Ohita valikko
Start Me Up 2023 business idea competition
Had a thought? Tell us your business idea and you have the chance to win a €130,000 prize.

Start Me Up 2023 business idea competition

The Start Me Up 2023 competition participation period has ended. Many thanks to all participants!

Start Me Up 2023 culminated in the announcement and awarding of the winners at the Award Gala on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
Read about the winners here!

If you didn't submit your competition idea this year, don't worry - you can participate in the Start Me Up business idea competition again next year from February 1 to March 31, 2024!

Bring your ideas to light

Had a thought? 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 starting point may be a new product, service or operating model concept, or a technology for starting a new business or for growing a current one. Every idea is worth trying! 

The competition begins on February 1, 2023 and you can submit your ideas until March, 31,2023.

We welcome students, researchers, companies and individuals alike to participate in the competition! In addition to the North Karelia region, ideas around Finland, as well as the world, are welcome.

The competition has a record-breaking set of prizes. The value of the grand prize is whopping  €130,000 and the total value of the prizes exceeds €160,000!

All business idea proposals submitted by March 31, 2023 will participate in the pursuit of the main prize and may also be awarded in other competition categories.

The multidisciplinary competition jury assesses the competition proposals and selects the winners, based on the novelty value, feasibility, as well as the growth and internationalisation potential of the business ideas. After the competition, all participants can continue to refine their ideas together with Business Joensuu experts and partners.

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.

Roll up your sleeves, and make the idea light bulbs glow! Bring your ideas to light by March 31.
One entrant can participate in the competition with several ideas. You can participate in the competition alone or as a team.

Why should you grow with Start Me Up?

  • Business idea sparring and refining.
  • Business Joensuu and our partners support the idea's implementation into a sustainable business.
  • An award that supports the development of a business idea.
  • Channel for fund investments (grand prize).
  • Channel for media visibility.
  • Increase awareness in our networks and create relationships.
  • Above all, it is a long-term growth environment that enables synergies between companies, research activities, financiers and business life.
Participation instructions

Award Gala May 24, 2023

The winners of the Start Me Up business idea competition will be announced in the Award gala, on May 24, 2023, at the Joensuu Science Park, meeting room Temple of Challenge (building 3A, 4th floor).

Register for the Start Me Up Award Gala by May 17, 2023

Start Me Up Award Gala programme

9.00–9.30 Coffee
9:30–9:40 Opening of the day – Janne Pakarinen, Business Joensuu
9:40-11:30 Best Pitch competition: the pitches of the ten finalists to the jury and the audience
11.30–12.30 Lunch (own expense)
12:30–13:00 Keynote speech: VTT's expertise and role in encouraging and commercializing business ideas - Antti Vasara, CEO, VTT
13.00–13.15 Background of the Start Me Up and further development opportunities for participants in the competition - Janne Pakarinen and Kirsi Svärd, Business Joensuu
13:15–13:30 Start Me Up business idea competition 2022 winner announcement - UCOT
13:30–14:00 Coffee break
14:00–14:10 Announcing and awarding the winner of the Best Pitch competition
14.10–15.10 Announcing and awarding the winners of the Start Me Up business idea competition 2023

  • Winners of the student category: University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Riveria
  • Winner of the Business for Kitee category
  • Winner of the Business for Liperi category
  • Winner of the Modern Karelian trade and service at Marketplace Joensuu category (PKO)
  • Winner of the Research-based business idea category
  • Winner and Main prize of the Start Me Up competition

15.10–15.15 Closing the event - Tomi Haring, Business Joensuu

The registration period for the Best Pitch competition ended on May 10, 2023.

An open-to-all Best Pitch competition will be organised, on May 24, 2023, as part of the award gala of the Start Me Up business idea competition. 

In the Best Pitch series, the most convincing sales pitch is sought and rewarded with €1,000. The Business Joensuu Start Me Up working group will preselect the top 10 pre-registered participants for the final pitching competition. At the award gala, finalists present their pitches to the jury and the audience. The pitch can last 3 minutes, after which the jury has the opportunity to ask further questions for 5 minutes. Participation in the Best Pitch competition is open until May 10, 2023. We will confirm the participants shortlisted for the final pitching competition by email by May 17, 2023.

Further information

EN Co-Funded by the EU_Business_Joensuu

This material has been produced as a part of the Joensuu city's innovation ecosystem agreement activities, which are co-funded by the European Union and the City of Joensuu.