Kickstart is a business idea competition organized by Oulu Innovation Alliance that brings together the students of the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, University of Oulu and Oulu Vocational College. It provides students a chance to develop their business ideas, receive valuable feedback and get excited about entrepreneurship.

The first phase of the Kickstart competition was an internal final held within each participating faculty. From there, the best ideas from each faculty moved on the second phase of Kickstart, which was the Kickstart final. The final took place on January 11, 2018 at Njetworking Inn, a coworking space in the city center of Oulu. There the nine teams from the faculties competed against each other by pitching their business ideas to the panel of judges consisting of local business experts. The judges were Margit Heiniemi from Greenstep, Hannu Saukkonen from Markkinointi-Instituutti, Anna-Kaisa Rautio from Kaasa Coaching and Ari Takanen from Kielo Growth.


There was a wide array of ideas in the final, ranging from a mobile application for finding the authentic cuisine from your home country to a new payment device for buses in the Oulu region. The age range of the competitors was 16-31 years and the competitors were from Finland, Bangladesh, Luxembourg and Canada. Ukko Kumpulainen from gave a keynote in the final and shared his experiences of entrepreneurship with the audience.

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The 1st place winner of the competition was Ouas’ student team OSMO with the idea of a digital ordering system for the construction industry. The 2nd place went to Ouas’ team Monitoimiväännin – a new kind of a tool for the automotive industry. The 3rd place winner was OSAO’s Team Amis who had an idea of a phone warmer with a heating feature and a travel charger all in the same packet. The best pitch, the audiences’ favorite and Njetworking’s favorite received awards in the final as well.

The competition was successful with a positive attitude and great cooperation between the faculties. We wish all of the new business ideas the best of luck!

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Pictures by Sini Kekäläinen