaking is not accepted in business environment when 90% of Finnish people in the YLE survey have responded they spoke some English.
Obviously to be an entrepreneur in Finland, foreign people need to learn to be able to use fluently Finnish in daily business activities or they need to pay the cost for the translation service. Obstacle does not come only from the business activities, but also from the language barriers.