Caring and communication: Memocate’s Heikki Viitanen in a video interview24.9.2019
The main products of the Tampere-based Memocate, whose origins lie in a linguistic research project undertaken at the University of Helsinki, are training sessions intended for nurses of those diagnosed with a memory disease, with a particular focus on interactive skills. Now, the company is gearing up to pilot its service in English on the other side of the Atlantic.
Nowadays, memory diseases have spread far and wide. The number of afflicted people is growing quickly all around the world. Of the elderly in long-term care, three out of four suffer from a memory disease, while there is an abject lack of competent nursing staff. Memocate’s services particularly seek to improve interactive skills so that the nurses of those suffering from a memory disease could encounter and treat their patients better.
“We aim to make our training sessions as easily accessible as possible,” says Heikki Viitanen, co-founder and CEO of Memocate. “Our main product combines contact and online teaching. The training is intended for companies of all sizes and municipal nursing homes.”
The digitally supported services comprise web content as well as training and consultation. The diverse training material produced by the company includes traditional text material as well as animations, comics and video lectures.
Know-how and right values
Memocate’s key values are caring, professionalism and innovativeness. The most important of these is the first one. The well-being of people afflicted with a memory disease is the be-all and end-all for the company and the driving force of their operations. However, they also deeply care about the nurses of the patients and their well-being. In the Memocate community, caring and affection for partners and colleagues at work is also important. Professionalism, on the other hand, means that the company is familiar with its clients and products. This helps to find correct solutions to real problems, and you can really take responsibility for your work. Innovativeness emerges from striving towards a vision and actions taken to make ideas a reality and turning challenges into possibilities.
From a developing ecosystem out into the world
Memocate started operating in Finland in 2017. At first, the focus was on pilot projects and product development, but it gradually shifted towards the acquisition of new clients. Lots of valuable learning has been gained from pilot projects implemented over two years, which has steered the company’s operations forward.
In the first two years of Memocate’s existence, the startup ecosystem in Tampere has also developed. Extensive peer support is now available, and skilled employees are trained in growing numbers. A nice selection of events intended for startups is also available. A couple of years ago, Memocate attended the sTARTUp Day along with Business Tampere in Tartu, Estonia, and very recently the company also participated in the EY Finance Navigator training as part of agile business experiments as well as the Mentoring Corner training provided by Startup Tampere. A training session involves inviting a high-calibre international startup mentor on site a few times a year, who will give an open keynote speech and personally boost some companies who have separately applied to participate in mentor training. Besides his work, Viitanen is also active in the Board of the association Tribe Tampere ry and as a treasurer. That gives him a vantage point over the development of the entire region’s startup ecosystem.
Thanks to the central location of the city, it is easy to go out into the world and come back. In late 2019, Memocate will head to Ontario, Canada, where the new English version of the training will be piloted.
“After Canada, we’re aiming for the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world,” Viitanen states.
Heikki Viitanen’s three key takeaways for other entrepreneurs:
- Focus on the essential – the clients and users of your service. Take heed of the feedback you get.
- Take action and put your enthusiasm into use, but don’t rush. You can get far even without funding or setting up a company.
- Your well-being is more important than your company. If you are unable to operate as an entrepreneur, your company will also be unable. Therefore, take care of your physical and mental well-being and social relationships.
Building Tampere’s startup ecosystem together
6Aika – Ecosystems of growth: enabling the growth of companies through collaboration of the Kuutoskaupungit cities
The project supports the access of growth-oriented companies to suitable networks and services supporting research and product development activity. The project is implemented by the six biggest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu, and the Council of Tampere Region. The project is based on the idea of the cities’ active role in supporting the innovation activities of companies and the related support networks.