Entrepreneurship and startups are the hottest topics of today and even our dear University of Oulu has dedicated the entire year for entrepreneurship. You might have heard about the Entrepreneurship Theme Year but maybe you are still unsure what does that mean in practice.

There are actually a lot of things happening regarding entrepreneurship both behind the scenes and out in front. Here I am dishing up some of my favorite and urging you to tag along.

Integrating entrepreneurship into the university

With respect to entrepreneurship, the Theme Year manifests taking action and the goal is to bring entrepreneurship as a permanent element of the university’s education and research – which has been long sought-after.

The year is now dedicated to finding new ways how to connect entrepreneurship and studying in all fields of education. University is putting more effort in emphasizing and utilizing the skills which will be valuable when choosing an entrepreneurial career.

One of the concrete new initiatives is to advance the birth of new businesses out of university research. Innovation services is continuing to work hard, making University of Oulu the best place to spin off and start new ventures.

Idea accelerator for students and researchers

Avanto Accelerator, a new business idea development program, was launched a week ago for the first time. In the opening event 9 enthusiastic teams including students and researchers presented their ideas about home energy solutions, applications for e-commerce, commercializing education know-how and many more.

The goal of this idea accelerator is to coach the teams with the help of experienced mentors and this way support the generation of fresh new companies. This three month program is aiming to guide the teams to develop their idea into a sellable product and give the tools to build a healthy business at an international level. If you are interested to see what the participants are building, stay tuned as the teams will present their results for the general public on the 11th of December.

Events about entrepreneurship

Just recently the university was crowded when the Entrepreneurship Day filled the corridors with visitors. We could find entrepreneurs, students and organizations roaming around and taking part in the activities. Workshops encouraged people to come up with ideas and get to know organizations that advance entrepreneurship in Oulu. Inside the aquarium students could hear fascinating stories from different companies and get inspired from their experiences. People could also stop by and talk to young business owners who showcased diversely what entrepreneurship is really about.

Juho Risku from Butterfly Ventures took the stage to reveal how the life of a venture capital investor is.
People could meet with companies such as Raknar that promoted the next generation suit tailoring, restaurant entrepreneurs from HoHot and Makukellari that provided the authentic tastes of Asia and this year’s young summer entrepreneur who tackled bad hair days.

The Entrepreneurship Day is one great example of an event for curious people and this fall you can find similar action going on all around Oulu. So don’t worry if you missed this particular happening because Business Kitchen offers a lot more open events every month and you are definitely invited.

Entrepreneurship Minor

Oh yes! It is now possible for everyone to study entrepreneurship as a minor, regardless what your major is. This is extremely valuable for closing the gap between university studies and work life.

What is great about entrepreneurship studies is that they are not focused on hard core business, actually quite the contrary. The courses are designed to help students in career planning and polishing work life skills during studies. You get to discover self-knowledge, personal competencies, interests and aspirations and put them into use.

Enthusiastic students are also able to put their skills to the test and participate in an entrepreneurial field project. Demola offers the best platform for just that. Twice a year Demola is inviting multi-disciplinary and multicultural project groups to solve real life problems. The teams will develop innovative solutions to problems companies face and at the same time students are earning study credits. If you want to know more check out the Demola website.

New co-working space

Tellus library has locked its doors and by the sheer look of it, the space is under construction. The campus library is going through a total transformation and will open in the end of the year as a new center for entrepreneurship and co-working. The space will regain new life as a place for intriguing events and a home base where ideas are exchanged and worked on.

I don’t know all the details about this entrepreneurship center yet but I hear it is going to be pretty awesome.

Knitting challenge

If you have noticed the knitted graffiti wrapped around posts and coat racks all over the university hallways, you have probably wondered what that is all about. They are actually one of the marketing efforts of the Entrepreneurship Theme Year. However, there is more to it than that.

The bright yellow graffiti are reflecting the softer side of doing business and symbolizing all the different shapes and sizes of entrepreneurship. Therefore, I am now encouraging all you knitting fanatics and novices to create your own graffiti or scarf to show your entrepreneurial spirit. So grab your knitting needles and portray your personality with colors and materials.

When your work of art is finished, get an entrepreneurship tag from Business Kitchen and receive a free Taivas & Helvetti book to be added into your collections.

Mia demola stand
Mia demola stand

If you are an entrepreneur wannabe or you are interested to participate in the action, be sure to follow the Entrepreneurship page on university website and like the Business Kitchen Facebook page to receive the latest updates!

To conclude, in a nutshell Entrepreneurship Year pushes you to take charge: develop something that makes a positive change, create a future that looks like you and provide a job for you and others that you love.

By: Karita Kasurinen