Construction entrepreneur Niko Riskilä is Tampere University of Applied Sciences’ Alumnus of the Year
Niko Riskilä graduated from TAMK’s Degree Programme in Construction Engineering in 2016. Riskilä works as the managing director in his Nikora Ltd, which specialises in design, building and sales of one-family houses. In addition to Riskilä, the company employs seven persons.
Being chosen as the Alumnus of the Year was a pleasant surprise to Riskilä.
“It feels good and I am grateful for the honour.”
Riskilä tells that he has been an active alumnus by willingly telling about TAMK: studying was nice, teaching was good and he received good qualifications for working life.
In March 2020, Riskilä was also awarded as Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Tampere Region. A management group of Tampere Region young entrepreneurs decides on the award winner annually.
Ideas from students’ design competition
Nikora Ltd’s trademark is a terraced house which originated in a competition directed to TAMK students. After graduation, Riskilä organised a design competition for construction architecture students together with Senior Lecturer Minna Nyström-Järvinen. The competition succeeded well and offered students valuable experience in design.
“We received very good and individual designs. We chose the five best of them. The designs were not used as such but the final design was made based on them,” Riskilä tells.
Riskilä was encouraged by starting cooperation with his former seat of learning and TAMK taking seriously his cooperation offer.
The young engineer’s entrepreneurship already started during his studies in 2013 with a business name. As the business operation grew and focused more and more on new building, Riskilä established Nikora Ltd. The company now builds houses made to personal customers’ order and with the developer model.
Riskilä tells that the beginning of the ongoing year was quite quiet in sales but when the corona restrictions were eased in June, Nikora closed two deals and the demand returned back to normal.
“We have been fully employed the whole year and our following project is starting little by little,” Riskilä says.
Project topics for students
Riskilä is genuinely interested in cooperation between the higher education institution and working life. He sees many possibilities in helping students forward in working life.
“We can offer for example development projects or thesis topics. I already have some cooperation ideas and I would especially want to cooperate with the university of applied sciences on reduction of environmental load. I think it is companies’ obligation to be responsible and I want to do my share in it.”
Riskilä still remembers his study time when he thought about the thesis topic.
“My thesis supervisor Senior Lecturer Heikki Saarenpää was a mentor who encouraged me to continue my reasoning.”
Contact teaching and meeting important
Even if Riskilä says he looks into the future and aims at being a pioneer, he respects traditional contact teaching. Riskilä hopes that contact teaching will not be reduced in the future. Remote teaching suits some, especially working people. As a young student, Riskilä had not been mature enough to study remotely.
“It had not worked if Senior Lecturer Risto Lilja had taught statics online.”
Riskilä also wants to meet people face to face at work.
“I greatly value good old meetings. I have however adapted to the situation in which many matters have to be dealt with remotely. I have coped quite well as I had my first video conference this spring.”
TAMK’s Alumnus of the Year was now chosen for the second time. Last year Midwife and Layette’s CEO Sini Havukainen was chosen as TAMK’s first Alumna of the Year. The Layette maternity application is a success story which takes Finnish maternity clinic system abroad.
Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University started joint alumni activities at the beginning of 2019 under the name Tampere Alumni. All students and staff members of TAMK, Tampere University and their predecessors are Tampere alumni. Alumni activities aim at promoting diverse interaction between the higher education institutions and alumni. www.tuni.fi/alumni
See the Alumnus of the Year’s video greeting (in Finnish)
Text: Arja Hautala
Photos: Jaakko Saarilampi
Video production: Jaakko Saarilampi/ TAMK & Joona Nieminen/ Kipinä Films Oy