Competition categories and prizes
In the Start Me Up competition, we are looking for future business ideas to promote entrepreneurship and business 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.
The competition encourages individuals, teams, communities and companies to innovation and creativity, by rewarding ideas and innovations that can be seen as having commercial potential to promote entrepreneurship and business which can be implemented at least partially in North Karelia.
The competition has six categories
You can participate in any category. 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.
Cash prizes are taxable income for an individual.
Main prize €132,500
The business idea that wins the main prize receives a prize of €132,500 which consists of the cash prize, fund investments and versatile expert services to refine and develop the business idea:
- Cash prize €20,000.
- Premises for a year, worth €5,000. Sponsored by Business Joensuu Science Park. The maximum size of the premises is 14 m².
- Expert services worth €7,500:
- Business development services for one year, worth €2,500. Sponsored by Business Joensuu Oy
- Product and/or service development consultations, worth €2,500. Sponsored by ED Design Oy
- Legal services, worth €1,500. Sponsored by Asianajotoimisto Surakka Oy Attorneys at Law
- Banking services, worth €1,000: Sponsored by Oma Savings Bank.
- Fund awards:
- Fund investment €50,000 from Start Up Fund Joensuu.
- Fund investment €50,000 from the North Karelia Growth Fund.
A prerequisite for assigned the main prize is the business ID.
The main prize must be used to develop the business idea in North Karelia.
Payment of the main prize is subject to the participant having a plan approved by the organiser on how to spend the prize money on business development.
The competition encourages students and researchers, as well as teams consisting of them, to utilise and commercialise their business ideas to create new sustainable business.
The University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Riveria Vocational School reward the best business idea or business model submitted by their own students.
Cash prizes for students:
- University of Eastern Finland €3,000
- Karelia University of Applied Sciences €3,000
- Riveria €3,000
Students awarded in the student category must study at the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences or Riveria.
Karelia University of Applied Sciences educates and supports start-up entrepreneurs in North Karelia. The Start Me Up business idea competition and the student series of the competition are an important way for Karelia to increase the vitality of the region. We absolutely want to encourage young innovators towards commercial success.
Heikki Immonen, D.Sc. (Tech.). Principal Lecturer of Entrepreneurship, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Riveria offers its students practical entrepreneurship studies and support, as well as guidance in the early stages of being start-up entrepreneurs. Our goal is student employment.
Anne Karppinen, Communications, Marketing and Sales Manager, Riveria
The Business for Kitee category
The competition invites Kitee individuals and companies to utilise and commercialise their ideas and business plans for creating and growing new sustainable business in the Kitee region.
City of Kitee cash prize: €5,000.
The scoring considers the originality of the idea, its novelty value, and its feasibility in Kitee. The prize will not be awarded if the jury finds that the business idea does not meet the above criteria.
The Business for Liperi category
The competition invites Liperi individuals and companies to utilise and commercialise their ideas and business plans for creating and growing new sustainable business in the Liperi region.
Lipertek cash prize: €3,000.
The scoring considers the originality of the idea, its novelty value, and its feasibility in Liperi. The prize will not be awarded if the jury finds that the business idea does not meet the above criteria.
The Research-based business idea category
The competition aims to attract researchers, research teams and research-based companies and organisations to utilise and commercialise their outputs and inventions in the creation of new business.
Cash prize: €3,000. Sponsored by Business Joensuu Oy.
Expert Services: Finnish patent application worth €5,400. Sponsored by Leitzinger Oy.
The Modern Karelian trade and service in the new commercial building at Joensuu Marketplace category
The Karelian Trade and Service category of the Northern Karelia Cooperative Society aims for vibrant business in the new commercial building at Joensuu Marketplace. The aim is to create new and experiential trade and service concepts that make the commercial building an attractive and memorable year-round meeting place.
The assessing and rewarding of the category will also consider the commercial preconditions and potential of the business idea to be a new North Karelian success story.
The competition category does not apply to restaurant, café, bakery and institutional kitchen activities.
The winner of the competition category will be rewarded with a commercial space at the new commercial building, which the winner will have for their use for 6 months,. The size of the commercial space is at least 14 m², in addition to which the commercial building's shared customer and background spaces are available.
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. The participant presenting the best pitch will be rewarded with a cash prize of €1,000.
The Business Joensuu Start Me Up working group will preselect the top 10 pre-registered participants for the final pitching competition, to be held on May 24, 2023.
The pitch can last 3 minutes, after which the jury will have the opportunity to ask further questions for 5 minutes. The schedule is tight, so you should carefully prepare your own sales pitch. If necessary, we will provide additional instructions for pitching.
Prepare the winning pitch and register for the open competition by May 10, 2023. The winner will be awarded a prize of €1,000.
By May 17, 2023, we will send an email to the participants who have been selected for the final pitching competition which will be held on May 24, 2023.
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
9:30–9:40 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.
This material has been produced as a part of the Joensuu city's innovation ecosystem agreement (EAKR) activities, which are co-funded by the European Union and the City of Joensuu.