Ohita valikko
Enter your business idea - Start Me Up business idea competition 2024
Got a business idea for North Karelia? Submit your entry now!

Competition info and participation

Stages of competition

  1. Apply for the Start Me Up 2024 business idea competition during the competition period, from February 1, 2024 to March 31, 2024.

  2. Business idea sparring is available on the Start Me Up Sparring session on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, both at Joensuu Science Park and online via Teams. On the sparring session, you can receive assistance in filling out the competition form and refining your business idea from Business Joensuu's business coaches.

    Sparring is free but requires pre-registration by Monday March 11, 2024 at 4 PM. Register for the Sparring Session here.

  3. The jury will commence its duties on April 2, 2024, and finish by early May.

  4. Business Joensuu preselects a maximum of 50 proposals from all competition entries submitted by the deadline for further submission to the competition jury, during April 2-5, 2024.

  5. On the first day of the panel, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, the jury will focus on the preselected 50 competition proposals, of which 15 to 20 business idea proposals will be selected to continue.

  6. On the second jury day, Thursday, April 18, 2024, the selected candidates will pitch their business idea proposals to the jury. From these, 8–10 ideas will be chosen to compete for the main prize in the final.

  7. On the third day of the panel, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, the jury will select the winners of the competition categories. If necessary, the competitors will be asked for more information.

  8. Winners of the main prize and other competition categories will be contacted during week 18/2024.

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

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.

Assessment criteria for the business ideas

The competition jury evaluates competition proposals and selects winners using the following criteria:

  • novelty value, innovativeness
  • feasibility
  • market potential
  • sustainability
  • vision for business development.

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 organizer 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.

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

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

  • AI can be utilized in generating competition proposals, but the business idea must be based on the competitor's own idea and its broader development, rather than solely relying on a proposal produced with artificial intelligence. The jury evaluates competition proposals thoroughly and takes into account whether the business idea is primarily based on an AI-based concept without the competitor's personal idea refinement. 

  • Participation in the competition requires completing and submitting the competition form in its final state. If you wish, you may upload files such as visual material to your business idea to showcase and enhance your idea to the competition judges. Permissible file formats include jpeg, jpg, png, word, excel, ppt, and pdf. Additionally, you can upload a three-minute video as an attachment.

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

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

  • The organizer 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, terms and conditions as well as instructions for participation and competition categories carefully.

  2. Participation is done by registering in the competition system and filling out the competition form:

    Go to the competition form

  3. Registration and idea submission: 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. Submit the application.  Once submitted, a competition proposal in the ready state cannot be edited. Similarly, you can add other ideas.

  4. You may also attach a supplementary materials to your competition application to clarify your idea, such as visual material. Additionally, you can attach a video of up to three minutes. 

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

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

  7. In addition to the main prize, the business idea competition has five competition categories. You can participate in any category. Only the student category requires participants to be students at the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, or Riveria. In the competition form, select the categories that best relate to your idea. Your idea can thus be related to multiple competition categories.

  8. All business idea proposals submitted through the competition system in the ready state during the competition period from February 1 to March 31, 2024, will be in the running for the main prize and may also be awarded in other competition categories.

Further information