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Start Me Up 2020 main award to Viestra Oy


Ending at the end of March, this year’s Start Me Up business idea competition inspired many innovative individuals and companies to pursue the EUR 20,000 prize. In addition to the monetary award, the main prize also included facilities in Science Park for one year provided by Business Joensuu. The level of competition was high this year: many promising ideas could be found amongst the 142 entries.

This year, the main prize went to the idea submitted by Viestra Oy, which enables a more accurate recording of the location and depth of underground cables. Several other monetary prizes were also awarded in the competition. The awards amounted to EUR 60,000. The prize of EUR 5,000 for the best internationalisation potential went to TeeKoo Games Oy. The competition jury was impressed by the applied technology of the company’s Sensor Monitor, a system developed for monitoring the surface level and structure of wells.

The business ideas were assessed on the basis of their feasibility, innovativeness, growth potential and opportunities for internationalisation. The assessment was carried out by a jury, which included experts from development companies, educational institutions and companies. Organised for the 20th time already, Start Me Up is one of the largest business idea competitions in Finland, and it has been a springboard for several companies. Ideas awarded in the competition last year are developing rapidly as we speak, and this year’s winners are expected to do the same.

The competition is Business Joensuu’s largest annual campaign to encourage entrepreneurship. It aims to increase and accelerate business activities in the region and help new innovative ideas gain a foothold. Co-operation partners of the competition are Karelia university of applied sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Riveria Vocational School in North Karelia, The Regional Federation of Finnish Enterprises in North Karelia, Bioeconomy and circular economy project, North Karelia Chamber of Commerce, Asianajotoimisto Surakka Ltd, Leitzinger Ltd, Process Genius Ltd ja Kontionloikka Ltd.

The aim is to generate new business from the competition entries. After the competition, the ideas are refined with the help of Business Joensuu and its partners. The goal is to grow new North Karelian success stories.

More information:
Business Joensuu, Business Coach Janne Pakarinen, tel. +358 50 575 8859,

Innovation of Viestra Oy improves the detection of underground cables

This year, the innovation of Viestra Oy in North Karelia was selected as the winner of the Start Me Up business idea competition. It enables a more accurate recording of the location and depth of underground cables. Mika Pakarinen, CEO of the company specialising in contracting in telecommunications and electrical cables, says that the prize money is a motivating reward for an innovation developed alongside work. The idea is based on a concrete problem and developed by an experienced team.

The company’s idea offers a solution to problems caused by obsolete and inaccurate information on the location of cables at different worksites where the detection of cable locations is essential for the work.

– Our equipment can be used to collect and record detailed information on the location and depth of cables in real time. This type of device is not yet available on the market, says Pakarinen.

As a business idea, the device for recording location information of cables hits a growing market with international potential.

– I believe that the device will have a lot of use in the future as the need for underground infrastructure seems to increase, for example, due to varied weather phenomena resulting from climate change, says Pakarinen.

The company’s innovation is visionary in that the device will also serve contractors working in the same area in the future, as the location of underground cables can be accurately recorded. In the future, it may also be possible to develop ICT applications around the idea, which is important as the modern society becomes digitalised. According to Pakarinen, changes in the field over time also motivated and inspired the company to engage in product development.

– Our device makes the quality control of cable installation work more transparent. This allows contractors to demonstrate the quality of their work to their potential customers, which can be an important competitive advantage. Today’s price competition is tough in the ground cabling sector, which means that the quality of work varies greatly. Our equipment eliminates this problem and makes the price competition fairer without compromising the quality of work, says Pakarinen.

Therefore, our future plans include developing a complete product range related to ground cabling for construction companies so that the innovation would also speed up other businesses. According to Pakarinen, the company has a great desire to grow its business particularly in the region, but it also plans to take the winning product to the international market. Plans for increasing international trade have already been made with experts from Business Joensuu.

More information:
CEO Mika Pakarinen +358 40 569 2888

TeeKoo Games’ sensor system has the best international potential

In addition to the main prize of EUR 20,000, other prizes were awarded in the Start Me Up business idea competition. The prizes totalled EUR 60,000. The idea with the best potential for internationalisation received a sum of EUR 5,000. This year, the prize went to TeeKoo Games’ business idea of monitoring the surface level and structure of wells, which convinced the competition jury with its applied technology.

– It is always great to achieve appreciation and victory. It is wonderful to hear and notice that others can also see the uniqueness and significance of our solution, says Jukka Hirvonen, CEO of the company.

The Sensor Monitor system was assessed to be highly competitive in the international market, as the demand for the product is partly generated by legislation and regulations in different fields. This makes it possible to also sell the product abroad. The system is innovative in that it is easily expandable, and an unlimited number of measurement targets can be added to the same control system.

– Our goal was to build a multi-location and replicable user interface which can be used to integrate an indefinite number of components that increase automation and efficiency in accordance with the needs of customers and users, says Hirvonen.

The team behind the idea is working hard to study new market areas. They are in continuous cooperation with expert groups from different fields, which, according to Hirvonen, is important in terms of developing new innovations. The rapidly developing technology also offers new opportunities and ideas for growth.

– Our future goals include profitable growth, maintaining a strong level of innovation and, of course, continuing to ensure the satisfaction of our customers, Hirvonen explains.

More information:
CEO Jukka Hirvonen, tel. +358 50 341 5770

Start Me Up business idea competition 2020 winners

Main prize EUR 20,000 + facilities for one year in Joensuu Science Park:
Viestra Oy
The business idea is a device for storing the geographic data of cables, which enables the recording of more accurate information on the location and depth of ground cables in real time.

Student prize EUR 9,000:
The award was divided between three ideas:

Care-free movers
A new solution to support people moving from one home to another.

Aitoo – second hand & café
Improving the availability of high-quality clothing and fashion in the region in an ecologically sustainable manner.

Kati Suomalainen
Developing innovative solutions for interior design and decoration from recycled materials.

Best potential for internationalisation EUR 5,000:
TeeKoo Games Oy
The company’s Sensor Monitor system has been developed to monitor the surface level and structure of wells. The applied technology behind the idea was seen to have the potential to do well on the international markets.

Industrial digitalisation EUR 3,000:
TeeKoo Games Oy
The Sensor Monitor system, which won the award for Best potential for internationalisation, was also awarded the prize for Industrial Digitalisation.

Strong patent application sponsored by Leitzinger Oy, EUR 4,900
The business idea consists of a solution for opening medicine containers. The business idea is based on a practical problem requiring a smart but simple solution.

Legal services worth EUR 1,500, sponsored by Asianajotoimisto Surakka Oy (Attorneys at Law Surakka Oy)
The business idea facilitates and speeds up daily work in restaurants. The first version of the idea has already been tested in local restaurants.

Best research-based business idea
The idea is based on health care research combined with ICT technology. The result is an application that enables better quality and efficiency of patient monitoring, which improves, for instance, the possibilities for home care.

Kontioloikka pilot prize
Apila Group Oy
Tool for the optimal use of side streams

Bioeconomy and circular economy, expert services for piloting EUR 10,000
The recipient of the award will be selected later.

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