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The winner of the Start Me Up 2022 business idea competition is a unique UCOT solution


UCOT solution – a microchip-based transceiver that boosts data transfer and shrinks the data centre to the size of a sea container.

The UCOT solution developed in co-operation between the University of Eastern Finland and Aalto University's applied research has been selected as the winner of the Start Me Up business idea competition. The advantages of the UCOT transceiver include more efficient data transfer, tolerance to extreme temperatures and the resulting reduced space requirements.

In the first phase, UCOT will launch the world’s only technical, microchip-based component solution that will enhance data transmission in data centres, quantum computers and telecommunications data. The UCOT solution provides revolutionary multi-wavelength simultaneous modulation in an ultra-compact silicon chip. The scalability of the technology has been tested during spring 2022, and the technology is expected to be in the free market by 2024 at the latest. For example, the UCOT solution significantly reduces the space requirements of data centres as transceivers operating at very low temperatures can be placed close together. Transceivers also produce significantly less waste heat.

– For example, the data centre the size of a football field currently being built in Espoo could be reduced by UCOT technology to the size of a marine container, and turned into a modular and transportable solution without huge maintenance costs or data lines. Thanks to the graphene used in the innovation, UCOT technology also works at very low cryogenic temperatures, which even makes it possible to transfer data centres to space in the future, says Researcher Pauli Turunen from the University of Eastern Finland.

165 business ideas were sent to the Start Me Up business idea competition, which was organised for the 21st time this year.

– The level of competition this year was very high. The competition saw a broad and highly versatile coverage of different ideas. The winning solution is unique on a global scale, says Business Coach Janne Pakarinen from Business Joensuu, the organiser of the competition.

The Start Me Up business idea competition also awarded students’ ideas. The €9,000 student prize was awarded to students from three different educational institutions.

The winner from Karelia University of Applied Sciences was Karelian Paju, whose idea was to convert the cleared biomass of wasteland into biochar on location by coaling and then tilling it into the soil. In addition, energy willow is planted in the cultivated areas that have been prepared, which efficiently captures carbon from the air and binds it to the roots and stems in equal measure. Energy willow can be used as raw material in a biochar plant or directly as energy chips comparable to good quality forest chips in a CHP plant.

Riveria’s proposals for a winner included the business idea of Idän Kehräämö (Eastern Textile Mill) for a locally produced, plant-coloured wool yarn. In the innovation that meets the needs of the textile industry, the use of domestic dyeing plants and microbes for dyeing on an industrial scale as well as the production and further processing of local yarns are new.

The winning idea of the University of Eastern Finland was a support piece for Butterfly Brick’s ice hockey goalkeeper. The patented ice hockey goalkeeper’s skate’s support block supports the foot in a healthier position when the goalkeeper falls on their knees in the so-called butterfly style. The hip problems of ice hockey goalkeepers have become more common over the past 5–10 years due to the butterfly style, which strains the joints of the leg. The support piece is designed to help the goalkeeper reduce the burden on the hip, thus reducing the risk of injury in the longer term.

The City of Kitee’s Kitee Award, worth 5,000 euros, was awarded as a new prize. The prize was won by Narskuttelu Oy’s business idea for a North Karelian xylitol strawberry jam and powder. The business idea brings domestic strawberry jam and powder made from North Karelian strawberries or other berries to the market. As the product makes use of entire berries instead of berry juice, it also enables the use of second class berries.

Start Me Up is an annual business idea competition organised by Business Joensuu that aims to find business ideas that have the potential to grow into new North Karelian success stories. This year, the competition was organised for the 21st time and the value of the main prize was over €40,000. The prize pool included €30,000 in money, €7,400 in expert services from Business Joensuu partners, and the use of €5,600 worth of Science Park premises for a year. The prizes were awarded at an event organised at Tiedepuisto Science Park on 18 May 2022.

Further information:

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

Pauli Turunen, tel. +358 50 352 4500,
Seppo Honkanen, tel. +358 50 590 3629,

Karelian Paju
Erkki Kukkonen and Niko Salovaara,

Idän Kehräämö
Anniina Nykänen, tel. +358 45 130 4211,

Butterfly Brick – support brick for a goalkeeper’s skate
Kimmo Rautiainen, tel. +358 44 260 8082,

Narskuttelu Oy
Pekka Hoppu, tel. +358 40 195 5770,

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