After retiring Mikkeli-based journalist and culture actor Seija Lipsanen started a company of her own and opened a cafe at former main building of Otava agricultural school farm. Pandemic regulations forced her to close down the cafe but Time4Help peer group gave energy not to give up entirely.

While living in Otava Seija Lipsanen had always admired the almost 120-year old jugend building located in the vast park area of the former agricultural school. Finally she gained her courage and rented the huge old venue downstairs and moved with her family to live in the rooms upstairs. She started to organize all kinds of cultural events and rented the venues for associations and private customers for celebrations, meetings and educational purposes.

She decided to join the Time4Help coaching programme because she was interested in finding tools for coping as a sole entrepreneur. The group got started just before the corona virus pandemic caused a major crisis in the event and cultural sector.

It was important to share thoughts about coping as a sole entrepreneur  

For years Seija Lipsanen got her livelihood from working as a journalist and doing layouts for print media. These experiences she could benefit from when marketing the services of Valkea talo (White House). Because there was no separate marketing budget available she used social media channels in every possible way.

For the year 2020 she had ideas for many kinds of events and customers had started to find her services. Corona pandemic, however, surprised her totally in the spring and she had to cancel all events for the latter part of the year. In the same time it made her think whether it would be possible to continue with her business concept at all. At that point Time4Help provided her well needed support.

The peer group gave me strength to cope during corona pandemic

Pandemic made Lipsanen to change the opening hours of the cafe from regular hours to a open upon request format. She found a new customer group in people who organize events for their own families. For example, the number of confirmation parties and memorial services organized in her venues increased.

In addition, she has organized instructed hobby courses for small groups, for example, for learning new handicraft skills or dances. Time4Help peer group helped Lipsanen to see how she could develop her services and in the same time find new target groups.

This is a perfect place for events that improve the quality of working life

Time4Help small group members have also started joint projects. For example, artist Anne Mäkeläinen held her wooden art exhibition at Kallioniemi summer restaurant and her Astuvansalmi Amazon group performed at an exclusive dinner event at a floating fleet close to the Astuvansalmi rock paintings. Seija Lipsanen believes that there will be new forms of co-operation in the course of time.

There are lots of opportunities in our group.  

She values highly the concept of Time4Help coaching groups that participants get to visit each other´s venues for a day which gives them an opportunity to get to know other woman entrepreneurs, their daily life and challenges they face more in depth.

We saw on the spot how things are done.

Seija Lipsanen thinks that a Time4Help small group could be of help for also handicraft artisans who work alone.

They need help with many issues.


Text, pictures and video clips: Päivi Kapiainen-Heiskanen