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

Competition info and participation

Stages of competition

  1. Apply for the Start Me Up 2023 business idea competition during the competition period, from February 1, 2023 to March 31, 2023.

  2. Business idea sparring available on the Start Me Up Sparring Day, Tuesday March 21,  2023 from 15:00 to 17:00!
    During the competition, Business Joensuu will organise a sparring day on March 21, 2023, where you can ask for help working on your business idea and train your pitch for the next stages of the competition. The sparring partners are Business Joensuu Business Accelerator coaches, Kirsi Svärd and Janne Pakarinen from the Start Me Up competition working group. 

    Read more about Business idea Sparring Day and register for sparring by March 20! 

  3. The competition period ends on March 31, 2023.

  4. The jury will commence its duties on April 1, 2023 and finish by April 26, 2023.

  5. Business Joensuu preselects 40 of all competition proposals submitted by the deadline for further submission to the competition jury, during April 3-11, 2023.

  6. On the first day of the panel, Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the jury will focus on the preselected 40 competition proposals, of which 15 to 20 business idea proposals will be selected to continue.

  7. On the second day of the panel, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, the remaining candidates will pitch their proposals to the jury, and 8 to 10 ideas will be selected for the finals to compete for the main prize as well as for prizes of the other categories.

  8. On the third day of the panel, Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the jury will select the winners of the competition categories. If necessary, the competitor will be asked for more information.

  9. The winners will be contacted at the beginning of May 2023.

  10. The winners will be announced in the award gala, on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at Joensuu Science Park.
    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 purpose of the competition

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.  Rewarding ideas and innovations are those that can be seen as having commercial potential to promote entrepreneurship and business which can be implemented at least partially in North Karelia.

Evaluation criteria for the business ideas

  • Novelty value
  • Feasibility
  • Business growth potential
  • Internationalisation potential

Publicity and intellectual property rights 

  • Proposals submitted to the competition will be handled confidentially at all stages of the competition.
  • The data protection of the participants in the competition is carefully attended to. Business Joensuu, the organiser of the Start Me Up business idea competition, is committed to protecting the privacy of the participants and that of users of its services. For further information, see the privacy statement.

  • Details of the winning business ideas will be made public.
  • If the participant wants to restrict publicity, they must make this clear in their application form.

  • The industrial property rights and copyrights of the competition ideas are the property of the person submitting the proposal. The participants are responsible for protecting any intellectual property rights associated with their business idea.

  • The competition complies with Finnish law.

Other terms

  • The winner of the student prize must be a student at the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences or Riveria.

  • The competition form must always be filled out if you intend to participate in the competition.

  • One entrant can participate in the competition with several ideas.

  • You can participate in the competition alone or as a team.

  • Members of the jury or their family members may not participate in the competition.

  • In the case of ideas sent in by employees of a company, the competition participants declare that they act in accordance with the Employee Invention Act.

  • Business idea attachments (prototypes/demos) will only be returned upon request after the competition results have been made public.

  • If you wish, you may upload a one-minute video as an attachment to your business idea to showcase your idea to the competition judges. Participation in the competition always requires the completion of the application form.

  • By submitting your business idea to the competition, you accept the competition rules.

  • The decisions of the jury are final and cannot be appealed.

  • The organiser of the competition will not accept any liability if a participant infringes on someone else's intellectual property rights. 

Register your business idea to the competition

  1. Read the competition information, iterms and conditions as well as instructions for participation and competition categories carefully.

  2. Register in the competition system with a competition participation form.
    To get started, create an ID by entering your email address and a password. After creating your ID, you will automatically log in to fill in your contact information and business idea. Submit the application. If necessary, on the sign in page, you can return later to edit the incomplete idea form and add several ideas.

  3. You may also attach a maximum of three minutes video to your competition application.

  4. You can use the competition form to submit your idea information in either Finnish or English.

  5. You can participate in the competition alone or as a group, with one or more ideas.

  6. The business idea competition has six competition categories, and you can participate in any category. All business idea proposals will be in the running for the main prize and may also be awarded in other competition categories.

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 (EAKR) activities, which are co-funded by the European Union and the City of Joensuu.