Foxes Spotted at Startup Sauna

Do you know what an accelerator is? Something speeding things up, sure, but who are they really for, and what happens in one? International Fox Agency tried one in the autumn of 2018. And it put a real big grin on each fox’s face!


Sometime last autumn Kirsi heard about something called Kiuas Start (Pre-)Accelerator. We knew that there were some accelerators in Finland and that they were intense workshops for tech ideas, but that’s about it. After a discussion with a more experienced person on our grand plan for IFA, we thought it might be worthwhile to try this accelerator thing ourselves too. The only challenge was to get into one of them. Luckily Kiuas Start’s application period was still ongoing, so we did what anyone does on a Saturday night over a glass of wine and applied for it.

To our positive surprise, we got into the interview! In the interview, we got excited about our grand plan, as we always do, and that might have just been the thing to get us in. Since we did get in, and suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of the startup hustle and bustle, tech talk and business hype. Our backgrounds seemed somewhat different to many of the other participants but luckily we don’t lack courage, and bravely went where few MA’s have gone before.

Again, to our positive surprise and encouragement, we found a lot of like-minded people at Kiuas Start. All of us participants were there to realise some goal. Many of us had a product to develop and the three-week programme certainly made all our plans go forward leaps and bounds. We went through the whole process of product development and got lots of useful feedback from our peers. We gained a lot of experience and valuable tips from mentors such as Pia Erkinheimo, Tomi Kaukinen, Risto Siilasmaa and Jari Jaanto.  Every session gave food for thought and practical ideas for service development.

Kiuas hommia_2

Photo: Matti Lehti gives Tanja valuable tips on website building.

The whole programme was very well structured. The three weeks were intense, full of talks, interactive sessions, workshops, even a hackathon, and of course, fun times. The organisers put in a lot of effort and facilitated a great programme for all of us. And we were all expected to deliver. too All participants were expected to come to the weekly meetings and all other sessions, deliver on their weekly goals, present their products and much more. The group was really supportive and our time together was very well spent.  We want to thank everyone in the program again for everything, the support, the cheer and the spirit.

It was a great privilege for us to participate in this program and we truly appreciate having this opportunity. We made many good connections and continue to keep in touch with our peers and mentors. In addition to learning more about business, strategy and our products, networking was the greatest advantage for us. We also had a private plan of using our own networks to help others and were happy to share some connections with 2/3 of the teams.

Junction guys_2

Photo: Networking with Hack Junction’s Aleksi and Iiro

We wanted to share our experience at Kiuas Start Accelerator to encourage others to join too. If you have an idea about a service/product etc. and you find a suitable accelerator in your area, try it! It might be just the boost you need to get started! It’ll definitely give you confidence, great networks and good experiences to build on.

The application period for the next Kiuas Start is now open. Check out what’s in store and apply here. And if you want to hear more about our experiences, just send us a message (contact details here).

Oh, and our service that we wanted to develop? Well it’s just about ready, so keep watching this space. 😉

All the best,

Kirsi & Tanja

your partners in internationalisation



Hiring International Talent

Hello there! Congratulations on your decision to hire an international talent! We’re sure they will be an excellent addition to your team.

When hiring an international talent, the employer needs to take care of several matters from ensuring the right to work to keeping the employee happy in Finland. There is quite a lot of detail involved and we thought we would share our knowledge on these matters to help you along. This text explains some of the most important topics and directs you forward.


As you discuss the employment prospect with your future employee, remember to also discuss expectations, both theirs and yours. You should be able to convey what you are offering them and expect from them in return.

In addition, you are in the position to tell them about working and living in Finland since you very likely are one of their most important contacts here. They will have an idea about working in your company but if they do not have prior knowledge of Finland, they might not have much of an idea of what life is like here. So do tell them what you can, direct them to resources about Finland and Finnish culture, provide the opportunity to talk with a future colleague etc. We’d also be happy to provide you with relevant material, a training etc.

To begin with:

  • Agree on work related matters, such as tasks, salary, benefits, holidays, terms and conditions etc.
  • Tell them about working and living in Finland
  • Tell them to prepare their official documentation in advance
  • Direct them to additional resources
  • Connect them with your company’s HR
  • Connect them with a future colleague
  • Consider additional material, training etc.

PR puzzle3


As an employer, you are obligated by law to confirm that your employees have the right to perform the work you are hiring them for in Finland. For instance, if you are hiring a developer to work for you full-time for more than 3 months, they should have more than a visa for Finland. The right documentation is very likely either an EU registration or a residence permit for a specialist.

The right to work can be checked and acquired from the Finnish Immigration Services (Migri). Nordic citizens only need to register at the magistrate. You can read more about this in our previous text (link) and on Migri’s website.

