Entis NY won the grand prize JA Start Up category of the Uskalla Yrittää final in April 2017. The best JA company in Finland sells crickets grown in the town of Kurikka as a foodstuff. The founding students of the company are now preparing for the European final competition, JA Europe Enterprise Challenge, which will be in Helsinki late June.
The company’s five founders (Laura Alajuuri, Jussi Heikkinen, Iida Hokkanen, Antti Nuutinen and Samuli Taskila) participated in JA Finland’s JA Start Up entrepreneurship course in Turku during the academic year 2016-2017. The team is a mixture of knowledge and competences and the students are studying at University of Turku and Humak University of Applied Sciences.
1) What kind of an experience has the JA Start Up program been?
“The Start Up program has been overall the most instructive experience. Even good ideas by themselves are not enough so much as getting things done and turning them into practice. The most fun has been working together, the uplifting spirit of the team as well as new opportunities and events, which the Start Up program has brought forth.”
2) What plans does Entis have before the European final competition?
“Daily development of business takes the most time of Entis at the moment. Our product development is in progress, and we are developing our own web store. In addition, we participate in several summer festivals, where we spread the gospel of eating insects.”
3) How do you think you will perform at the European final competition?
“There is a global demand for insect eating and alternative protein sources, which is why Entis has excellent chances to succeed at the European final competition.”
4) What insects do you sell the most? Where do you buy the insects?
“At the moment, we sell Finnish crickets grown in the town of Kurikka. In the future, we will also sell a number derivative products made of crickets and other insects.”
5) Are the Finns prejudiced?
“According to a study by the University of Turku, 70 % of Finnish people are willing to eat food containing insects. At our own events, we have noticed that people have received insects as a food quite well and are interested in it.”
6) What do you think will happen to eating insects in the next 10 years?
“Nowadays already almost 2 billion people all over the world eat insects regularly as part of their diets. We believe that in the next 10 years insect eating will break through even in the Western world. We also believe that insects, as well as products made from insects, will acquire the status of foodstuffs and they find their way to the grocery store shelves even in Finland.”
7) What do you plan to do after the Start Up program at Entis?
“We are developing our business further and, in addition to Finland, are striving for foreign markets.”
8) Can this become a profession or a career for you?
“Already at this moment we are working with Entis for real, and our dream is that Entis could employ the whole group at some point.”