Tahko Ski Lift Pitch as a Hub for International Startup Collaboration of University of Eastern Finland 

Kuva: “Tahko Ski Lift Pitch 2023 and visitors from University of Cologne, Germany and Tartu, Estonia. (Kuva: Studio Neonkeidas)” 

International cooperation starts with small steps and brief encounters. The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) has been fostering cross-border startup collaboration with several European universities in recent years, but the current initiatives actually began with a 20-minute meeting at Slush 2019. That was when Joonas Ruuskanen, an innovation advisor at the University of Eastern Finland, arranged a meeting with Marc Kley, CEO of the startup center Gateway at the University of Cologne. Following a fruitful discussion, they decided to plan collaborative actions to enhance their respective startup activities. While concrete steps were delayed in 2020 due to the global pandemic, UEF received an invitation from the University of Cologne to join the Stage Two network, comprising 45 European universities with a shared vision to bring together top universities, future startups, leading companies, and investors across national borders. 

The plans became a reality in the fall of 2021 when members of UEF’s innovation service team visited Cologne. Joona Kemppainen and Mikael Turunen from UEF-startup Algoa Progress, developing new treatment for osteoarthritis, also joined to explore potential collaboration opportunities. The journey with friends from Cologne continued to Berlin, where UEF participated in the startup competition organized by the Stage Two network for the first time. 

During the Berlin visit, UEF’s connections from Cologne introduced them to Aivar Pere, an innovation advisor from the University of Tartu. This meeting laid the groundwork for plans to take UEF’s startup teams to Estonia for the sTARTUp Day competition and also bring Tartu’s teams to Tahko. 

In April 2022, UEF hosted the first international guests from the University of Cologne at the Tahko Ski Lift Pitch. The German delegation experienced a good dose of Finnish culture, and the Cologne-based startup, Compounder, developing a platform that facilitates application processes for universities, advanced from the preliminaries to the top 20 and gained an unforgettable experience of pitching in a ski lift. 

Kuva: “Tahko Ski Lift Pitch 2022 with startup ‘Compounder’ from University of Cologne, Germany.” 

The visit to Estonia materialized in August 2022 when three teams traveled to Tartu to take part in sTARTUp Day 2022. Pauli Turunen and Seppo Honkanen of the UCOT team, developing ultra-compact optical transceivers for more efficient data transfer, Joonas Ruuskanen of Urban Biochar Filter -project, focusing on the purification and monitoring of stormwater, and Antti Kotimaa of Sonai Health, working on a new device for heart diagnosis. Pauli Turunen pitched UCOT to victory at the Nordic Deep Tech Pitch Match organized by the University of Tartu, bringing home the competition’s main prize. 

Kuva: “The Finnish delegation visiting sTARTUp Day 2022 in Tartu, Estonia.” 

The Stage Two collaboration continued in October 2022 when Marginum, a startup developing fluorescence-based tissue monitoring solutions for oncological surgery and the winner of Tahko SLP that year, was chosen to represent UEF in Berlin. Marginum’s Samu Lehtonen stated that he gained valuable competition experience and interesting investor contacts from across Europe. 

Kuva: “Samu Lehtonen from Marginum and Tomi Tuovinen from UEF in Stage Two -competition in Berlin, October 2023.” 

In April 2023, visitors from Cologne and Tartu arrived at Tahko Ski Lift Pitch with four international startup companies. Three teams advanced to the semi-finals, and Akmal Kosimov from RedoxNRG, developing a method to turn CO2-emissions into green fuel, convinced the jury with his confident pitch. As a result, RedoxNRG from University of Tartu won the competition and for the first time the main prize of Tahko Ski Lift Pitch went outside of Finland. 

sTARTUp Day and Stage Two visits also continued in 2023, with Tero Puustinen and Pasi Karjalainen from CorFlux project, developing a solution for preventing aortic aneurysm rapture, representing UEF first in Tartu and later Puustinen also in the Stage Two competition in Berlin. 

Kuva: “Tero Puustinen from CorFlux in Stage Two competition in Berlin, October 2023.“ 

Meanwhile, the collaboration took on new forms beyond event visits, as online sparring sessions for startups between the Universities of Cologne, Tartu, and Eastern Finland were arranged, and startup coaches from the University of Cologne and Tartu served as guest jury members at the Havuja Bootcamp business idea acceleration program organized by Business Center North-Savo. 

