Startup events are important to all startups, and it is also the possible steppingstone especially to early and pre-stage startups. These kinds of events offer a possibility to present and develop business idea, above all you have a chance to meet the right people! Networking is crucial when starting something, without help it’s harder to reach the goals, might even be impossible. Step on board as many startup events as you can and step outside of your comfort zone, get outside of your comfort zone and broaden horizon! 

Have you ever thought about the possibility, that you might not be able to develop and carry forward your idea alone in your own office? Going out and seeing what is happening in one’s field of business is the key for success, not to mention you will have the chance to meet possible partners, investors, business angels and coaches during the event. Conversation with people gives you new perspectives and out of the box thinking. It’s always inspiring to speak to other enthusiastic people, not to mention competitors also.

Heidi Sjögren, mentor of *ship Startup Festival

We asked one of our beloved mentors, Heidi Sjögren, about the current startup scene and its presence in the Kymenlaakso region and in South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (also known as Xamk). Xamk is one of our biggest partners among Google, Cursor Oy and the City of Kotka.

How do you see the future of *ship Startup Festival?

I believe that *ship’s brand will continue to develop and get stronger also in our area. I truly believe that this *ship isn’t going to shipwreck after this spring’s storms! Especially now that Xamk has increased entrepreneurship studies and gives students the opportunity to see entrepreneurship as a goal and a target. We are constantly developing the path to entrepreneurship and Xamk’s own accelerator program is one of the key elements on that path.

Why should novel startup entrepreneur participate to *ship?

*ship is the one of the best startup events to early and pre-stage startups. The difference between *ship and the other events is its unique Mentoring Program. There you really have time to get to know the mentors and network possibilities are exclusive. Sometimes in bigger startup events pre-stage startups will be trampled underfoot by more achieved ones. It’s harder to reach the attention from the mentors, usually they have just a limited timetable and you are able to reserve a 15-minute timeframe, through meeting platforms. In *ship it’s guaranteed to spend time and develop the business with many mentors. You are getting help and guidance throughout the event. Also, I think *ship has a unique feeling and buzz.

What does startup and entrepreneurship activity mean to Xamk?

Importance of startup and entrepreneurial activity and it’s meaning to Xamk has been increased lately. It has been lifted one of the strategic goals. Firstly, as the year 2024 comes, 5 % of the graduating students will start their own business. Secondly, we have been adding the entrepreneurial studies to optional studies assortment. Also, other concrete actions have been made and we are planning a path to entrepreneurship -program and we are going to announce the details later, but in a nutshell the path to entrepreneurship provides steps to the students from first year to graduating towards entrepreneurship. Learn more.

How this kind of activity affects on South- Eastern Finland’s and whole Finland’s vitality?

It’s important to provide help to new businesses and business ideas. Even during the studies, students should have opportunities to get to know entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial attitude. Entrepreneurs are essential to the region. When there are many businesses, it will improve the image of the area and it also attracts other businesses and companies to come and start/have their businesses here.

Do you have greetings to new startups and mentors who are participating *ship for the first time?

Startup, you definitely should participate to this unique event, it’s casual and laid-back with great atmosphere. We have received good feedback from previous years.   

Mentors. I encourage you to participate and enjoy during this journey, you will be able to meet many enthusiastic teams and people throughout the event, and spending time in this event is relaxing and fun! It also offers networking opportunities to mentors, not to mention the international aspect of the great event!