Johanna Huurre is the Director of Invest In at Helsinki Partners, the city’s investment promotion agency
In November 2020, the Finnish capital made history by inviting people to test life in Helsinki for an unprecedented three month period. The pilot programme offered a free 90-day relocation package to Helsinki for selected tech professionals. The entrants – and their families – were invited to enjoy work-life balance unique to Nordics. All of this amidst the global pandemic, but with all safety measures taken. Helsinki is after all run based on a pragmatic, science-driven approach and markets itself as the “most functional city” in the world.
90 Day Finn is a program by Helsinki Partners, a city-owned company supporting trade and talent. The idea is simple: to invite tech professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors to see for themselves if the city’s promise holds water. This is a universal challenge for all cities and regions that market themselves to talent and investors: are the job offers good (the 9-5 o’clock life) and is the living environment good (the 5-9 o’clock life).
People loved it, both participants and the media
Helsinki Partners received over 5 000 applications in five weeks. International news coverage was 500 million readers, 2,5 million article ad views, 200 000 video views and 25 000 link clicks. During the programme two companies were established in Helsinki by the participants and many more business plans are being prepared. Half of the participants decided to stay longer in Helsinki.
#90dayfinn is something that all places can learn from. The key success factor lies not in the city’s size, offer or location. It is about co-operation, as such a package takes a lot of co-ordination, motivation and patience to organise and execute.
Johanna will talk about how a city can organise a premium test-living experience for all.