Tiina Nyman had just begun her business studies when she visited Startup Sauna for the first time during her orientation week one and a half years ago. She was immediately inspired by the community, and since then has been part of the organising teams for various startup events, including Slush, Junction, Day for Failure, and FallUp.
Now she has been elected President of Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, Aaltoes, for the year 2018. Aaltoes is the most active student-led entrepreneurship community in Europe, and it is behind successful startup concepts and events such as Slush, Junction and Startup Sauna. Aaltoes’ activities are based on a genuine interest in promoting entrepreneurship. What are they currently planning?
'We noticed we had a lot of events that inspire students about entrepreneurship, but there was not so much on offer for the ones who really wanted to set up a startup of their own,' says Nyman. 'This is why last year we launched the Kiuas Accelerator programme, to which we are now giving our full concentration.'
'Kiuas offers students a concrete place they can walk into with their business idea. The teams chosen for the programme get both premises and support from our broad network of coaches and partners from Startup Sauna,' she says. For those who are wondering about the name, ‘kiuas’ is the Finnish word for the special rock stove in the sauna that you throw water on.
In addition, Aaltoes wants to increasingly cooperate with Aalto University in terms of its curriculum. This way students who have designed prototypes, for example, could continue developing their ideas with the support of Aaltoes.
Entrepreneur’s responsibility and freedom
'Finland is a great place to start a company,' rejoices Nyman. 'The market is indeed small, but on the other hand this is a safe environment in many ways. If you fail, corrective actions can quickly be taken. This makes it easier for students to try their hand at entrepreneurship.'
Nyman sees that entrepreneurship is a unique opportunity for students to learn completely different skills during their university studies. She became interested in the topic while working for a private business before starting her studies at Aalto University. At work, she was given a lot of responsibility, but also the freedom to talk about her own ideas and transform them into real projects. The opportunities for learning and developing herself are the reasons why she wants to continue working at Aaltoes.
'Courage is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of all the things this community has given me. The first ever fund-raising call I made to a company was the scariest thing I could imagine, but since then I have been part of so many things,' Nyman says laughing. 'I’ve learned about the startup scene and entrepreneurship by participating in various projects, as well as through working with our extensive alumni network. When I think how much this community has given me, I clearly understand why the members of this network want to help and give so much back.'
Nyman encourages all the students who are interested in Aaltoes to join the events or contact the team.
'You don’t need to have any special skills beforehand – only the willingness and the spirit to do things,' she says. 'When you are part of a team that arranges events, you learn so much. Many have said that it could even be compared to trying out entrepreneurship in a safe way. You get a lot of responsibility, and in case things don’t go as planned the team will at least benefit from a great learning experience.'
Kiuas accelerator and incubator
HEL Tech, monthly technology event
FallUp, entrepreneurship event for students
Dash, hackathon for design-thinkers
President for 2018, Aaltoes
+358 50 412 7571