The cooperation will reach new heights in the coming April 2024. That is when, in addition to Germany and Estonia, participants from Belgium, Spain, Holland, and Cyprus will be participating in Tahko Ski Lift Pitch through the international YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe) network. Around 10 international startup companies are expected to arrive in Tahko to compete, get to know UEF’s innovation activities, Finnish culture, and the local startup ecosystem. For many, the trip to the North is the first of its kind, and it’s great that the destination is Eastern Finland. Tahko Ski Lift Pitch continues its internationalization year after year, and the University of Eastern Finland strongly pushes this progress forward.  

See you on the slopes of Tahko in April 2024! 

Text by 

Tomi Tuovinen  

Innovation Advisor, M.Sc. (Econ.) 

University of Eastern Finland & Business Center North Savo 

Audra Shallal, Vice President of Corenvest; EBAN

The process of raising money for a business venture begins with a great pitch. The « elevator pitch » is an extremely concise presentation of an entrepreneur's idea, business model, company solution, competitiveness and marketing strategy delivered to potential investors. The workshop, conducted by a seasoned entrepreneur/business angel and an expert in Pitch Coaching, will highlight some of the key steps involved in presenting an effective pitch and will provide attendees with inspiration, effective tools, and increased awareness of the challenge of entrepreneurship in today’s highly competitive business environment.

x The construction of a powerful one-minute pitch.
x Identification of Key Elements investors require in a 10-minute presentation.
x The process of Fine-Tuning Investor Ready Skills to pitch to investors in the marketplace, engaging them to want to know more about your project and the potential of being interested in possibly investing in your company.

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Sointu Borg on puhuja, yrittäjä, ekonomi sekä media- ja somepersoona. Isomman yleisön tietoisuuteen hän nousi voitettuaan realityformaatti Diilin vuonna 2021. Soinnun rajoja rikkova ja räiskyvä asenne hakee vertaistaan! Terävä, sensuroimaton ja huumorilla höystetty ulosanti kuuluvat naisen tavaramerkkeihin.Sointu kuuluu tällä hetkellä Suomen kysytyimpiin ja mielipiteitä herättävimpiin henkilöbrändeihin. Hän omaa runsaasti kokemusta juontamisesta, kameran edessä työskentelystä, puhumisesta sekä

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Join us for an insightful presentation on the important role of teamwork in fostering intellectual property (IP) within growth companies and startups. This session will look at how different roles - from technical to creative to business strategists - each contribute uniquely to IP creation. How technical experts innovate with unique technologies and software, creatives enhance branding and design, and strategists develop game-changing business models and trade secrets. The focus will be on the synergy between these diverse roles and how their collaboration is key to building rich and powerful IP assets. This presentation aims to inspire companies to unlock the full potential of their teams, driving IP success and fostering business growth.

Suvi Julin, Lawyer, Patent Attorney, European Trademark and Design Attorney

Suvi has wide-ranging experience in the field of intellectual property and technology law. She advises clients on a variety of contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters including trademarks, designs and patents as well as in copyright, contractual, employee invention and privacy matters.

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Elias Aalto is one of the founders and the original product lead of Wolt. He's also a co-founder of Qvik – a digital agency that has grown organically to over 120 experts. Prior to them, he designed and developed early games on the iOS, claiming the first Apple Design Award in the Nordics for his game Wooden Labyrinth 3D.

After exiting Wolt, Elias has concentrated on bringing up his daughters and dabbling in angel investing. Recently he joined Shark Tank Finland as one of the sharks on the show.

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Join us at the Kuopio Health Side event @Tahko SLP - where health meets innovation, and opportunities abound! Kuopio Health side event is aimed at investors, startups, entrepreneurs, R2B teams, and of course ecosystem members. The event offers a unique opportunity for networking and making new contacts with actors in the same field. Sit down with investors or exchange ideas with other attendees and hear what's new in the industry.

