Success Story of Entrepreneurial Mentoring


In 2005 - 2007 there was an entrepreneurial mentoring program ongoing at Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland. The program was partly financed by European Social Fund and Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Finland). During the program 20 mentees, most of them students at Laurea, attended mentoring program.

All the mentees had one thing in common: they wanted to establish an own enterprise during or right after the university studies. Part of the mentees attended pair mentoring and part of them attended group mentoring. All the mentors were entrepreneurs who wanted to give their knowledge to mentees and help them with building networks.

The following story tells about a mentee Joonas Turkama and his mentor Sinikka Mäntysalo-Lamppu.


Mentee Joonas Turkama (left) and his mentor Sinikka Mäntysalo-Lamppu (Photo: Pasi Hämäläinen)

Manager (coordinator) of Laurea University of Applied Sciences Tapio Nurminen (left), mentor Sinikka Mäntysalo-Lamppu (in the middle) and mentee Joonas Turkama (Photo: Pasi Hämäläinen)


During a Business Idea Course at Laurea, Joonas Turkama came up with an idea of a consulting company that would help enterprises in importing products to Finnish food markets. In order to get personal experience on the subject, Joonas decided to start importing rye snacks to Finland himself. When he heard of the possibility to attend an entrepreneurial mentoring, he immediately signed up for the program. 


Questions for Mentee Joonas Turkama

Why were you so interested in mentoring?

-  Despite the fact that I already had a business idea I wanted to hear experiences and advice from a mentor as well. I had great visions and I wanted to hear realistic opinions from an entrepreneur, says Joonas Turkama.

Did you attend pair or group mentoring ?

- I attended group mentoring; we were four mentees in total. It was great to be in a group where all the mentees were in the same situation. We had an experienced mentor and we mentees were also peer mentoring each other.

How often did you meet?

- We started at the end of 2006 and continued until summer 2007. We met approximately once a month.

What did you do during your monthly mentoring sessions?

- Our group had a common goal which was something like “to establish an enterprise which will bring bread and secure living”. Especially our discussions about risks were extremely useful.

Our mentor had often arranged us appointments with her contacts - e.g. at banking and insurance companies, foreign trade, design center and marketing and advertisement business. She opened her networks for us! In spite of the fact that our mentor did not have the experience from my field of business, she brought all her experience to us by asking great questions.

Is there anything you should have done that you did not do during mentoring process?

- I should have asked more questions and tried to get more face to face discussions with the mentor about my business, even though she wasn’t the expert in my field.

Even today I would need the kind of mentor that I could talk with every week about critical decisions.
Quite often I feel like a “one man wolf-pack” that does the decisions and much of the work alone, and I believe that there are many entrepreneurs in a similar situation. So mentors are definitely needed more in the future.

Now it´s 2012; tell about your business today?

- Our company CoreFinland Ltd is importing rye snacks, root vegetable chips and organic cereals. The biggest groceries in Finland are selling our products and our turnover has increased year by year. Now our intention is also to spread abroad and we are investigating possibilities to start selling our products e.g. in Sweden, Germany and England. We´re also offering consulting, sales and marketing service for food companies that wish to gain a strong presence in Finland.

Would you become a mentor in the future?

- Yes, absolutely. Actually in a way I´m acting like a mentor already. We have had many students as interns from Laurea University of Applied Sciences in our company. During their practicing time they have got to know the business we´re running and I have had a possibility to share my experience for them.

Questions for Mentor Sinikka Mäntysalo-Lamppu

How did you decide to start as a mentor for four students at Laurea University of Applied Sciences?

- The mentoring program was run by Women´s Enterprise Agency together with Laurea University of Applied Sciences. I had been helped a lot when I started my own Training business and I decided to help the beginners as well. When I heard that mentees were young students I immediately got interested because it´s very important to support young people in every way, says Sinikka Mäntysalo-Lamppu.

What did you get for yourself as a mentor?

- I have always been interested in welfare of children and young people. During the mentoring program I had a possibility to support those wonderful young ones and share my experiences and networks as a Mentor. My mentees had so many fresh and interesting ideas about business that I learned a lot from them as well!

Were there any challenges in the mentoring process?

- The mentoring took more time than I expected and that was a small surprise for me. However, my mentees were so committed to the process that it was a pleasure to spend time with them.

Do you still follow the development of the enterprises of your mentees?

- Yes, I´m following their progress. I´m especially happy of the success of Joonas Turkama and his company.

Is there something else you´d like to mention?

- The first time as a mentor was such a great experience that I´m now acting as a mentor almost all the time. Every time that I help and give advice for others I´ll get something for myself as well. I´m really happy when my mentees succeed.


Contact information:

Mentee Joonas Turkama
CoreFinland Ltd

Mentor Sinikka Mäntysalo-Lamppu
Koulutuspalvelut Opitaan Yhdessä SML