Konstantin Nenakhov blog english


Konstantin Nenakhov

Tojoko Oy

Car and motorcycle repair

In Joensuu from September 2019

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I graduated as an engineer specializing in motor vehicle maintenance in 1994 in Tomsk (Russia). After serving in the army and working for a couple of years in the automotive industry as an employee, already in 1998 I became an individual entrepreneur, and in 1999 I started selling the spare car and bike parts and repairing cars and motorbikes. This was my main occupation and source of living for about 20 years. 

In September 2019, I came to Finland with my family, as my wife had been admitted to the University of Eastern Finland (she is doing her doctoral degree). Having by the time of moving to Finland this profound experience in managing my store and car repair service (with 6 employees), I was hoping to easily find a job in one of local car shops. However, during the job search and negotiations with potential employers (with the help of an interpreter), I discovered that there is zero demand for hired workers in Joensuu. It turned out that it is more profitable for the companies to subcontract individual entrepreneurs or invite interns and trainees.

In November 2019 I began learning Finnish from scratch at the courses organized by the TE-office, and at the end of this year, I went to Business Joensuu for assistance with setting up my own car repair business here. I must say here that the consultants from Business Joensuu are from the very beginning trying to assess your business idea and the potential. In my case, this assessment was not encouraging, as my Finnish language skills were weak, and my experience in the car repair business meant nothing here.

The situation changed as soon as my Finnish friend became my business partner. Together we compiled a business plan, got it approved by the TE-office (and hence I was granted Starttiraha, financial support for startup entrepreneurs), chose the premises in the city center, our friends recommended a good accountant, and in February we started the company registration process. Due to some bureaucracy, the registration of our company was finished only in April 2020, amidst the first wave Covid-19 pandemic it was worrisome to start up at a time like this - potential clients were staying at home. However, gradually the situation improved. Thanks to word of mouth and reviews of our company in social media, we are making a name for ourselves and attracting more clients.

There are many Russian-speaking clients here who prefer to get service in their native language. It is still challenging to interact with Finnish clients, especially on the phone. Nevertheless, learning language in practice is much more useful than through traditional courses and classes. 

Not to be afraid of work, to take and bear responsibility, to develop - with this attitude, as well as the tremendous support of my business partner, I am doing my job every day. Our main task is to make our clients happy. Our goal for the future is to improve the quality of customer service in private car shops in Finland. We strive to be a car service that is prompt, thorough, and close to the client. Welcome to Kirkkokatu 35A! 

What would you recommend to young entrepreneurs or those who are thinking whether to start their own business or not?

Do not be afraid, you will succeed!


Text: Aleksandra Nenakhova