KASKI is an annual event bringing together people from all spheres of society to talk about midsized growth companies and their importance for our economy. 

KASKI 2016

KASKI16 was organized on the 8.11.2016 at Musiikkitalo. Thank you to everyone who joined us! The event was dedicated to Northern European not-so-small-anymore growth companies, i.e., scaleups: what are they, why do they matter, and how are real-life success stories built? 


These days we hear tons of talk about growth: where to look for it, how to stir it up, who to blame for the lack thereof. Kasvuryhmä is on a mission to shift Finland’s focus from talking to action and believes the answer lies within the unobvious backbone of Finnish and many neighboring countries’ economies: mid-sized growth companies.

Startups are crucial, but they are not enough: the most dire need right now in Finland is for established companies, who have already done many things right, to take it to the next level. Kasvuryhmä seeks to explore, understand, and support the path from “grownup” (=an established, well-off company with modest growth) to scaleup. We have been sharing best practices in a peer-to-peer community among 170+ Finnish grownups/scaleups for the past 18 months - and now want to use a day to explore what we've learned. 


  1. What are scaleups and why are they so important for the economy?
  2. What are the major obstacles that scaleups face and how can they be overcome?
  3. What are the most inspiring scaleup success stories and what can we learn from them?
  4. What is the role of the government, if any, in creating scaleups?
  5. What does Kasvuryhmä do to push Finnish scaleups to the next level of growth?


KASKI16 was a full-day event, consisting of an afternoon of 1on1-meetings and roundtable discussions for 200 CEOs, entrepreneurs and chairmen of midsized companies, the first ever "North’s best mid-sized growth companies meet young doers" recruiting event for 80 of Finland's top students and recent grads, and an evening show where scaleups were championed into growth through keynotes and flashtalks.

Revisit the evening with these videos:

Jani Toivola / host & Annu Nieminen / CEO of Kasvuryhmä: Welcome: Why are we here today?

Sixten Korkman / economist: Historical perspective into how Northern success is built: Entrepreneurship as the recipe for growth?

Kai Mykkänen / Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland: Role of government, if any, in creating scaleup success stories: Enabling (how?), taking out barriers (which?), staying out of the way (where?)

Annu Nieminen / CEO of Kasvuryhmä: Where do we stand today: 5 most common blocks for growth in Northern mid-sized companies and how to overcome them

Mårten Mickos / CEO of HackerOne, Laura Tarkka / CEO of Kämp Collection Hotels, Priit Alamäe / CEO of Nortal, Tommi Tervanen / CEO of Kotipizza, Ilkka Kivimäki / Chairman of Kasvuryhmä & Slush: How to get the growth gear on after stagnation or struggle?

Bruce Oreck / Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland, Magnus Nilsson / Co-founder of iZettle, Kristo Ovaska / Founder of Smartly, Asko Schrey / CEO of Accountor, Sari Baldauf / Chairman of Fortum: How to conquer the world as a Northern scaleup?

Aaro Cantell / Owner of Normet, Jorma Eloranta / Chairman of Neste, Suominen, Uponor, Paula Salastie / CEO of Teknos, Jussi Aho / CEO of Fira: How to constantly discover new opportunities to avoid getting proud/lazy/stuck?

Olli Tiainen / COO of Kasvuryhmä: Where to go from here and calls for action

Ilkka Kivimäki / Chairman of Kasvuryhmä & Slush: Closing words


Coaches and hosts of the event:

Sari Baldauf, chairman of Fortum

Matti Alahuhta, chairman of DevCo Partners, EK & Outotec

Jorma Eloranta, chairman of Neste, Suominen & Uponor

Mika Anttonen, founder and chairman of St1 Group

Heikki Westerlund, CEO of CapMan

Ilkka Kivimäki, chairman of Kasvuryhmä, Slush & Wolt, partner at Inventure

Kaj Hagros, investor and advisor

Aaro Cantell, owner and chairman of Normet

Moaffak Ahmed, serial entrepreneur and investor

Inka Mero, founder and chairman of Pivot5

Pii Ketvel, investor and advisor

Jarkko Veijalainen, co-founder and chairman of 3 Step IT

KASKI 2015

KASKI 2015 was organized on November 17th. Thank you to everyone who participated! The event gathered together 600 doers from different spheres of society, from students and entrepreneurs to public officials and executives, to discuss the courageous pursuit of growth.

For Kasvuryhmä, growth follows from doing the right things. Growth doesn’t result from tweaking existing processes but rather from brave decisions to walk down new paths. What you do matters, as companies are shaping the world more than ever. The winners of the future will be those who manage to solve the greatest problems of our time. The first ever KASKI brought forth Finland’s unobvious backbone: regular mid-sized companies, who have had the courage to branch out to the world to pursue something new.


  1. Finnish companies are doing the wrong things.
  2. In today’s global competition, companies have to focus on what makes them exceptional.
  3. Continuous reinvention is the best kind of risk management in the 2010s.
  4. We decide if we want to view global changes as threats or as opportunities.
  5. All growth isn’t equally good.

As the final keynote speaker, Mika Anttonen, said, “growth is not created by politicians or unions but by us entrepreneurs”. With this crowd we can surely succeed. Revisit the excited atmosphere of the evening through the keynote speeches (links below).

Sauli Niinistö, Tasavallan Presidentti

Kees de Jong (NL), sarjayrittäjä, kirjailija, mentori ja sijoittaja

Franco Gussalli Beretta (IT), yrittäjä, Beretta

Ilkka Paananen, yrittäjä, Supercell, Kasvuryhmän perustajajäsen

Mika Anttonen, yrittäjä, St1, Kasvuryhmän perustajajäsen

Anna Granskog, partner, McKinsey & Company

Annu Nieminen, Kasvuryhmän toimitusjohtaja

Esa Saarinen, filosofi, professori Aalto-yliopisto

Other speakers of the event:

Sari Baldauf
hpj. Fortum
Kasvuryhmän perustajajäsen

Inka Mero
yrittäjä, KoppiCatch

Matti Alahuhta
puheenjohtaja, EK
Kasvuryhmän perustajajäsen

Petri Parvinen
yrittäjä, professori
Helsingin yliopisto

Ilkka Kivimäki
hpj. Slush
Kasvuryhmän perustajajäsen

Aaro Cantell
yrittäjä, Normet Oy
hpj. Kasvuryhmä