Entrepreneurs at the extremes of resilience


Entrepreneurship brings with it the requirement to deal with uncertainty and, at best, turn uncertainty and failure into new insights and successes. The COVID era brought to the fore, to an unprecedented extent, what uncertainty can be. The various constraints, recommendations, and changes in people’s behavior varied so rapidly that foresight and development actions based on it were nearly impossible. The moment had to be seized and adapt actions to the current knowledge.

Gradually, with the removal of various restrictions, one began to talk cautiously about the “new normal” and to anticipate and plan for the future in small steps. However, this “new normal” only lasted days before operating environment was completely remixed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was something we once again could not have foreseen and yet affected each of us.

Traditionally, various methods have been developed to manage uncertainty, such as tools for risk management. It is typical for these tools to define the risks to a company according to how likely they are and how severe the effects of the risks would be if they materialized. The goal of risk management is to eliminate and reduce the most harmful and probable risks. But who entrepreneur could have foreseen a two-year pandemic or a state of war in Europe? And how could such a very unlikely scenario ever have been prepared for. Insurance is an important tool for managing insecurity, but not everything can be insured and there is little insurance available for pandemics, wars, or natural disasters.

If the environment cannot be managed, its changes or changes in the quality of the effects cannot be predicted and the effects of the changes cannot be limited by insurance or other measures, what can an entrepreneur do? Is it just up to our own resilience – our ability to restore performance and adapt to changed conditions? Is it reliable to come up with ingenuity and agility and seize the moment and wish for the best?

One indication of seizing the moment, agility, and resilience in an extreme situation in the first spring of the COVID epidemic was remote learning that was practically set up overnight. Without the good technological capabilities of citizens, the professionalism of teachers, the built infrastructure or a society based on trust in general, this would not have been possible. If “normal conditions” had been considered for the transition of all school levels to several months of remote learning, millions of euros would have been spent on various workshops, guidelines, pilots, and studies. Now, in the face of compulsion, everything just had to work. The same may now be the case for the use of renewable energies or food production. Instead of a green transition, is there now a green leap as in the case of the digital leap? The situation has long been burdensome for entrepreneurs, and tomorrow is unpredictable. It is hoped that reform and progress will emerge from the ashes of these trials as well.

Now, ending the state of war and helping the victims is certainly the most important thing for everyone, and everyone’s own endurance is being tested. It is good to speak about your own fears and to take care of your own endurance and hope.

With the advice of Maarit Kallio, perhaps we can keep our hopes up:

  • Consciously create security for yourself and others.
  • Acknowledge the facts.
  • Notice, what is going on in your body.
  • Limit news coverage and social media tracking.
  • Chat with others.
  • Children need safety from adults.
  • Protect sleep and rest.
  • Strengthen hope.
  • Breathe, you are safe.

Hope protects our well-being – it promotes our mental health. Hope is the backbone of resilience, and we need that resilience now. We bend, but we don’t break.



Reetta Raitoharju

Katja Heikkinen


Source: Kallio M. 2022.


Originally posted on the 22nd of March, 2022