Incubator Blogs — Mentor Mirva Nevalainen: "I Want to See Positive Changes and Opportunities Everywhere"

From driving growth and digital transformation to combining part-time entrepreneurship with a corporate role, Nevalainen exemplifies the essence of effective time management with a commitment to making a meaningful impact.

Welcome to today's blog post — We've been featuring some of our esteemed mentors, discussing their perspectives on the role of social innovations in society, and exploring how they feel about being part of the Helsinki Incubators community. In today's post, we'll be chatting with Mirva Nevalainen.  

Nevalainen has a wealth of expertise in driving growth and digital transformation within a global business context. With a robust background in business development, strategy, partner ecosystem structures, and product and services development management, her track record reflects a strong aptitude for executing profitable growth strategies. We caught up with Nevalainen to find out what navigating the entrepreneurial landscape is like.  

Exploring the Journey of Mirva Nevalainen, a Catalyst for Positive Change and Community Engagement

The Helsinki Incubators mentor possesses a unique blend of analytical thinking, a visionary mindset, and an unwavering positive and energetic attitude. Nevalainen is a catalyst for positive change, continuously seeking opportunities to make a difference:  

“I want to see positive changes and opportunities everywhere. I’m quite analytic, I like to have a broad understanding of ideas or concepts and visions. I like logical thinking but still being a visionary and ideating nice things for the future. I have a positive mindset and I like to energise people.” 

Nevalainen has always combined her part-time entrepreneurial job with a corporate role, as she explains that maintaining discipline and self-motivation is crucial in managing both roles, which includes setting specific goals and deadlines for both her entrepreneurial venture and corporate job.  

“It is not very easy to manage time, especially if you are starting in a new place and you must learn about a new product and tools, etc. For example, sometimes I take my Saturday and then I plan what is the stage of my business and how much time per week I want to spend on it. You should think in advance how much you are willing to invest your time in.”  

Nevalainen doesn’t think that there’s only one possible way to give advice on time-managing since different people spend time in different ways, nevertheless, she points out that the balance between both jobs may fluctuate over time. It is important to be flexible and be ready to balance your working conditions and new business ideas. 

"Do You Know What Your Business Is All About? Because the Journey Will Not Be Easy for Sure"

Proper time planning, effective management, and a resilient mindset are key, however, Nevalainen believes that when starting your own business, one thing that people tend to forget or dismiss is to invest all the necessary time in trying to find more customers who really need your service or product. She emphasises the importance of anticipating customer inquiries, even those that catch you off guard, by having a clear understanding of the core societal issue your business addresses and how your company provides a solution.  

Being prepared and having a firm grasp of your value proposition will enhance your ability to effectively communicate and engage with customers. While Nevalainen explains how effective communication and engagement skills are vital for entrepreneurs and the success of their ventures, we ask her what the source of her entrepreneurial mindset comes from:   

“My vision comes from the willingness to have control of my best skills and to boost those things where I feel that I’m good at. Then, I find it fascinating to learn all these bits and pieces which are quite essential in entrepreneurship, especially in Finland where it’s important for entrepreneurs to stay informed about the current regulations and seek professional advice to ensure compliance while fostering social innovations.”  

In fact, if she could talk to her past self, at the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey, she would advise her to be bolder and get a clear understanding of what her best skills are.  

“It is super important that you have a genuine interest and thrive for the business from the beginning. Do you know what your business is all about? Because the journey will not be easy for sure. And the only way you find persistence is to have an interest in getting to know your customer.” 

"I’ve Noticed that The Helsinki Incubators Programmes Want to Take Things Further"

Nevalainen provides expert advice and guidance to businesses across various industries to help them tackle all kinds of challenges, improve performance, and ultimately achieve their goals. In the case of social businesses, mentors like Nevalainen, understand and appreciate the unique mission and purpose of the social enterprise, as she describes:  

“I’ve noticed that Helsinki Incubators is not only focused on developing the business model but also wants to take things further. For instance, the workshops cover very interesting topics like the well-being of the entrepreneurs or the ethics in business, and so on.”  

Nevalainen thinks that present and future programme participants should be ready to change their ideas in a timely manner. When she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey, her initial idea looked completely different compared to what it has evolved into now. However, the objective remains constant: she is driven by the desire to make a significant and meaningful contribution to society.   

“In the beginning, I thought that entrepreneurship was about freedom and the ability to make my own decisions and choose what kind of projects I want to do and how I want to grow. However, now I value the societal impact of my company and I evaluate the companies where I consider joining.” 

For the mentor, being part of Helsinki Incubators has provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with individuals who share a similar mindset and passion, having the chance to engage with fellow entrepreneurs and learn from their unique perspectives and approaches to solving social problems.  

Thank you for joining us today as we celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of our esteemed mentor! Let us all be inspired by her qualities and strive to make a difference in our own entrepreneurial journeys. 

The University of Helsinki's entrepreneurship programmes, the Helsinki Incubators, provides support and opportunities for bold thinkers in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area interested in taking their ideas and turning them into impactful ventures. Interested in getting involved in our pre-incubators and incubators? Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on when the next calls open.