Linda Kaseva of Ilo & Liike: exercising for good vibes instead of looks

There is more to working out than just beach bodies, and this fresh sport and wellness startup is going to have people enjoy exercising while improving their performance.

They say Lahti is a great city for outdoor activities, and the bright sunshine and blazing autumn colours certainly underline that claim. The city is surrounded by forests and dominated by the great lake Vesijärvi, and it’s no wonder young entrepreneur Linda Kaseva decided to establish her startup Ilo & Liike (Joy & Motion) here.

Kaseva’s startup offers varying kinds of sport and well-being services, such as functional training, strength and conditioning coaching, nutritional counseling and personal training. In addition to serving individual customers she also hosts recreational activities for companies and coaches sports teams.

“During fall running courses are especially popular for groups”, she tells.

Ilo & Liike just kicked off this fall, but Kaseva is far from inexperienced in the field. Even though she’s only 23 years old, she already has 8 years of experience in sports instructing and coaching, and is currently waiting to receive her bachelor’s degree diploma from Haaga-Helia UAS Vierumäki. In addition she is a former competing athlete in track and field.

“I love everything about my work, sport is my passion”, she says smiling.

Combining entrepreneurship with her passion had always been an option for Kaseva, and with help from StartUp School she turned that option into reality on her senior year. Just a year ago Kaseva had no idea that she would soon be a business-owner.

“It all happened very fast, I had no idea!” she laughs.

“But I think it fits me. I’m an ambitious person who likes doing things her own way, and as an entrepreneur I have to think and survive by myself.”

Thanks to both of Kaseva’s parents being entrepreneurs, the world of entrepreneurship wasn’t unknown to her beforehand. She was well familiar with the amount of work and dedication that goes into a business, and professional advice is always just one phone call away when needed. Kaseva says help from her StartUp School teacher has also been priceless.

“Shes’ been so helpful, and I’m really thankful for this experience.”

Kaseva doesn’t yet work full-time on Ilo & Liike, but there’s still plenty of work to do and she barely has any time off. On an ordinary day she would for example check her email, work on client programs, contact new potential clients and update her social media websites. Kaseva thinks nowadays it’s essential for entrepreneurs to focus on social media to get exposure and bring in new clients.

What makes Ilo & Liike different from all the other fitness companies out there then?

Kaseva didn’t have a hard time coming up with her business idea. She wants to use her knowledge and experience in physical training, but also to help people and make them happy in her own way. Kaseva thinks exercise should be more than just self-torture or a way to make you look better; it should provide you with positive feelings and improve your mental well-being in addition to making you physically healthier. This is why Ilo & Liike encourages people to get outdoors and also to pay attention to things like posture, ergonomics and healthy diet.

Kaseva seems optimistic when asked where she sees her business in two years.

“I’ll be running Ilo & Liike full-time, having other companies working for me and hopefully training sports teams!”

Text and photo: Leena Porri