Alumna Aino Siiroinen from the University of Tampere, TAMK’s alumnus Antti Pitkänen, and student Elisa Lukin from TUT believe in the power of multidisciplinary and multicultural cooperation. At the beginning of March, they organised the Startup Weekend event in Tampere, with the purpose of bringing people together and setting up businesses in 54 hours.
The Startup Weekend project started last spring when Siiroinen came across the event concept in Oulu.
“I came across the event by chance and decided to participate because I had just graduated with a Master of Science degree in business studies and wanted to learn more about matters related to setting up a business,” Siiroinen says.
The event concept convinced the newcomer and, after returning to Tampere, Siiroinen started to think how the idea that had gained worldwide popularity could be brought to her hometown.
Tampere3 students have already had many opportunities to develop their skills in multidisciplinary projects across the campuses.
“In the Startup Weekend, we created a concept around a business idea in a multidisciplinary and international team consisting of a high school student, a researcher, an entrepreneur, and myself. The co-operation resulted in ideas that would not have materialised if all participants had the same background. I also wanted to bring such encounters to Tampere, where the startup culture has recently been well supported,” Siiroinen explains.
Siiroinen’s idea was supported by Elisa Lukin, a TUT student of industrial engineering, who had participated in a Startup Weekend event in Turku last autumn. Lukin’s team won the Turku event and is currently developing an application to identify and collect anonymous information about sexual harassment in the workplace.
“The Startup Weekend was an easy way to get into the concrete task of establishing a new business, which is often the biggest stumbling block in implementing one’s ideas”, Lukin explains.
Apart from doing concrete things, networks have also played a role. They have been useful for both organising the Startup Weekend and founding a company. Siiroinen, Lukin and Pitkänen, who all studied at different universities, initially met through the Y-campus, which promotes entrepreneurship and innovation at the Tampere3 higher education institutions.
“I noticed in the Y-campus activities just how much you can benefit from knowing experts in different fields. In the Startup Weekend project, the importance of networks has been emphasised when we have been able to use our contacts, for example, to acquire mentors and sponsors,“ Antti Pitkänen says.
Siiroinen's design expertise, Pitkänen’s background as an encoder and Lukin’s project management skills were tested in the Startup Weekend. The young people expect similar mixing of different competencies also in the Tampere3 project.
“This project has shown the great a power of communities. When I first thought about how to create the Startup Weekend event in Tampere, I could not imagine that I would find such a great international team with whom almost anything is possible. I would also like to have more of this in the Tampere3 project,” Siiroinen says.
Text and photo: Veera Reko