Henri Valvanne


I was born and raised in Espoo, Finland. I lived there for around 22 years before I moved to Tallinn. I studied at the Tallinn School of Economic and Business Administration, majoring in Marketing and I got my Bachelor´s degree in 2011. During my studies I lived in the centre of Tallinn and visited Finland every summer and also during many weekends.  

Why did you choose Jönköping International Business School?

As I was graduating from my previous school I started looking for a master programme suitable for my needs. I narrowed my options down to Sweden, Denmark and Finland. In the end, it was JIBS´s reputation; the easy application process, free education, and 1-year option that made me choose JIBS. As usual, Internet was my main source of information.  

What have you enjoyed the most about being in Jönköping and Sweden?  

I like Jönköping very much, especially the nature with the lake. The atmosphere is friendly and there are enough things to do. Jönköping is also situated near other beautiful cities, such as Gothenburg. The greatest thing is that I have made a lot of friends here. 

Please tell us a little bit more about your business idea. What will be your next step?  

In the fall of 2009 I was diagnosed with Bickerstaff Brainstem Encephalitis, a rare disease that caused me to lose eyesight, movement, and balance altogether. The only thing working for a few weeks was my brain. I was left to wonder about life and death — about what is truly important in life — alone inside my head. After 10 days in the intensive care unit, five weeks total in hospital, and 1.5 years of recovery, I was ready for a new day. I realized that my mission was to cause as much happiness around me as I could. I started reading the works from such as Eckhart Tolle, Muhammad Yunus and the Dalai Lama. I began to wonder if I could do more to bring further empathy and compassion into the world, to wake people up from their dreams of selfishness, and to help others.

The idea came to me as I was watching at the news and reading articles about youth mental health problems. One of the main problems concerning the youth's mental healthcare is that there is no easy access to mental healthcare, the cost is high, and the fear of being labeled and to show weakness, means that the youth suffer alone.

I began to wonder if I could do more to bring further empathy and compassion into the world, to wake people up from their dreams of selfishness, and to help others.

And the worrying statistics just kept piling up... I felt that there is something fundamentally wrong in the system. People were not getting the treatment they needed — they were left alone.

I studied how the mental healthcare was organized, especially in my home country Finland. I realized that hardly any organizations use the communication tool of today, the Internet. The therapists were not where the young people spend a huge part of their time.

Studies show that online therapy can be as effective as normal face to face therapy, but still there were only very few companies providing this kind of therapy in Finland, or in Sweden for that matter. The proven fact is that online therapy is effective, convenient, affordable, and easily accessible.
I had an idea of using the Internet to connect the therapists and the people in need, especially the youth. The @Care service was brought to light. I understood that we could actually make a contribution to help the youth. The model is simple; we create an online therapy service that uses Skype, and other communication tools, to provide therapy. The service works as a portal linking the people in need of therapy and the therapists providing therapy nationwide.

At the moment I am starting to build the platform with a Finnish Internet company. We are seeking funding from different sources and finding the best solutions for the service. With the prize money from the JIBS Entrepreneurship Challenge I can set up my own company. For that, I want to thank JIBS and especially Lennart Israelsson.

My company will be based on the idea of social business. The revenues coming from the business are mostly to be used to expand the service. The purpose is not to make money — it is to help.
It is wonderful to see that there are people who see the potential this service has in helping people in need. I believe that all of us need to help our fellow human beings through compassion, empathy, and understanding. We have a huge mental health problem that will blow up in our hands if we do nothing. We must use the tools we have, such as Internet, to help those suffering.

I want to thank everyone for their support and especially send out a big thank you to Christoph, Corinna, and Arnaud, who helped me develop this idea at JIBS. I would also like to thank Tobias Dahlberg at Science Park for his support and the whole of JIBS for making it possible to pursue my dreams.

Content updated 2012-02-22