As Samsung and Apple continue to stamp out every remnant of competition left in the marketplace, some of the biggest names in wireless technology have been forced to let go of considerable portions of their staff. Nokia is perhaps the most prominent of all the smartphone manufacturers that couldn’t keep up, shrinking from 24,000 employees in its home country of Finland to just 10,600 by the end of last year. Profits were down, the outlook was bleak, but as the BBC reports, Nokia made sure that its displaced employees were given every opportunity to land on their feet.
In 2011, Nokia launched the Bridge program to ensure that any employees that needed assistance while transitioning to a new job would have access to it. According to the report, the Bridge program was offered to over 18,000 former Nokia workers all around the world, but that’s not even the most impressive part. Since the program launched, 400 new companies have been founded by out-of-work Finns with the help of Nokia.
Kimmo Koivisto left Nokia voluntarily during the decline, and thus was ineligible for Bridge, but when he teamed up with two former employees who were let go, his group was able to gather the capital from Nokia to launch a startup. Another ex-Nokia worker,¬†Marc Dillon, “used elements” of the discarded MeeGo platform to build Sailfish OS, an operating system that runs the mobile phones launched by his company, Jolla Mobile.
“The most important thing was that they encouraged and they did not block. They could have said No, citing anti-competition or something like that,” said Dillon. “Instead we were open with them and they were open with us and we were able to take MeeGo and do something with it.”
Although the Bridge program might be a genius PR play, it’s a scheme that Nokia says is costing it “tens of millions of euros.” With that hefty price tag, the fallen giant is not only investing in the future of those who made the company a success in the first place, but Nokia is also making a commitment to the continued development of Finland as a hub for technology in the years to come.