What Is Crazy Town?
Crazy Town is a community of small specialist companies and groups based in Jyväskylä. Last June, Crazy Town moved its offices to the Technopolis Innova 2 building. The opening event was held in mid-September, and the busy and happy buzz was palpable.
Crazy Town was founded by Tapu Nieminen of Villinikkarit Oy and Mikko Markkanen of Business Arena Oy, and it has had offices in various locations in Jyväskylä since 2002.
“The core of our operations are business development services that we offer to our members,” says Nieminen. “Companies in our community want to work together and develop together. For example, we arrange a coffee morning every Friday to discuss various themes with introductions by different people, and an open discussion follows.”
“We also hold performance reviews for our members and help them to improve their businesses as a result. This also allows us to help companies with mutual interests to find each other. People and companies get to know and trust each other. Eventually they can submit joint offers that would be too big for just one member to handle.”
Reaction to changes in the work place
“Work has changed and people now work in smaller units,” Mikko Markkanen further explains the community’s operations. “We are the answer to this change. When we started in 2002, it might have been a little too early, but similar communities are now being set up elsewhere as well.”
“The Technopolis campus in Jyväskylä is located in a perfect location right in the town center, right beside the colleges. It is easy to arrange meetings for specialist teams, companies and colleges. This works really well for us, and we have managed to fill all the offices over the summer. Now we have 22 companies with 40 to 45 employees here.”
Needs met with Technopolis
“We had a newly vacated space of 600 square meters in Innova 2, and we offered it to Crazy Town,” says Samuel Koivisto, Director of Technopolis operations in Jyväskylä. “Crazy Town had been considering their next move so it was a happy coincidence that our needs met this way.”
“Crazy Town is a great platform for microbusinesses that employ between one and five people. The community offers its members peer support, opportunities to share experiences and win bigger deals by combining their forces. In addition, Crazy Town offers development surveys and coaching for entrepreneurs. It’s a brilliant concept for specialists and small companies,” says Koivisto.
Good bustle at the opening event
Crazy Town’s opening event in mid-September attracted a number of visitors, and the venue was full of entrepreneurs, members and others interested in the concept. More than 100 guests filled the venue with the happy buzz of conversation.
Crazy Town offers three types of membership packages to its customers. The package with the lowest price, a mobile base, is suitable for mobile specialists. The customer has access to all public areas and a nominated storage but no fixed work station. The second option is a fixed work station in a shared room, while the third alternative is a furnished room for a company with one or more employees. All members can also use the business development services and other services provided by Crazy Town.
At the event the companies presented their operations, exchanged ideas with the guests and got to know each other by networking.
Young people finding the pros of entrepreneurship
One of the guests was Veli-Pekka Heikkinen, Key Account Manager at Jyväskylä Regional Development Company Jykes Ltd. He was enthusiastic about Crazy Town’s fast development and praised Jyväskylä as a location for businesses.
“We’re in the middle of Finland, there are popular colleges, the town keeps growing and its age structure is young,” says Heikkinen. “The campus is located in the town center, and the larger companies in the area spur export opportunities for other businesses as well. The jobs of the future are here.”
Tero Lämsä, Senior lecturer at HUMAK University of Applied Sciences, has lived in Jyväskylä all his life. He remembers when there was a pulp mill where Technopolis now stands and how logs were drifted in Lake Jyväsjärvi as late as the 1980s. The change has been fast, but Jyväskylä has managed to meet the requirements of the changing world.
Great offices and a great community
A quick round of interviews at Crazy Town among companies and their guests give a picture of a successful operation where things get done in an inspired environment.
Tiina Rintamäki came to the event from outside the town and as a new entrepreneur; she was not sure if she should move to the campus. She explains that the first impression was very positive and she especially appreciates the opportunities to network, receive support from peers and mutual encouragement.
Extreme Translation Oy’s owner Mari Nokkonen-Pirttilampi had her offices in the Innova 4 building. She thinks Technopolis is a great environment in which to run her business. “The reception team will sort out anything.” She expects Crazy Town to facilitate collaboration with other companies and to receive support for developing her company.
Kuvitellen Oy’s Tiina Hoskari has worked in the Crazy Town offices before, and she thinks that the community is a great platform for growth, support and security.
“People here have many skills and it’s easy to run a company here,” says Hoskari. “We have beaten many larger companies using our agility and joint offers. If you need to develop you business, you can find encouragement here, and Crazy Town also supports you. The other members are like colleagues, and this is like a home away from home.”