3.10 Promotion of entrepreneurship culture
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The most visible event to promote entrepreneurial culture in Finland is Slush. The event has grown really fast: in 2018, there were over 20,000 attendees: over 3,000 start-ups, 1800 investors and 650 journalists from over 130 countries. The organisation behind Slush is non-profit and driven by students. Also, there are thousands of volunteers who participate in organising the event. According to Slush’s website, “Slush is run by the youth who want to make a difference in their societies”. Slush is organised under the Startup Foundation. In 2021 Slush-event is organised, after one year pause, see more here.
Startuplifers is a non-profit internship programme for students who would like to work at start-ups in San Francisco or Silicon Valley. The programme provides training and guidance, and also connects students with start-up companies in the Bay Area.
In Youth Wiki/Finland 8.6 Developing entrepreneurial skills through culture, there are examples of how the entrepreneurship culture is being promoted through culture, all which all are worth mentioning here. For example, vocational educational institutions are offering entrepreneurship learning spaces for its students. Moreover, there is an annual contest for entrepreneurship by the Development Centre Opinkirjo.
Junior Achievement Finland is a non-profit organisation, which offers several programmes for young people between the ages 7 and 25 to support entrepreneurship and working life skills. During the JA Company Program, the students establish an actual company using real money. The program provides an opportunity to strengthen skills related to the working life and financial management, as well as develop the ability to interact with other people and gain an entrepreneurial attitude. The JA Company Program is available to all students in comprehensive and upper secondary schools and functions as a part of the operation of the educational establishment. Junior Achievement Finland is a part of the international Junior Achievement (JA) network, which operates in more than 110 countries around the world. The funding of Junior Achievement Finland is organised in accordance with the principles of Public–Private Partnership (PPP). Most of the funding comes from foundations, companies, and from the European Social Fund coordinated by the Finnish National Agency for Education.
Promoting entrepreneurship is one of the objectives of higher education policy in Finland, too. Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes) is the largest student-run entrepreneurship community in Europe. The society is a registered organisation founded in 2009 and its main goal is to promote entrepreneurial culture and global thinking among students of Aalto University. In 2011, the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society launched Slush, which is one of the biggest startup and tech events in Europe. In addition, the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society has started several projects which promote entrepreneurship. For example, the Start-up Sauna programme – an accelerator for tech teams, and the Start-up Life programme for students have been initiated by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society. The Aalto Entrepreneurship Society is student-run and active members and leaders change annually.
The Startup Foundation was founded in order to make the various projects initiated by Aaltoes more permanent. The Start-up Foundation receives most of its funding from Aalto University, Technology Industries of Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, which is a fund operating under the Finnish Parliament. The Start-up Foundation does not offer directly funding for start-up companies, but it supports activities promoting entrepreneurial culture.
The Startup Sauna co-working space is a meeting point for entrepreneurs and investors. It’s a space for events such as motivational talks, pitching competitions, hackathons and BBQs. It hosts annually nearly 100 events related to start-ups and entrepreneurship. In addition, the space is open to everyone and no previous ties or connections to Startup Sauna are needed.