The country is very organized, much like Portugal. I don’t think it’s far ahead of Portugal. You can’t compare Porto with Vaasa, a tiny city, or Porto with Helsinki, which has little historical space because it was destroyed during the war. But you see a town that was designed to grow. The city of Vaasa itself is also very recent, around 100 years old, and all of them are created from scratch to mitigate the cold, which is very intense in winter. It starts right away, in the trash. There are no landfills, and when collecting waste, part goes to burn, and part goes to compost because when burning waste, they generate heat in houses through the city’s heating distribution system. Is it cold in winter? Yes, but the town is thoroughly prepared, and they can adapt. They won’t suffer because they can socialize, do activities and have a prepared environment.
I wanted to understand how they think. The climate and the environment significantly affect people’s way of thinking, and I wanted to know how they prepare, manage their ambitions, and consume. I quickly managed to understand some of their habits and routines… At 10 pm, shops close, and even if you are in a restaurant open later on Saturdays, the traffic drops a lot. As it gets frigid in winter, in summer, despite having a lot of light, the Finns maintain their routine and stay at home more. It reached the end of the day, and at 11 pm, it wasn’t night, it was gray. The peak of summer is in July, and in August, they start returning to work. I attended the end-of-summer celebration party, Night of The Arts, with many people coming from the countryside to the city to celebrate. Meeting all these people was fantastic; they welcomed me nicely and affectionately and supported me in everything. I was very well received. Finns seem cold, but I felt that when they are with you, they want to talk and exchange experiences. They don’t want to make that small talk and leave. They like to talk.
At first, I thought I would find more startups, but then I realized that Vaasa is still a few steps behind what we have here in Porto; this year, they intend to follow the opposite path I took and have people here to get to know the ecosystem, see how can they take things to the next level. For Vaasa, Porto’s ecosystem can be a good reference point to see how they can take advantage of the university environment, which has many students, and promote the creation of new projects in a more entrepreneurial environment.