Side event is open4all, but requires registration: Kuopio Health side event @Tahko SLP - Kuopio Health


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Juho Pesonen is a professor of tourism business and deputy head of the department at University of Eastern Finland Business School. He is a member of the Tourism Business research group and the director of the International Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management. Prof. Pesonen completed his Ph.D. in marketing at University of Eastern Finland, focusing on market segmentation in rural tourism. Now his research focuses on understanding how tourism businesses can survive and thrive in the digital and sustainability transformations. Prof. Pesonen also has the title of Adjunct Professor of digital marketing at University of Turku. He has widely published his research in dozens of peer-reviewed academic journals and has edited several books in the tourism field. He also holds several board positions in companies and associations.

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12.00 Tervetuloa!
Antti-Jussi Pitkälä, puheenjohtaja, Kuopion alueen kauppakamarin kauppa-, matkailu- ja palveluvaliokunta

12.05 Kasvua kansainvälisestä matkailusta – Markkinat, yhteistyö ja myynti
Heli Saari, Area Manager, Visit Finland

12.25 Pohjois-Savon Matkailu Oy – Maakunnallinen yhteistyö kilpailuetuna
Pekka Vihma, hallituksen puheenjohtaja, Pohjois-Savon Matkailu Oy

12.55 Navitas Yrityspalvelut – TBC
13.10 TBC

13.25 Data kansainvälisen matkailun vauhdittajana
Juho Pesonen, matkailuliiketoiminnan professori, Itä-Suomen Yliopisto

13.40 Kestävä matkailu – Kulttuuriperintömatkailu kansainvälisenä vetovoimatekijänä
Kirsi Piirainen, projektipäällikkö, Iisalmen kaupunki

13.55 Loppuyhteenveto
Antti-Jussi Pitkälä, puheenjohtaja, Kuopion alueen kauppakamarin kauppa-, matkailu- ja palveluvaliokunta

14.00 Tilaisuus päättyy.

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14.30 Welcome!

14.35 Orion - A short description of the phenomenon

14.40 Pitch 1

14.50 Pitch 2

15.00 Pitch 3

15.10 Pitch 4

15.15 Closing words

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13.30 Welcome!

13.35 Kemira - A short description of the phenomenon

13.40 Pitch 1

13.50 Pitch 2

14.00 Pitch 3

14.10 Pitch 4

14.15 Closing words

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Innovation Practitioners Communityn Antero Kivikoski ja Janne Pulkkinen johdattavat osallistujat tämän hetken keskeisimpiin kysymyksiin innovaatiojohtamisen saralla. Käytännönläheiset esimerkit ja monikulmainen keskustelu tarjoavat tuoreita näkökulmia oman toiminnan kehittämiseen.

klo 8.45 Kahvit ja verkostoitumista.
klo 9.00 Avauspuheenvuoro – Kuopion alueen kauppakamari ja Itä-Suomen yliopisto
klo 9.10 Innovaatiojohtamisen uusi aika – Innovation Practitioners Community ry Janne Pulkkinen ja Antero Kivikoski
klo 10.50 Päätöspuheenvuoro – Itä-Suomen yliopisto vaikuttavuusjohtaja Minna Hendolin
klo 11.00 Tilaisuus päättyy – Kuopion alueen kauppakamari

Tilaisuus on maksuton ja avoin kaikille aiheesta kiinnostuneille. Workshop on osa Kuopion alueen kauppakamarin Pohjois-Savon elinkeinoelämän TKI-toimintaympäristöselvitys -hanketta (A91005, Etelä-Savon ELY-keskus).

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preparation of going public. Going public is a major milestone in companies growth path, but it also involves a complex and rigorous process that requires careful planning and execution. If you are interested in learning more about the IPO journey, you are invited to join us for a fireside chat with two experts who will share their insights and experiences on this topic.

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  • The fireside chat will be held in Finnish

Kuinka menestyä IPO:ssa – kaikki mitä sinun tarvitsee tietää listautumisesta pörssiin Tervetuloa mukaan mielenkiintoiseen ja ajatuksia herättävään keskusteluun EY:n Päivi Pakarisen ja Nasdaqin Minna Korven kanssa ja opi listautumisen hyödyistä, kriteereistä, haasteista sekä valmistautumisesta.
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