The best JA Company from the Finnish JA Company Program, RikuCo NY, received an award in the European Championships. The secret is networking, the young entrepreneur says.
RikuCo NY, a company selling used console games founded bt Riku Korhonen, was awarded in July at the Company of the Year European Championship finals held in London. A senior student at Helsinki Business College, the young businessman got what he came to London for: RikuCo NY received the Access Award for best international trade.
“The competition in London was absolutely mindblowing, just as the city of London in itself! During the competition I got to meet and network with other competitors and their teams. I made a lot of experiences and friends, and I got to explore fascinating business ideas and meet wonderful people,” says Riku, who has since founded a real company.
Riku Korhonen and his teacher Tero Tikkanen.
Riku’s guiding teacher Tero Tikkanen also traveled to London to cheer on his student. According to Tikkanen the attitudes and skills presented by the competitors in London were some of the best he has seen in Europe.
“The trip to London was certainly a surprise to both Riku and me as a teacher. We started preparing for the trip almost imediately after the finals in Lohja. Riku was immediately setting his aims high and he defined his goals further before the competition. JA-YE Finland’s CEO Virpi Utriainen was there to help and guide right from the beginning of the process. It sure was an incomparable feleing after the award ceremony,” Tikkanen recounts.
Riku was also coached for the competition by his mentors, Mikko Jaatinen of Nordic Business Forum and William Wolfram, founder of DealDash. According to him, the mentors gave lots of good tips.
“The mentors were and still are a large part of my company. On several occasions they gave me great tips and answers to questions that were bothering me about running my company,” Riku says.
William Wolfram also compliments his protege.
“Riku is a young, energetic entrepreneur who is very good at what he does. His business is born global and as such a good role model for other young Finnish entrepreneurs. As a small country with a highly educated workforce with a strong emphasis on human/welfare values, we must leverage our strengths and build export driven businesses in fast growing markets. Riku has done all of these things,” William says.
Last year of studies ahead, RikuCo also striding forward!
After London Riku still had time to take a summer vacation and replenish his endurance for the fall. Looking at Riku’s calendar, he is going to be busy. This fall semester marks the beginning of his last year at Helsinki Business College. Unless his plans change, Riku will receive his vocational qualification for business and administration, combined with a high schools diploma, in spring 2014.
Riku will also run his company full-time in addition to his studies. RikuCo NY became RikuCo Oy (Ltd.) in May after the JA Company Program. Riku is also planning to visit schools to speak about his experiences as a young entrepreneur to inspire others.
What bits of advice would he give for starting JA Entrepreneurs?
“Take every experience you can out of the year ahead! Encourage each other, build networks, and express yourselves. Though I founded my JA Company alone, support and encouragement from others and networking became large parts of my company. This is the secret to its success,” Riku says.
What about the skills Riku – and RikuCo Oy – will use in the future?
“The skills I learned during the JA year have become useful in everyday things, working with my company, and also when working for a third party. The skills I’ve learned, such as responsibility, teamwork, networking, and utilizing my own strengths in practice, are such that I can use them in both everyday and working life,” he believes.
JA-YE Finland congratulates Riku for his success, wishes him the best of luck for his last year as a student and great great success for RikuCo Oy.
More info on Company of the Year competition at JA-YE Europe website