Information for employers  and on the right to work.

You should ask your employee to provide proof of their right to work. You should confirm their identity and that the proof of right to work matches their details and the situation. It is advisable to take a copy, and remind the employee of the need to renew the permit, if necessary.

Proof of the right to work can be

  • EU registration certificate for EU residents
  • Residence permit for Finland, a visa or confirmation of visa waiver (under 90 days only) for non EU residents
  • Excerpt of the national population registration for Nordic citizens
  • EU Blue Card

NB! A residence permit for another EU country does not automatically grant the right to work in Finland. Check the situation with Migri.

You can assist the employee in taking care of their registration or residence permit. If the employee grants you access to the Immigration Service’s system, Enter Finland, you can add information and pay the fees as well. You can also make use of relocation services in this, and anything else related to moving and settling-in Finland.


Another obligation is to inform the local TE services, i.e. public employment and business services, about all foreign employees who are not EU citizens. The information should include key employment conditions and compliance with the collective agreement. If you are not sure what the relevant collective agreement is, contact TE services or the Confederation of Finnish Industries.

NB! Failing to comply with your employer obligations can result in a fine or other sanctions.


Obviously all normal employer obligations, such as safe working conditions, insurances, suitable tools and support services, apply to all employees regardless of their nationality. In Finland, the employer also takes care of the tax and other contributions from the employee’s salary. For more information, visit the tax office’s website.

The employee must provide you with a tax card or otherwise you must make a 60% tax deduction from the salary. The high tax can be compensated after the employee provides you with a tax card but it is better to get taxation right to begin with. Ask your employee to contact the tax office as soon as possible.

Most employees are enrolled in the Finnish social security system managed by Kansaneläkelaitos (Kela). Part of the contributions from a salary go to the social security system. An employee can apply for social security coverage from Kela. It is good to explain to the employee all the contributions that will be made from the salary, so that the net salary does not come as a surprise to them.

It is also good to note that pension contributions accrued into the Finnish system stay in the Finnish system, even if the person moves abroad. They can apply for their pension when they become of pensionable age in Finland, and the pension benefit can be paid to them anywhere in the world.

Taxation, social security and pension issues can be addressed in International House Helsinki, if the employee works or lives in the capital area of Finland. The service desk personnel can explain these matters in more detail, and a person can get their tax card and apply for social security coverage on the spot, for instance. For more information visit their website.


Moving to a new country or city is a big decision and entails more than just the bureaucracy. Obviously, induction to the work and working community is very important and as the employer, you need to pay attention to that. As mentioned earlier, international talents might wish for a more detailed induction into working and living in Finland, and usually appreciate help with many practicalities too.

Things to consider regarding settling-in

  • accommodation
  • daily life
  • induction to work
  • integration to local community
  • language courses

Wherever you live, the most important thing is to have some place to call home. One of the best things that you as the employer can do, is help your new employee find their new home. In addition, it is great if you can help them with issues related to daily life and getting to know their new city and local community. The rental market in Finland can be tight, especially in the capital area. Searching for the right place might take some time so it’s good to start early. Of course, furnished short-term accommodation is also available and it might be a good option in the beginning. For the longer term, it is usually better to find a ‘normal’ rental apartment since that is usually more affordable and also more comfortable.

Starting a new job is always exciting and surely your working community is full of great people. Hobbies, interest groups and networks are also great for making new friends and finding a good work-life balance. Learning about the local culture and language is highly recommendable, and key to really becoming a local. There are plenty of Finnish language courses available, and you can get a cultural training from us, for instance. The most important thing is to support your employer with starting their new job and life in Finland. A smooth start sets the course for a fruitful and enjoyable experience, for you and them.

We hope you found this information useful and helpful. If you would like any further assistance with international recruitment, talent attraction or training for instance, do contact us and let’s talk more.

Your partners in internationalization,

Kirsi & Tanja


Migri, Finnish Immigration Services

International House Helsinki

Kela, social security institution

Vero, tax office

Infopankki, information on living in Finland in several languages

Business Finland, information about working in Finland

Visit Finland, information about Finland



Relocating to Finland? Let us tell you what to do, how and why.


Setting up a life in a new country is a lot of work and full of details. You need to know what to do, when and how to do it, and also preferably, why you should be doing all of it.

International Fox Agency can help with all these questions. To start, do read our description of the overall process of moving to Finland. And if you have any further questions, join our webinar later this year (see below for more information).

The Relocation Process in a nutshell

Relo process in brief

The Finnish system includes many interconnected points and taking care of everything in the right order is important. It will ensure that you have met the legal requirements concerning coming to, residing and working in Finland, and make organizing your life much easier. It is good to know that most registrations and applications are free of charge, except for immigration documents and private services, such as using a bank account.

