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Case 01.07.2020

Shoot for the Stars

Andrey Shigaev received the first-ever Finnish Startup Permit in 2018 – now he leads a smart energy revolution with his team

Launched in 2018, the Finnish Startup Permit Program has already solidified its reputation as the “fast-track solution” to starting a go-getter business in Finland. Business Finland and the Finnish Immigration Service established this new application process for start-up entrepreneurs coming to Finland from outside the European Union. So far, the Finnish Startup Permit has attracted interest especially from hi-tech professionals.

A prerequisite for granting a Finnish Startup Permit is that the applicant has obtained a positive eligibility statement from Business Finland. Business Finland is responsible for assessing the viability of the company’s business plan – and whether the company’s expertise and resources show promise for growth in the future. After a positive statement has been obtained, the Finnish Immigration Service will decide the residence permit application.

Andrey Shigaev, a Russian native, was the very first applicant of the Finnish Startup Permit. He says that he was already planning to launch a startup in Vaasa, Finland, when he heard about the new permit program from Business Finland.

“It all worked out very well, since I was already talking with Business Finland about starting a business and they told me about this new program.”

Hit the Ground Running

According to Shigaev, the permit process was very smooth and straightforward – which in the fast-moving world of the startup entrepreneurs is really a prerequisite for, well, everything.

“Business Finland reviewed our business plan and gave a positive eligibility statement very quickly. In the entire process, there was no time wasted,” he says.

Shigaev founded a company, by the name of Geyser Batteries, in October 2018. Geyser Batteries wants to introduce a disruptive, high-power heavy-duty energy storage to the market. Presently, Geyser Batteries is in the middle of setting up their production line in Finland.

“For business development purposes, we also have an office in Helsinki,” he says, adding that also the Geyser team has grown: presently, there are already 25 professionals of the smart energy field working for the company. 

Pauli Noronen, Senior Advisor, Startup Permit & Talent Boost, at Business Finland, comments that Geyser has made a “genuine innovation” in a key sector:

“The company has really taken off and integrated well into the Finnish battery industry,” Noronen says, adding that the Startup Permit facilitated a ‘quick-and-easy’ entry into the Finnish smart energy ecosystem.  

Surpassing Expectations

How would Shigaev characterize his Finnish startup journey so far? -  He responds by saying that the Finnish startup ecosystem has met and “actually exceeded” his expectations.

“In Finland, the interest in technologies promoting sustainability and circular economy is huge. Our own work on the first products and on the automation of manufacturing processes has been strongly leveraged by professionalism of all our partners, contractors and stakeholders, ranging from national research institutions to private investors,” he says, adding that Business Finland has been instrumental in helping the fledgling startup take flight.

“Business Finland has really provided massive support for us every step of the way.”

More information about the Startup Permit