At the moment our *ship crew is visiting startups and ES societies promoting *ship 2023.   If you have a team or idea that you are ready to test and get feedback from industry experts, * ship is the right place for you. Pre-and early-stage startups from all over Finland should get ready and tighten up those pitch decks if they want to stay afloat!

tips for participants

(Instructions  on the slide bellow are based on our festival in May 2023.
Future instructions can possibly develope.)


  • We select the competing startups based on their applications. We will evaluate how prepared startups are in this selection process + are startups on the right level considering our target group: *ship Startup Festival is meant for pre and early stage startups.


  • Competing startups will be divided into different baches in the semifinals based on the field they represent. Two best of each baches will continue to the finals which will be held at the end of the day.


  • Your Pitch deck will be downloaded as an attachment to your application. (example in the picture)


  • At the semifinals startups will get 3 minutes time to pitch after which they`ll get 2 minutes for Q&A.


  • At the finals startups will get 5 minutes time to pitch after which they`ll get 2 minutes for Q&A.


  • Rewards: 1st place 10 000€ / 2nd place 3000€ / 3rd place 2000€ (sponsored by Google) + special prize: The best startup of South Kymenlaakso: 2000€ (sponsored by Cursor)





1. Face-to-face meetings with potential partners and experts

This is the biggest event for early-stage companies to take part in. It will be the chance for you to pitch your idea to experts, investors and showcase what you are capable of. Our carefully curated mentor pool will be there for you to ensure your development, answer questions you may have, and ensure that you are successful on not only the Pitch Captain competition but any Pitching event in the future!

“I have been to several other startup events, but nothing was even close to *ship. The event helps us gain wider publicity and new partnerships. This contributed to convincing me that we were in the right direction.” Joonas, Pitch Captain winner 2015. Curious about what *ship  has to offer early-stage startups? Curious about what *ship  has to offer early-stage startups?

2. Experienced mentors provide guidance

Through the *ship program, startups can network with different mentors from different fields to improve their pitches and solidify their ideas. Mentors usually help our teams figure out a key element to their pitch/idea after these discussions. During the event, you can network with a wide variety of experts from all industries allowing you to deepen your understanding of a certain field, and increase your chances of securing investment and funding.

*ship event is a great way to meet the experts in your field. Your idea may be ground-breaking but without promotion, it won’t go anywhere. It’s crucial to get in front of industry leaders and pitch your idea or ask for advice as to your startup’s biggest advocate.


3. Networking

Throughout the event, attendees will grab a bite to eat, a drink to sip, and business cards to hand out. *ship Startup Festival, the largest entrepreneurship event in our region attracts entrepreneurs of all types, from the earliest of startups to people with decades of experience, so there will be a wide range of people from various stages of their careers to talk to!

“*ship Startup Festival gives access to everything that a young entrepreneur needs. It has a welcoming community that helps you grow”. Neveli, pitch Captain winner 2018. Curious about what *ship  has to offer early-stage startups? Curious about what *ship  has to offer early-stage startups? 

4. Chance to win the grand prize!

As part of the *ship program, each startup team will have the opportunity to pitch their startup idea to a panel of judges in the Pitch Captain Competition. Ultimately, the winning team will receive a prize and the title of Pitch Captain. Whether you are a team competing or an attendee visiting, you can always get inspired by the motivated entrepreneurs ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow!


1. Find an idea

The first step that an entrepreneur should start with is to think about a business that fulfills the needs of a group of customers. However, the idea doesn’t always need to be new, but original. You can, for instance, run the same business as your neighbor but your service’s originality might make the difference. Moreover, you can change the product’s appearance, add a new feature, or find a new use for a product that clients have already purchased and love.Curious about what *ship  has to offer early-stage startups?Curious about what *ship  has to offer 

2. Make a business plan

Already you found the idea, move to the next step! The business plan is an important part of starting a company. It describes all the steps in detail including the products, services, whom you are selling to, how you will finance the startup costs, your objectives, goals, and your mission and vision. A business plan shows you the growth, where the company is going, and what you need to sustain the development.

