After last year’s success, it is prestigious for *ship 2017 to have Google among its main sponsors once again. Having been based in Kotka since 2011, the company is pursuing both its business strategy and community outreach. Operating in a new region calls for significant resources in attracting talent as well as creating a positive working culture. Meanwhile, joining and being a positive and active part of the local community requires a great deal of attention to local initiatives as well as grant-makings. Nonetheless, a giant hardly leaves conventional footsteps behind. Let’s see how Google continues to have such a big impact on Kotka area.

Working environment: Fun, fair and interesting
“These are 3 different words that I could used to describe that team in Google”, said Mikko Green, IT operations manager in Google data center in Hamina. “Role is not just a job, and it is not just a place to come to work and then go back at the end of the day”, Green added. Googlers also consider their workplace as an endless list of useful team building sessions, frequent and joyful events for not only themselves but also for their families. “These kinds of events are essential to help each member in an over-70.000-employee company to get to know their colleagues and broaden their network”, said Kim Nguyen, Google’s HR manager based in London. As a giant multinational, the firm is operating in various regions with different teams. Hence, an integrated collaboration between business divisions is inherent. Aspiring to retain this deep collaboration, Google creates great physical spaces and provides flexibility for employees to work from anywhere. Equally importantly, every Googler plays an important role in the firm’s operation. That’s why everyone has a voice and open conversation is immensely valued. Additionally, asked about the working environment in such a big firm, Green shared: “It is interesting as we have different teams, projects and we can frequently change roles to keep things fresh.”

Talent attracting: Not frightened of hiring the best
This is how Google is nurturing the hiring culture. The company is scrapping the obsolete notion of avoiding hiring people that have more potential and cleverer than the hiring managers. Besides, “Criteria which we, as managers, care about are not only practical experience but also bright, new and innovative ideas which could potentially shine and help the company to flourish”, said Nguyen.

Entrepreneurship encouragement: Vital
Google considers entrepreneurship as a vital part of the modern economy. As big things start small, startups are totally able to become a unicorn in the foreseeable future by trying new ideas and learning from failures. Furthermore, thanks to the booming of the internet, there are huge opportunities for young startup can seek for new markets and thrive. This is also the notion that Google aims to stimulate through various initiatives. In Campus London program, for instance, fresh entrepreneurs have chances to dive into mentoring sessions with experienced successors and experts. Asked about motives behind this program, Nguyen said: “We understand that by creating events like this, we can encourage startups, who bravely start with not much money, to meet other like-minded folks, receive useful tips and ultimately successfully implement their ideas”.

Google is a part of the local community
The company has been significantly contributing to the regions where they operate. Specifically in Hamina, a city next to Kotka, where a data center is based in, Google is forging its supports for businesses, schools as well as non-profits organizations (NGOs). “We are giving money to see positive impacts on local community”, said Green. As per the firm’s statistics, Google have provided an amount of €100.000 funding for NGOs for the past 4 years. Moreover, the company also actively backed a handful of regional events namely Hamina Tattoo and, needless to say, *ship – The Startup Festival. Besides, the firm’s managers & engineers also give a hand in the regional education field by participating in lecturing sessions at regional university named Xamk – South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences.

One of the primary driving force behind *ship
For the past 2 years, startup society in South-Eastern Finland has seen a rapid growth of *ship partially thanks to the support of Google. “Entrepreneurship celebration like *ship is really pushing the startup agenda in the region”, said Green. In the area where high unemployment rate still remains a headache for leaders, encouraging people to try new ideas and open their network is truly a way to foster growth for the whole region.

Author: Vinh Le is an intern at *ship and a business student at XAMK. Striving for deep understanding on entrepreneurship and technology, he is thrilled to observe these two things burnishing each other.
Featured image: © Google Hamina