Over a cup of tea, Rantama created a business that would revolutionise job-seeking and offer help to educated job seekers who have a hard time finding work that matches their degree. The MOW co-working community of Sponda offered facilities to Kumous in order to aid the budding enterprise in its mission to reshape job-hunting.
In the past year, the Launch Pad project has been piloted at the MOW co-working community of Sponda as part of the community's efforts to develop the working life of the future. The aim of Launch Pad is to assist projects and enterprises that are run with great passion but a limited budget.
The name of the programme is quite telling: MOW seeks to act as a launch pad for remarkable actions that could remain unachieved without support.
One such company is Minna Rantama's Kumous – Uusi Työnhaku ('Kumous – New Job-hunting' or 'Kumous' for short) which sets out to break some of the established norms of job-hunting and encourage multitalents and graduates with general degrees to find a motivating job that best utilises their skills.
MOW Fleet Commander Nina Ruotsalainen explains the motivation behind supporting companies and projects such as Kumous: “For us at MOW, co-working is not the only objective; we wish to be a part of a living civil society.”
Co-operation with Kumous came about naturally as they also draw from the same, ground-breaking way of thinking where the aim is not only to give advice to job seekers but to reshape the entire process of seeking employment. Much like MOW provides facilities as well as an opportunity for collegial sparring, Kumous, in turn, offers online courses and a platform for the creation of a community.
Extensive network in six months
“A community of like-minded individuals can perform miracles. The online courses and communities of Kumous already engage over 500 people and many more subscribe to our newsletter. There have been many empowering stories,” Rantama says merrily.
Kumous itself has arisen from similar brainstorming of like-minded talents. For a long time, Rantama and a number of her acquaintances had mulled over the issue that university graduates are not receiving the support they need for job-seeking and are unable to properly sell their degrees to employers. Something ought to be done.
In 2016, Rantama and Anna-Maria Leogrande were spending a spring evening in Lauttasaari and, over a cup of tea, decided to launch Kumous as a part-time business. As Rantama's fixed-term contract with her then employer was nearing its end in late 2016, entrepreneurship became a serious consideration.
“I ran the math and saw that the start-up assistance, along with my savings, would last me until April, even if I would not get a single sale. I informed my employer that I would not be available in the future. I realised that I can't keep putting off my start as an entrepreneur,” Rantama recollects in autumn 2017 after some six months of full-time work with Kumous.
The unbearable freedom of entrepreneurship
”As I was writing content for the first Kumous web courses in autumn 2016, I realised that for the first time in my adult life, I didn't have to explain my textual choices to anyone. The thought was both liberating and a little melancholy. I used to feel that I wrote everything wondering what others might think of it, be it my thesis instructor, project team or supervisor. Now, I only answer to myself and my clients, and I have come to notice that this arrangement results in my best work.”
Freedom is precisely what Rantama loves about entrepreneurship. The freedom to be working wherever you want; at the poolside of a hotel in the Far East or on a grey January day in Ruoholahti with sleet drizzling sideways and everyone else on their holidays. On the other hand, freedom means taking responsibility for your own well-being. After going through a burnout a few years back, Rantama has learned the limits of freedom the hard way.
Focus on the essential, outsource everything else
In running her own company, Kumous, Minna Rantama has learned that self-knowledge is an asset to an entrepreneur. By knowing yourself, you are able to focus on your strengths.
”My strength, for example, is not in finances but in inspiring people. By realising this, I can then outsource the skills I lack by hiring an accountant,” explains Rantama.
She points out that new entrepreneurs may not always realise all the tasks that people used to do for them around the previous employers' offices, from furnishing to buying printer paper and replacing lamps. At MOW, such basic necessities have been taken care of; the membership fee even includes IT support.
Having learned entrepreneurship at the MOW Mothership in Pieni Roobertinkatu, Rantama says that the scents in the hallways still remind her of the early steps of running her company.
Now, she has moved to MOW Stargate in Ruoholahti due to its convenient location and spacious facilities.
”Stargate has more space to work in,” Rantama explains.
More space, that is, to prepare the revolution of job-hunting.