Rovaniemi Entrepreneurs’ Association (RovaniemenYrittäjät) in early November awarded five businesspersons as Entrepreneurs of the Year. We interviewed all of them and asked what's the key for their success.
The awardees are Jouko Rajanen of Choco Deli, Kari Rautionaho of Suomen Akut Oy, Valentijn of Kontiovaaran Husky (Bearhill Husky), Petri Teppo of Studio Artica, and Mikko Riskilä of Lohiapaja Oy.
“It makes me feel very humble. This award came as a total surprise. I didn’t expect it at all. The biggest thanks go to our staff members who carry out their jobs excellently every single day to keep this business going,” Rajanen, the owner of Choco Deli told in his reaction to the honour.
In his opinion no one survives alone in this business and expressed his gratitude to family members and friends.
“A big chunk of thanks also goes to my family, especially for my wife who have run our household of four children tirelessly so that I have been able to focus on this business more,” Rajanen added.
Describing Choco Deli, he said it is a local company specialised in handmade chocolate products. “Our main focus is on chocolate confectionery where every piece is unique. We also make chocolate cakes and bread, among other things. We want to emphasise that our products are locally handmade, using a lot of local products like berries and even reindeer. Our cafe on the footpath celebrates its seventh birthday and last summer we opened our second cafe in Rinteenkulma shopping centre,” said the award winning businessman.
Pointing out the background of his business, he said that he started practicing chocolate production in early 2000s when I built a little chocolate factory into his garage. The first years of business included a lot of practicing and educating himself on the field of chocolate. Day by day the business grew bigger gradually and in November 2012, he opened a small café in Rovaniemi city centre. The café and bakery are still in the same old location today.
“I have been very lucky. This job requires challenging yourself and taking risks, I’ve never cut corners. A huge part of our success is our amazing staff, without them I would not have succeeded to come this far,” Rajanen mentioned the success of his work-team.
Esko Määttä, Chairman of Rovaniemi Association of Entrepreneurs (Rovaniemen Yrittäjät ry) said that the awardees have been selected through social media by posting an open questionnaire.
“The questionnaire was open for everyone in the Rovaniemi area to respond. In addition, each of our 800 plus members received a copy of the same questionnaire. After one month of response-gathering, the board members of Rovaniemi Association of Entrepreneurs sat together to evaluate the answers. The prime eligibility for being a suggested awardee was membership in our association. Secondly, we adopted a criterion of Suomen Yrittäjät, the Federation of Finnish Enterprises to shortlist the award winners,” Määttä said.
About Choco Deli Määttä said that the award was handed over to Jouko Rajanen as the entrepreneur of the year 2019.
“He, together with his company Choco Deli, received a lot of votes and was highly praised for the entrepreneurial courage that led him to set up the world’s northernmost chocolaterie. Recently, he has also opened a second cafeteria of hand-made delicacies in the shopping centre Rinteenkulma in Rovaniemi. Moreover, he has bought this year a part of yet another business Lapin Krassi , a traditional catering business in Rovaniemie with a vast business coverage in the area,” Määttä added.
Here are the links for the other interviews:
Riskilä of Lohiapaja named Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Studio Artica awarded as Single-person Business of the Year
Focus on quality makes Bearhill Husky a success
Endurance gets Vuoden-Sisu for Suomen Akut
City of Rovaniemi - Daily Finland Report