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City of Helsinki, Aalto University, University of Helsinki and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences collaborate to find sustainable urban solutions

This is the first time that Helsinki and the three universities engage in incubator-related cross-organisational cooperation with the aim of drawing new experts and businesses to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and supporting and expediting the formation and early growth of fresh, research-oriented companies.
Urban Tech Helsinki

The Urban Tech Helsinki incubator, which focuses on clean and sustainable urban solutions and is managed the City of Helsinki and Aalto University, will strengthen its roster with two new partners as the University of Helsinki and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences join the project. 

The incubator will hold its first round of applications for the incubator on 30 June. 

The close cooperation between the City and the universities provides better opportunities for supporting the growth of research-based innovations into international business.  

Bringing together top-tier research and the startup ecosystem

“Together with its partners, Helsinki will build the best innovation ecosystem in the world and accelerate the process of solving global sustainability challenges. The Urban Tech Helsinki incubator brings together Finnish top-tier research, Helsinki’s excellent startup ecosystem and global challenges related to the sustainability of cities, which offer opportunities worth billions of euros to Finland and innovative Finnish companies,” says Santtu von Bruun, Head of Innovations and New Experiments for the City of Helsinki. 

Among many others, Metropolia’s RDI Manager Antti Laurikainen is looking forward to the possibilities provided by the incubator partnership. 

“The Urban Tech Helsinki incubator represents exactly the kind of innovation activities that we at Metropolia believe in and want to develop. The only way to meet sustainability challenges is to cooperate across organisations and divisions. The collaboration with the Urban Tech Helsinki incubator provides an interesting continuation for participants of Metropolia’s Turbiini incubator activities – especially teams focusing on real estate, construction, and clean and sustainable urban solutions."

Developing internationally significant innovation hubs

"The cooperation will provide the teams with new channels through which to access the City of Helsinki test beds and platforms. The incubator programme also supports us with our goal of developing Metropolia’s campuses into internationally significant hubs of innovation and business as part of the start-up ecosystem in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.” 

“The University of Helsinki is currently conducting a variety of measures that bolster the foundation for the development of research-based innovations and companies as well as the creation of world-class innovation platforms. As the leading research university, we support our students and research on the path of developing ideas into commercialised innovations and successful companies. The latest success stories based on our research include Nanoform and Mobidiaq. The cooperation with the City of Helsinki is close at each of our four campuses. The Urban Tech Helsinki project brings an important added element to this equation,” says Pekka Pellinen, Specialist at the University of Helsinki. 

At Aalto University, the management of the Urban Tech Helsinki incubator is handled by Aalto Startup Centre, which has more than 20 years of experience in coaching start-ups. “Through the incubator, start-ups can strengthen their business operations, utilise the expertise and contacts of our specialists and gain the training and tools for creating customer relationships and securing funding,” says Marika Paakkala, Head of the Aalto Startup Centre. 

Applications to begin in June 

The first round applications for Urban Tech Helsinki will be open 30 June–22 August. Each year, 15–20 start-up companies are accepted for the free three-year coaching programme, which includes an incubator period lasting at least a year. The aim of the first application period is to find companies from all areas of sustainable urban technology, which include sustainable construction, the circular economy, waste management, clean energy and mobility, and urban food production and well-being.  

For the companies selected for the programme, the incubator provides the opportunity to take part in the resolving the most substantial challenges faced by cities, using authentic urban environments and the City’s test beds and platforms. In addition to this, the companies get to network with organisations and companies focusing on research, development and innovations activities. The programme will also provide visibility in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area’s start-up ecosystem. 

Urban Tech Helsinki operates in the premises of start-up campus Maria 01 and on Aalto University’s Otaniemi Campus. It will also have close links to other innovation and incubator activities taking place on university campuses throughout region. “The active start-up community in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is a substantial part of the network of business- Studies have also shown it to be one of the most important success factors of the region."

"As such, we are now looking for ambitious start-ups to get involved in building sustainable urban solutions in the best environment in the world,” says Urban Tech Helsinki’s Project Manager Kaisa Ahonen from Aalto Startup Centre.  

Urban Tech Helsinki will organise its first info event for applications on 28 June at 14:00–15:00. 

Registrations for the info event 

More information: 

City of Helsinki: 

Taina Seitsara 
Special Planner 
[email protected] 
040 3347 048 

Aalto University: 

Kaisa Ahonen 
Project Manager 
[email protected] 
050 3503 573 

University of Helsinki: 

Pekka Pellinen 
Specialist 
[email protected] 
050 4784 307 

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences: 

Antti Laurikainen 
RDI Manager 
050 5844 867 
[email protected]

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