The first one from SAMK’s enterprise accelerator: “It is possible to keep up with development, but it means a lot of work”
The first entrepreneur from the Enterprise Accelerator Kalle Vuorio thinks that it is possible to keep up with development, but it means a lot of work. He started to work in his father’s company when he was on the seventh grade. In the morning he jumped into his father’s car and they went to work.
Kalle Vuorio started his career by carrying tools and by pinning cords on the walls. Nowadays he works as the Chief Operating Officer in his own company KJM Engineering. He is the first entrepreneur who started his entrepreneur career in SAMK’s Enterprise Accelerator.
Because he was the only child of an entrepreneur family, it was always self-evident that he should become an entrepreneur. He had intended to continue his father's business, but he changed his mind, when he was studying. “Teacher Hannu Piiroinen said in the very beginning that we can become anything. It somehow broadened my world view and my ambition began to grow”.
During the last year of his studies the pieces fell into place and an idea for a company developed during the thesis work on network computing. Vuorio had heard about the establishment of the Enterprise Accelerator and thought that he could provide design work on electricity distribution to others.
“I made a life style choice. I founded my own company in Pori, and did not continue in my father's footsteps. It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life”, he says.
The first customer
The Enterprise Accelerator provided the first touch for networking. The teachers had the interest and enthusiasm to help. Other entrepreneurs joined the Enterprise Accelerator and we could share our experiences. The company started in the facilities of SAMK.
“There was a glass cubicle with tiled walls and a table with a computer at the corner of the Electrical Laboratory”, he recalls. The first customer came almost by accident. Teacher Hannu Piiroinen bumped into the leader of an international technology supplier in the queue of a shop. They supplied electrical engineering and he asked for a talented student to help them. Three days later, Kalle Vuorio sat at the coffee table with this leader and he got his first customer. “It was a good experience. I got experience of how the work is done in an international environment”, Vuorio explains.
When Kalle Vuorio hired his first employees, he started to sell power system analysis and travelled throughout Finland. People had not yet paid very much attention to the reliability and safety of electricity distribution in those days.
Involved in shipbuilding
KMJ Engineering's expertise is still power system analysis. This expertise has provided a lot of work opportunities. Since 1998, the company has been involved in power system analysis of each ship built in Finland.
“When the work is completed well, the grapevine works”, he concludes. The first final report I made included fifteen pages. Today, they have always more than 200 pages each, because the required standard has risen and the software has become more sophisticated.
Kalle Vuorio feels that the most important thing is to be honest with the entrepreneur. They sell to the customer only things he or she will need.
“ You have to keep studying all the time. Every project involves something new and even big problems. It would sometimes be nice to do something in terms of copy-pasting. Well, the work is never boring and the reward lies in solving the problems”, he says with a laugh.
Through difficulties to new opportunities
The company has also had difficult times. In 2009, there were four really quiet months. “I had to lay off all the employees. There simply wasn’t any work available. At that point, I almost got out of business, but instead I told myself that things will eventually change. I had a lot of faith and it paid off. The economy started to improve slowly and calls for bids started to come in”, he recalls.
Today, the company employs six workers. All of them have graduated from SAMK. Year 2014 was significant in the history of the company. Insta Group Ltd bought 90% of the company’s shares. As a result, Kalle Vuorio became the Chief Operating Officer. The buyout has opened new possibilities and the company can now participate in wider projects. However, Kalle Vuorio still has entrepreneurial spirit.