People in Business Tampere – Business advisor in business development and growth Rita Fagerström2.5.2023
In 2022 Business Tampere team gained strong expertise in business development when Rita Fagerström started in her new position. Her job description includes sparring with companies in business development, and the workdays mainly consist of Fagerström meeting companies in Tampere or seven nearby municipalities. She goes around in companies and helps them to find the available public services that best promote the company’s growth or internationalization goals. For example, the services of Business Mentors Finland (Yrityskummit) are popular. The aim for Fagerström is 200 business visits a year. “Especially close to my heart are business culture design and good personnel management. What I especially like about my job is that it is versatile, and I get to work in the customer interface”, she says.
Fagerström, who is from Pori, moved to Tampere in 1986. During her ninth-grade work placement, she was sitting at the computer typing a Fortran code. That was when she realized what she wanted to do for a living. In Hervanta, Tampere, at the time a University of Technology, now TUNI, had just opened an information technology education program where Fagerström wanted. “Back then programming was a great phenomenon of the future, and to get in, you had to have six Laudaturs (the highest grade in the Finnish matriculation examination), she recalls. Determined woman received those required grades and graduated from Tampere with a master’s degree in software engineering.
Previously, Fagerström has worked in companies in the IT sector and the defense equipment industry, growing and developing various companies and organizations. She has experience in sales leadership, marketing development as well as working with strategy and board of directors. “Since the same rules apply in the development of companies, regardless of the industry, I can use my previous experience in a really versatile way.” The services in Business Tampere help businesses, for example, to find the right channel for funding, utilizing public subsidies, or land and office space needs. Fagerström acts as a bridge between businesses and Business Tampere services. “Every business meeting, where I can offer new ideas or tips for development feels like a success”, she says.
Fagerström has also written a book called Menestyjän käsikirja (The Handbook for Success), that deals with self-development and self-leadership. Currently, she is working on a second book, that is about building a successful business and management. The desire to spar local businesses and share the know-how accumulated over the decades drove Fagerström to apply to work at Business Tampere. For Fagerström, Tampere’s strengths are active research activities, functioning ecosystems and a visionary management culture, which makes the city attractive to both businesses and residents.
“Tampere is also a pioneer in many aspects, such as the green transition or the use of artificial intelligence.”
On her free time, Fagerström enjoys the nature of Tampere by walking and cycling to the regions. Her favorite destination in Tampere is the Arboretum, but the outdoor trips from the front door can go in any direction. When the lake is melted, she takes a dip in the waters of Lake Pyhäjärvi. “We have so many excellent theaters and a huge cultural offer here in Tampere, which I try to enjoy. The architecturally and historically significant sites are also a huge wealth for Tampere”, she says. Fagerström praises that there is a lot of “buzz” in Tampere at the moment – the region is constantly growing and developing, serving the businesses in the area, and she wants to be closely involved in this development.