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Start Me Up 2023 with the biggest prize in the history of the business idea competition

The future begins with an idea. Start the journey from Start Me Up! Share your idea with the world.

Press release
Publication on February 1, 2023, at 08:30

The Start Me Up business idea competition is again open for submissions. Business Joensuu and its partners are looking for the best ideas for the future that can grow into sustainable business activities, both in North Karelia and internationally. The competition begins on February 1, and you can submit your ideas until March, 31. The competition has a record-breaking set of prizes. The value of the main prize is €130,000 and the total value of the prizes exceeds €160,000.

The Start Me Up business idea competition, which promotes North Karelian entrepreneurship and future business, has been organised since 2000. It has established itself as one of Finland's most significant business idea competitions.

The competition is open to all from private individuals to research groups and companies
The renowned competition offers an excellent opportunity to highlight ideas and research topics, and develop them into successful a business, together with Business Joensuu experts and partners. The competition is also a channel for funding and media visibility for the business idea. In addition to the North Karelia region, ideas around Finland, as well as the world, are welcome.

– The competition is significantly beneficial for the refining of new product and service concepts, operating models and innovative solutions. "Above all, it is a long-term growth environment that enables synergies between companies, research activities, financiers and business life," summarises Kirsi Svärd, Business Coach of Business Joensuu.

The competition has six categories
All business idea proposals are in the running for the main prize and may also be awarded in other competition categories. As usual, the best idea is selected in the Main prize, Student, and Business for Kitee series.

The new prize series include Business for Liperi, Modern Karelian trade and service in the new commercial building at Joensuu Marketplace, as well as Research-based business idea prizes. The winning business idea in the main prize category will receive a prize of €130,000, consisting of cash money, investments and versatile expert services for refining and developing the new business idea. What is more, Joensuu Science Park will provide the winner with business facilities for one year.

The student category winners are rewarded by the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Riveria.
– We encourage students and young innovators to be creative when sending business ideas to the competition, says Heikki Immonen, Principal Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Karelia University of Applied Sciences, and Anne Karppinen, Communications, Marketing and Sales Manager at Riveria.

– The Karelian Trade and Service category of the Northern Karelia Cooperative Society (PKO) aims for vibrant business in the new commercial building at Joensuu Marketplace. The assessing and rewarding of the category consider the commercial preconditions and potential of the business idea to be a new North Karelian success story. The winner of the competition category will win business facilities for their use for 6 months free of charge from the new commercial building, says Juha Kivelä, CEO of the PKO.

Last year, more than 160 ideas were submitted to the competition
Last year’s main prize was won by UCOT – Ultra Compact Optical Transceiver. The UCOT technology, which makes strong use of nano and silicon photonics and significantly lowers latency and promotes global everyday data transfer. The innovative technology is based on over 15 years of world-leading research and invention at Aalto University and the University of Eastern Finland.

– Start Me Up is Finland's largest business idea competition, measured by both the value of the prizes and the number of participants. In this year's competition, our target is to exceed 200 ideas, Svärd sums up about the competition now being held for the 22nd time.

During the competition, Business Joensuu will organise a sparring day on March 21, 2023, in which those who have already submitted their ideas or those who are still considering their participation can, if they so wish, spar their business idea and sales pitch on their way to competitive success. Through preselection, the multidisciplinary competition jury first selects 15-20 competition proposals to continue in the competition, from which 8-10 ideas are selected for the final competition aiming for the main prize as well as the prizes of other categories.

The competition jury selects the winners based on the novelty value, feasibility, as well as the growth and internationalisation potential of the business ideas. The winners of the competition will be announced in the award gala, on May 24, 2023, at Joensuu Science Park. An open-to-all sales pitch competition will be organised in connection with the award gala.

Instructions for participation
Start Me Up business idea competition February 1, 2023 – March 31, 2023.

In cooperation with:

  • Asianajotoimisto Surakka Oy Attorneys at Law
  • ED Design Oy
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • City of Joensuu
  • Karelia University of Applied Sciences
  • City of Kitee
  • Leitzinger Oy
  • Lipertek Oy
  • North Karelia Growth Fund
  • Oma Savings Bank
  • North Karelia Chamber of Commerce
  • Regional Council of North Karelia
  • Northern Karelia Cooperative Society
  • North Karelia Entrepreneurs
  • Riveria
  • Start Up Fund Joensuu

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