The Finnish economy is suffering from a prolonged hollow in productivity. For a solid bounce, arguably Finland would need new high productivity firms. To analyze where entrepreneurs of such firms come from and what they are like, we have constructed a novel Finnish Longitudinal OWNer-Employer-Employee (FLOWN) database. Here we focus on limited liability companies with one dominant owner who works in her own firm and who has hired at least one additional employee. We find that these entrepreneurs typically have previous experience as an employee in another high productivity firm and, moreover, this is strongly positively associated with her current firm’s higher productivity and survival probability. In addition, a strong link between the productivity performance and the owner’s formal university education in a technical field is established. These findings are robust to controlling for a number of entrepreneur and employee attributes. Finally, we find that firms that were founded in times of intensive job reallocation currently had superior productivity performance.