Our alumnus Jussi Meresmaa: Frisbee golf entrepreneur found his success path at TAMK
What did you want to become when you were a child?
I remember that I wanted to become an architect. Well, I did not become an architect but an entrepreneur. When I came to TAMK and Proakatemia, the entrepreneurship path was immediately clear for me.
Why did you choose TAMK?
I lived in Tampere and thus TAMK was my number-one study option.
What is the most important you learnt in your studies?
For me, it was learning by doing. TAMK and especially Proakatemia gave me the possibility to learn by doing and find my strengths.
What was difficult in your studies?
Nothing was very difficult for me. Studying at Proakatemia was very free, it was up to ourselves. It suited me. It is however important to remember that we had to take care of completing the required studies. That is why I graduated a year later but it was a conscious choice because I already worked a lot during the studies.
What is the best memory of your study time?
I have many good memories, particularly from Proakatemia. Internet was still a new thing at the beginning of the 21st century. I and a peer student went to sell a website to a larger company. I remember well that we promised everything they wanted in the meeting. When we headed back to the school, we started thinking what we had promised and how to do it. We strongly believed that we could do everything we had promised and we did. Nowadays as an entrepreneur I would not promise so much.
What did being a TAMK member mean to you during your studies?
Being a TAMK member was the same as team spirit. Particularly Proakatemia members formed a close team. Being a TAMK member has always been more than a student group for me. TAMK is important here in Tampere.
What do you do nowadays?
After the studies, I started as an advertising agency entrepreneur but the agency was sold over 10 years ago. I have been a full-time frisbee and sports entrepreneur for the past 11 years. I already established my Discmania company in 2001. The company is global. It operates in Finland, Sweden and the United States. The frisbee golf centre was built to Ruotula in Tampere 3.5 years ago. It may have been the largest frisbee golf project in Finland. The project already started ten years ago when we started to plan a full-length frisbee golf course to Tampere. It took almost half a decade before it was included in the city’s plans. Now we have enjoyed it for three and a half seasons.
You are a candidate for the international Entrepreneur of the Year award by Ernst&Young. How does it feel?
Being chosen to a candidate is an honour as such. It is the most valued entrepreneur award in the world and participation in the Finnish finale means a lot. I know I am on the right path. I have to hold my breath until next year to see how it goes.
Do you still use what you learnt at TAMK?
Quite a lot actually. In particular, I introduced Proakatemia’s team learning practices in my company.
How have you managed tough situations?
As an entrepreneur, I face challenging and tough situations almost daily. On the one hand, you need to tolerate uncertainty and difficult situations but on the other hand you have unlimited freedom. Staff and staff wellbeing are the most important. If you motivate your employees and they feel good at work, good things happen.
What would you like to say to present-day and future TAMK students?
Already when I was a student, TAMK offered brilliant possibilities to develop a personal career. What is great nowadays is that the scale of future professions is still wider. No matter whether you come to study engineering or business administration, in principle everything is possible. I have for years been a mentor at Proakatemia and TAMK. I think that I gained a lot from Proakatemia and TAMK and I also want to give something back. Nothing is as inspiring as talking to young entrepreneurs.
Do you have a motto or guiding principle?
My motto is Reinvent Your Game, and I also use it in marketing my company. I want to develop and learn more all the time. It is actually a good motto for everyone. You have to remember to develop and learn.
Name: Jussi Meresmaa
Graduated: Bachelor of Business Administration, entrepreneurship unit Proakatemia, 2004.
Now: Frisbee golf company Discmania from 2001. A candidate for the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2021.
Motto: Reinvent Your Game
Text: Piritta Palokangas
Video: Saara Lehtonen ja Jaakko Saarilampi TAMK