The first steps, preparation, immigration and local registration, are of utmost importance. The other steps are much easier to take care of once these are in order. So even if you do nothing else, make sure you

1. get your immigration documents ready early enough

2. visit the Finnish Immigration Service and/or

3. visit the magistrate first thing when you come to Finland.



You need to take care of several things from translating documents to finding a home when you move to another country. Usually the process has many steps and the different points in the process can affect others. Relocating is a puzzle and with our help you can easily connect the pieces.

PR puzzle3


What? Before your move, prepare your official documents. You need to make sure you have

  • original versions of birth, marriage and other significant certificates
  • translations of the above, if they are not in Finnish, Swedish or English
  • legalisations of the above, if they have not been issued in Finland
  • for more information see

List of required documents (coming soon)

Also, consider contacting moving services for any furniture or personal items, check import regulations for cars or pets, and take care of your insurances.

Health issues: It is advisable to get a health check before coming to Finland, especially if you come from areas with infectious diseases. Finland is a risk-free area in that you do not need any vaccinations against diseases in Finland. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination against mosquitoes, rainy summers or the cold and dark winter nights. We will provide tips on surviving those in a later blog post.

Why? Making sure your documentation is in order will help you take care of all the official things related to immigration, local registration, taxation, renting apartment and much more. If the documentation is lacking, you will have difficulties and experience delays with many things throughout your settling-in phase.

How? You need to:

  • contact the official who issued your certificates and ask for legalization of the documents
  • contact an official translator who can translate the documents into Finnish, Swedish or English
  • if the translations are done by an authorized translator in Finland, the translation does not have to be legalized
  • contact your doctor to get a health check if you come from an area with infectious diseases



What? Your first priority is to ensure legal entry into Finland. Depending on your nationality and length of stay in Finland, you need either a visa, a residence permit or an EU registration.

You should apply for your visa and residence permit from your home country.  In some cases, you can enter the country without a visa or residence permit. For more information see

EU citizen: register at the Finnish Immigration Service, if your stay exceeds 90 days.

Non-EU citizen: Check if you can enter Finland without a visa, or if you need a visa or residence permit for a stay exceeding 90 days.

Nordic citizen: Register at the local magistrate within 1 week of arriving in Finland.

Successful application of immigration documents requires visiting the immigration officials or authorized representative in person. This includes children.

Residence permit type

If you apply for a residence permit, the permit type depends on your reason for staying in Finland. Most common reasons are family ties, work and studies. If you have a work contract, the type of residence permit depends on the type of work you do. For instance, specialists, researchers and management positions have separate residence permit applications.

Let’s assume you are an experienced ICT professional coming to work in Finland for over 3 months with a monthly gross salary exceeding 3000€. In this case you would apply for a residence permit for a specialist.

Why? You have a legal requirement to make sure your immigration documents are in order. This affects entering Finland, taking care of your local registration, and your right to work in Finland, among other things.

How? You need to

  • check the Finnish Immigration Services website and/or the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to confirm what type of entry documents you need to enter Finland
  • fill in an application for the document
  • pay the document application
  • present yourself at a Finnish mission or authorized visa center (if you are abroad) or the Finnish Immigration Service (if you are already in Finland)
  • wait to receive the document before entering Finland



What? In addition to getting your immigration documents in order, you should register at the local magistrate. Registration is recommendable in all cases. Nordic citizens must register their move to Finland within one week of arrival.

To register your right of residence at the magistrate, you need:

  • proof of legal entry (i.e. EU registration certificate or residence permit)
  • original versions of required documents
  • translations of the above, if they are not in Finnish, Swedish or English
  • legalisations of the above, if they have not been issued in Finland
  • for more information see
  • work contract or other document that verifies the length of your stay in Finland

Registration at the magistrate must be taken care of in person. This includes children.

Why? Your local registration, i.e. registering your right of residence will give you access to cheaper local services, such as health care services and local public transport, as well as opening a bank account and applying for social security coverage and benefits.

How? You need to:

  • visit the local magistrate office in person
  • have all the required documents with you
  • fill in an application and leave it with an official for processing
  • in the capital area, go to International House Helsinki

International House Helsinki also gives information on taxation, social security, pension etc. For more information see the website.

NB! At the very least, take care of your legal entry into Finland and local registration!



In addition to the above, you should take care of the following:

It is also advisable to familiarize yourself with Finnish culture and learn the language. Learning about the host country will help you understand local habits and culture related to everyday life, and will make your experience more enjoyable. It will also make it easier to make friends and join the community. You can learn more about Finland in advance or find a suitable information source or training to help you when you have arrived in Finland.

