Jarkko Veijalainen, the founder and chairman of innovative circular economy company 3 Step IT, has been named Business Leader of the Year by the Finnish Business Association.
Veijalainen founded the company in 1997 together with Marko Sjöman, offering a cost-efficient way for companies to acquire business technology based on a lifecycle approach.
It is now one of the largest IT companies in Finland and its profitable growth combined with its focus on sustainability have won praise domestically and internationally.
The award is presented annually to a Finnish business leader who has been a pacesetter, an example, and achieved international success.
A statement from the judging panel, which included Kauppalehti and the Aalto University School of Economics, said: “20 years ago, when the circular economy was hardly discussed by anyone anywhere, 3 Step IT was already using it to make business, and grew to become an international player.
“A Finnish company that has achieved profitable international success, is an excellent example of percipience and tenacity. 3 Step IT Group is among the few Finnish super growers. The business has been exemplary in various ways, as its growth has been achieved without sacrificing profitability.”
Veijalainen has been on the board of directors of 3 Step IT since it was founded in 1997. He was the chief executive officer from 1997 to 2005 and then appointed chairman.
Prior to founding the company, he was a financial consultant with Sampo Finance and country manager for DECLease.
Ernst & Young named him Finnish Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007.
Veijalainen said: “It feels extremely good to get such recognition for my life’s work. I want to thank the Finnish Business Association, Kauppalehti as well as the Aalto University School of Economics for the honour.
“I would also like to thank everyone who has been part of building our success story over the years: the company’s executive team, members of the board and all personnel, as well as our customers in particular. It is a great joy to be able to prove that a sustainable operating model can bring value to owners, customers and the society on the whole.”
The circular economy is a driving force at 3 Step IT, which lease, manages and recycles IT assets.
Its refurbishing centres process hundreds of thousands of returned devices annually. After data has been securely erased, reconditioned devices are resold to an extensive network of buyers.
Overall, 97% of returned devices are sold, with 2% sent for recycling, minimising the amount of waste created.
The company also works in partnership with other lessors that use its asset management services along with its refurbishment and resale expertise, to reduce IT costs and realise the residual value potential in assets.
Earlier this year, the current chief executive officer of 3 Step IT, Carmen Ene, received the Equipment Finance Hall of Fame Award at the International Asset Finance Network Awards, in London.
Her commendation highlighted her role in “taking the business on a transformative journey”.
It added: “In the past two years, she has delivered revenue growth two to three times faster than rivals and also improved productivity. She is also a regular visionary speaker at conferences.”
Most recently, 3 Step IT announced a European strategic alliance with BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions to offer technology leasing solutions and lifecycle management that will drive further growth in the circular economy.