The spring semester of Demola Oulu celebrated its graduation event at Business Kitchen Patio this week. Six teams pitched their projects to a captive audience with a jury evaluating each project to find the best out of them. Excitement was in the atmosphere among the teams and coaches before the first team members were about to start presenting. Text & pictures: Janne Rautiainen

Large variety of know­how, wild ideas and willingness to make things happen. That’s the combination what makes a Demola­team. During the spring over 30 students from University of Oulu and UAS formed groups and started to work with cases given by companies. The five­month journey aims to give students an opportunity to learn crucial practicalities about creating new business ideas and how to keep voice about them in front of possible investors. Such terms as MVP (minimum-viable product), business model canvas and 5 minute pitch can sound a bit odd at first but during the journey they become an important part of students set of skills.

Team Campus Compass wants to replace University map with and app. From left Anniina Puhilas, Tommi Pekkala and Vesa Lind
Team Campus Compass wants to replace University map with and app. From left Anniina Puhilas, Tommi Pekkala and Vesa Lind

You don’t have to be a business student to get in because Demola wants to unite the knowledge from different fields of study. A team can consist of people who study marketing, engineering or education. And maybe the best thing is the teaching method because it uses a fresh mix of theory and practise. Usually academic students are used to reading course slides and handling the theoretical part of their studies, but Demola teams are able to turn theories into practise during their path. “The thing I like the most is that you can do a lot of practical things and at the same time we are responsible for the whole project”, said Niina Marostenmäki,a member of team which designed a learning game for disabled children.

It is true that students have a large responsibility over what they are doing but fortunately they are not doing things alone. There are two coaches whose job is to teach and mentor student teams to do their best. Facilitators Mia Kemppaala and Pekka Silven form the dynamic duo with whom every team will be able to develop their skills. And without forgetting to mention the case companies who provide help and even let the teams use their technology.

It wasn't a easy task for the jury to select the best team: All the ideas were excellent!
It wasn't a easy task for the jury to select the best team: All the ideas were excellent!

Now it is time to announce the winner. All the ideas were so well prepared and presented that for couple of seconds it was hard to decide which of them is the ultimate best. But the jury used their consideration and declared a winner: Team Kaleva! And even though just one got the grand prize, all of the teams are still able to license their products to the case companies. But before that it was time for some champagne and celebration.

Now it's the time to bake: The winning team got pizza stones!
Now it's the time to bake: The winning team got pizza stones!

After a short interview it seems that teams won’t let their projects collect dust in drawers, this was just the beginning. “We’ve been having negotiations to release our application for freshmen of University of Oulu in the beginning of Autumn term” tells Tommi Pekkala from the team Campus Compass which develops an mobile app based on the technology provided by IndoorAtlas which aims to help students navigate inside the University. After the product launch all university students could forget the annoying paper maps which look more like mazes than a source of information. 

One team got a "Ei pöllömpi idea" -award!
One team got a "Ei pöllömpi idea" -award!
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