*ship startup festival gathered praise
30 STARTUPS COMPETED IN XAMKS *SHIP STARTUP FESTIVAL
THREE WERE AWARDED A CASH PRIZE FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
Xamk’s and its regional cooperation network’s international *ship Startup Festival has developed into a significant entrepreneurship and networking event. This year’s festival was organized on the 4th and 5th of May at Kotka Steam Brewery and it succeeded beyond expectations.
– There were about 200 visitors in total, both students and people from companies! There were students from all over Finland, including international students from approximately 20 countries. In addition, we received really high-quality applications for the Pitch Captain competition. 30 startups made it to the competition itself and they were coached by 25 business mentors, says development manager Minna Lehesvuori.
PIKAPAY WON THE PITCH CAPTAIN COMPETITION
PikaPay from Lappeenranta was announced as the winner of the tough competition and the main prize of 10,000 euros. Their competition team included Oskari Hervonen, Juuso Käyhkö and Teemu Ketonen, and their product idea is a mobile application that allows you to do business and pay in stores independently. Petri Kuusela’s and Jyrki Jauhiainen‘s idea called Betomo took the second place and was awarded 3,000 euros. Their idea Betomo is for monitoring the moisture of cast concrete at construction sites using electrical imaging.
Normogames, a company consisting of Xamk students from Kotka – Niko Viitiö, Samuli Kosonen, Jaakko Mela, Ott Otsla, Ilmari Salmi and Antti Jakunaho – were placed third with their game idea. They were awarded 2,000 euros. Normogames is a Kotka-based game studio that makes accessible and fun PC games.
Oskari Hervonen, Petri Kuusela and Niko Viitiö definitely consider networking to be the most valuable asset of the event, even though the prizes are also important for product development.
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– Feelings about the competition are very good and yet again we gained valuable experience that could not be obtained elsewhere. The prize money will be invested in Pilot V2 -product development, says Hervonen.
– The event was brilliantly organized and very useful: I received valuable feedback on our business idea and its presentation, as well as experience in pitching. I will use the prize money for the first test measurements, continues Kuusela.
The Pitch Captain prizes worth 15,000 euros in total were sponsored by Google. In addition, Cursor Oy awarded Normogames with 2,000 euros for the best startup of South-Kymenlaakso.
We will invest both the Google and Cursor awards in making a prototype, with which we will then apply for funding and a publisher. Meeting entrepreneurs and mentors is the best part of the competitions, Viitiö thanks.
SHOWROOM HONORABLE MENTION FOR JONI OUTINEN
Xamk’s design students Showroom was also on display at the festival. Joni Outinen from North -Kymenlaakso was awarded for the best exhibition with a six-month membership of Synenergy Center Kohoa. The award is sponsored by Raino Kukkonen’s 70-year foundation and Kouvola Innovation. The jury especially appreciated Outinen’s way of using left over scraps from large projects in his recycling-inspired, animal-themed works. The versatile metal handling and techniques were also praised.
– Events like these are great opportunities for a beginner designer to showcase work, gain visibility and contacts, and learn new things. The honorable mention was a great thing and gives faith in your own work. I will discuss the plans for utilizing the membership with Kohoa in the next few days, says Outinen.
*SHIP WILL CONTINUE TO CREATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP TO SOUTHEAST FINLAND
The goal of *ship Startup Festival is to inspire students towards entrepreneurial tracks and to offer companies a natural opportunity to get to know the talents of the future. Entrepreneur and investor Ville Leist, who mentored at the event says that *ship has grown into a significant startup event in Finland, especially for startups in the early stages.
– The event has developed its own identity and reputation, which was shown by the fact that the visitor limit was reached and not all could be taken in. Xamk has done an incredibly great job: the event brings positive buzz and international visibility to the area! It is of great importance to the region’s vitality if as many startups as possible can stay in Southeast Finland. As a person born and raised in Kotka, I hope that *ship continues its successful story, receiving unreserved support from the municipalities and operators in the region.
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*ship’s goal is to be Finland’s largest international startup event aimed at students and early-stage startups, which is implemented with a comprehensive cooperation network. The event will continue to be held in Kotka.
– Next year we will celebrate *ship’s 10-year anniversary and our hope is to get more partners involved to organize a memorable festival – everyone interested is welcome to cooperate for the success of our region, project manager Mari Kirjalainen encourages.