If you have any questions on the above, do join our next live webinar on 13.12.2018 at 4 pm Finnish time. Attendance is free of charge, all you need to do is register via this link in advance.

The webinar has a top limit of 100 participants. Registration ends 12.12.2018 or when the 100 person limit has been reached.

For other services, do email us at


Mikä kv-kettujuttu?

Ajateltiin avata tätä meidän kv-kettuasiaa vähän lisää, että sinäkin hyvä lukija tiedät mitä me teemme. International Fox Agencyn ajatuksena on edistää Suomen kansainvälistymistä, ja miksei myös maailmanrauhaa.

Satuimme olemaan paikalla, kun joku eräässä seminaarissa sanoi kansainvälistymisen olevan vielä utopiaa pk-sektorille. Rohkenemme olla eri mieltä. Tai ainakin tiedämme, että voimme muuttaa tämän ajattelumallin. Päätimme siis tarttua haasteeseen.

Tehdään yhdessä kansainvälistymisestä totta!

Me kv-ketut Kirsi ja Tanja olemme tehneet töitä kansainvälisten asioiden parissa jo kauan ja käyneet monissa seminaareissa puhumassa ja kuuntelemassa keskustelua aiheeseen liittyen. Tematiikka ei ole juurikaan muuttunut viimeisen kymmenen vuoden aikana, ja monesti samaa pyörää maalataan tai viilataan uudelleen. Viime vuosina on onneksi tullut monia hyviä avauksia, kuten StartUp Refugees ja Talent Boost. Eri sektoreilla on erinäisiä mielenkiintoisia hankkeita käynnissä esimerkiksi osaajien houkutteluun liittyen, kuten WorkBoost Finland ja Hidden Gems jne. Mekin toki olemme aktiivisesti monessa mukana, sillä kansainvälisyys on meille enemmän kuin ammatti, se on intohimo ja sydämen asia.

No mitä tämä sitten liikuttaa sinua, utopistinen pk-yrittäjä? No sitä että mitäpä jos lähtisit meidän matkassa näihin kv-talkoisiin mukaan? Tiedämme että se vaikuttaa hieman pelottavalta, jos et ole näissä puuhissa ikinä ollut, mutta ällös huoli, me kyllä autamme sinua! Jos olet koskaan harkinnut ulkomaalaisen osaajan palkkaamista tai vaikka liiketoiminnan kehittämistä kansainvälistymisen kautta, mutta jostain syystä jumitat asian kanssa, ota yhteyttä. Laitetaan pallo pyörimään!

Mitä me käytännössä voimme tehdä? Oletetaan vaikka, että haluaisit palkata ulkomaalaisen työntekijän, muttet tiedä mitä kaikkea sinun tai yrityksesi tulee ottaa huomioon, mitä työntekijän täytyy tehdä tai edes mistä hänelle asunto saataisiin. Me selvennämme byrokratiaviidakon kommervenkit, autamme yritystäsi hoitamaan viranomaisasiat, ja mietimme kanssasi miten työntekijä saadaan sulavasti asettautumaan paikkakunnalle ja työyhteisöönne. Samalla vakuutamme kyllä muutkin organisaatiossasi siitä, että esimerkiksi kieli ei ole ongelma tai este uuden työntekijän tulolle. Järjestetään vaikka mielenkiintoinen koulutus, missä mietimme yhdessä monimuotoisen työyhteisön etuja ja vähennämme huolia.

Kerromme myös mitä työntekijän täytyy hoitaa, mitä asioita hänelle tulee selittää ja etukäteen valmistella maahantuloon sekä asettautumiseen liittyen. Käymme läpi myös työsuhteen aikana huomioitavia olennaisia asioita, jotta voitte kaikki jatkossakin keskittyä päätyönne tekemiseen. Kaikkialla ei ehkä ole vielä International House Helsingin kaltaisia julkisia palvelukeskittymiä, mutta oikeat osoitteet löytyvät kyllä meidän avullamme myös sinun paikkakunnaltasi. Kansainvälistyminenhän ei ole pelkästään suurempien kaupunkien juttu, vaan koko Suomen tulevaisuutta. Autammekin mielellämme sinua ja organisaatiotasi sijainnista huolimatta.

Lyhykäisyydessään siloitamme tien organisaatiollesi kohti kansainvälisten mahdollisuuksien maailmaa!

Olemme täällä sinua varten, ota yhteyttä ja jutellaan lisää!


Kirsi ja Tanja

Kirsi Korhonen   +358 50 5834308          www.        Twitter: Kirsi_Ko

Tanja Malo           +358 40 9370088           Twitter: TanjaMalo

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