When you are making your first business plan ensure the mission and vision are different. The vision is the result of an entrepreneur’s dream of something that doesn’t exist yet and the ability to paint a compelling picture of that dream for everyone to see it while the mission is a written expression of how the company will reflect an entrepreneur’s values, beliefs and vision more than just making money.


3. Secure appropriate funding

To get yourself off the ground, you must have adequate capital. No fixed or enchanted number applies to all businesses. It depends on the industry; some companies may require more or less funding according to the situation. You should bear in mind that this step is so important because many early-stage companies run out of money before even turning a profit. Always overestimate the amount of startup capital you need because it lets you know if you can run this business, or you’ll end up in a losing position.

4. Move on legally

You should procure an assortment of permits to operate before you can lawfully work your business. For instance, you need to register your business with the federal, state and local government. Moreover, to give yourself the best chance at success, you have to get a federal tax ID number, create a separate bank account, familiarize yourself with industry regulations and fill in for a trademark.


Building engagement 

Relevance is one way to capture attention. Ask questions before you jump into a topic that you think your ideal audience might be interested in! This is especially important if you’re having trouble figuring out what’s working and what’s not. You can research the topic on Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook groups! What excites your audience? What worries them? How can you help them? Are there any middle ground situations you can help them with? What are their options for getting assistance, and where do they find these people? Each of these questions can assist in creating more appealing content, programs, and presentations for your audience.

Showing Authority

Being able to answer all the questions is one way to build authority. Sharing your failures and how you overcame them is another, even more, powerful way to inspire others. You might even be able to inspire someone else by sharing your struggles. Let others know what makes your products or services stand out. Describe the testimonials that you’ve received from your clients. Additionally, you will begin to establish yourself as an authority within your niche and continue to develop the “Know, Like, and Trust” factor that makes people want to stay and pay attention.



Good speakers tell stories; great speakers tell personal ones. The best pitches feature customer stories, brand stories, and stories of successful individuals and companies. The three tactics of storytelling, comedy, and drama all work to keep people engaged and interested in what you are saying. Which one are you the best at, then use that strength often to keep your audience interested and related to you. Although these stories are fine, people want to hear more about you if you have achieved high levels of success. Curious about what *ship  has to offerCurious about what *ship  has to offer  


Even though many of you will think this is not an advanced tip, I would like to reiterate that preparation is a cruel thing to do. A successful pitch depends on the ingredients. List your ingredients to ensure your pitch is fool-proof. There’s no need to learn your speech off by heart or choreograph exactly where you stand for your pitch. Indeed, if your pitch is too polished, it will seem contrived. But with a little practice, you can improve your delivery and be prepared to answer questions on the big day.

How to pitch?

In addition to the article above "How to present your idea", you can can also watch a sneak peek from 2017 when Neal Hartman, a previous mentor at *ship Startup Festival, gave his 3 pitching tips for Startups.

watch video



Keskuskatu 21, 48100 Kotka
Distance from the event 4.2 KM

Special Price for XAMK
Single room 121€ /night
And for twin or double room 141€/night


For booking with discounted price,
contact with caption SOKOS HOTEL


Satamakatu 9, 48100 Kotka, Finland
Distance from the event 4.2 KM

Single room (80€/night)
Double room (98€/night)
Superior double room (120€/night)
Triple room (135€/night)


by phone +3585215222 or by the email
(Remember to mention *ship Startup Festival for the mentioned price)


Kyminlinnantie 18, 48600 Kotka
Distance from the event 5.4 KM

Single room 73€ /night
Double/Twin room 89€ /night


Phone +358 05 460 50100
Booking by email: with code: Ship Startup Festival 2023


Mastotie 1, 48310 Kotka
Distance from the event 9.5 KM

Range from 80 to 200 euro (Depending on guest number)
Single room, Double room, Family room


Booking online:

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