Markus Sarja, Head of OP Kevytyrittäjä, works on the current work-life trend that is impossible to miss: the rapid rise of self-employed, part-time entrepreneurs, freelancers and the gig economy. The market for entrepreneurs has been badly underserved but Markus’s team is on a mission to change all that and has already proved it can be done.

OP Kevytyrittäjä Entrepreneurs Are Free To Concentrate On Their Work Rather Than Paperwork

There are 200,000 people in Finland who currently employ themselves. The number is estimated to rise to 300,000 by 2025, and in 2035, 60% of Finns are expected to have a company of their own. “I have worked at OP Lab since September 2016 and have done extensive research on everything related to the economy of self-employed.  One theme came up repeatedly: founding a company of your own seems to be a very scary step to many. First, it involves getting a company registration number and dealing with tax authorities, accounting company, and requires too many other steps into the unknown for most potential entrepreneurs. With our OP Kevytyrittäjä service, we wanted to change all that and provide business registration, bookkeeping and taxation. Based on the feedback and response from the market we have succeeded in much more quickly than expected”, says Sarja.

After initial testing, OP Kevytyrittäjä was launched on April 2017. At the moment, 1500 customers use the service and 10 new customers join daily. “Surprisingly, 80% of our customers are currently working as employees which we see as a sign that entrepreneurship is definitely on the rise also among wage earners”, states Sarja. The number of new Kevytyrittäjä is estimated to rise to 8,000 by the end of 2018. It is also noteworthy it is not required to be a customer of OP Bank to be an OP Kevyrittäjä; 40% customers have a bank relationship with a financial institution other than OP.

“Creating new services is like making art”

Markus Sarja admits seeing the number of customers adopting OP Kevytyrittäjä service is obviously a big reward itself for its creators. “To me personally it is also amazing to receive such a big amount of positive feedback since of course we do all of this for the benefit of the customer.” Many praise the service by saying it has taken away all the obstacles to starting their company. Others feel they can really concentrate on their job and enjoy tax-based entrepreneurial benefits rather than stress because of bureaucracy and paper work. “Although we also hear our customers not wanting to change a thing in our service, we will add more features such as a web shop along with payment options to our platform in the future”, adds Sarja.

“To me creating new services is like making art. When an artist is praised for his creativity, it is certainly a very satisfying feeling”, comments Sarja. He is also very pleased how the OP organisation has received this service. What once was only a pilot is now something that the organisation sees as a very important part of its service offering. “With OP Kevytyrittäjä, we were able to show that it is possible to bring a new service to life in only four months. In addition to fast delivery thisservice is already a true business for OP, which I am very proud of. All this being reality in a big corporation is something I treasure”, says Sarja.