Tag Archive | Entrepreneurship

At the Footprints of Nobel Winners – Cambridge Venture Camp 2017


We are three Master´s Degree students from Laurea Tikkurila where we are studying in a program called “Future Studies and Customer Oriented Services”. Last autumn we participated in a course ”Digitaalisen palvelun käyttäjäkeskeinen suunnittelu” and there we started to develop a business idea for a digital application called ”Big Steps for Little People”, and with that idea we won WeLive -designing competition early 2017. After that our teacher encouraged us to apply to Cambridge Venture Camp 2017 with our business idea. Cambridge Venture Camp is an international entrepreneurship boost camp by Laurea Entrepreneurship Society, LaureaES. We sent in our application and received invitation to be interviewed. We heard afterwards that LaureaES had received about 50 ideas/applications and only 8 of them were chosen to participate the camp. Guess what? We were one of them!

So that was a start of an interesting and motivating journey to learn about entrepreneurship and developing our business idea further. First there was a Finnish week at the end of March in Leppävaara campus which included lectures of pitching, team building, MVP (minimum viable product), external funding and finance. Week also included different kind of workshops for example regarding value proposition canvas. We also got to visit Microsoft Flux, where we had our first pitching competition. In our team it was Katri, who lost in lottery. Just kidding, Katri is a great speaker and for that reason she presented our idea.

The highlight of the Cambridge Venture Camp 2017 was the Cambridge week, that was organized during 9.-13.4.2017 in Cambridge. At the same time as we were there, Laurea´s BIB Bootcamp participants were also there. We had partly the same program with them. We stayed at Downing College in Cambridge University. Week included lectures from local professors and Finnish lecturers as well.

During the week we learned about Cambridge ecosystem, market research, marketing and business design, valuation, creating prototypes, funding possibilities for startups, lean business model canvas and also more about pitching skills. We had many workshops and we learned to use different kind of service design tools. During the whole week we developed our business idea further with help of all this. Days were very intensive and required 100 % attention the whole time. This was a great hands on way to learn basics about entrepreneurship and business idea development in a short time. All the lecturers were great and very professional. We also got realistic feedback about our business idea from lecturers and from other participants as well.


Trinity College. Photo: Katri Rantanen.

But it was not just hard work and studying! On Tuesday evening we had a fine dining dinner at Trinity College (picture above) with all the LaureaEs and BIB participants and also some Cambridge professors joined us. Trinity College is a very rich and highly appreciated campus. They have 32 Nobel winners and for example Prince Charles has studied there. Dinner tasted excellent and we had many interesting conversations during the evening with other participants. After dinner we had an after party in Vodka Revolution Bar. On Wednesday we went all together punting on the River Cam (picture below). Luckily it was a great weather and we had some sparkling and strawberries with us. Yam! We also had some free time in the evening to see the beautiful city and do some shopping. It is easy just to walk around in the city because distances are short. We recommend Cambridge to all, it will make you feel very intelligent (or not).


Punting on River Cam. Photo: Katri Rantanen.

During the whole Cambridge Venture Camp 2017, we had great atmosphere and team spirit. LaureaES did an excellent job organizing everything and making sure that we could focus on the essential – learning and development. Did you know that they do all this on their free time?

In overall this was a once in a lifetime experience. We encourage everyone to apply to next Cambridge Venture Camp with your own business ideas, in case you are interested in entrepreneurship or just learning more. As Isaac Newton, one of Cambridge University´s famous alumni said “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.”

Mervi Kleimola, Katri Rantanen and Niina Rinkinen

#CVC17 #WeLoveBusiness #LaureaES




NBF16 – my takeaways


Last year I attended Nordic Business Forum 2015 thru the live stream and it was an amazing experience. I was so stoked that had to buy a NBF16 seminar pass right away –  I wanted to experience it physically, to hear the keynote speakers live, meet people and be part of the buzz.

Now, after digesting the whole experience for 2 weeks, I’d like to share some of my learnings with you. The four things that are still on my mind are:

Do, do, do =  Only action makes inspiration come true, execution is everything

Choose to matter = Everyone of us is the change, don’t wait for it to happen

Attention on solutions = Solve a problem, don’t concentrate on egos

Values & Trust = Employees 1st, customers 2nd

The main themes at the Nordic Business Forum 2016 (NBF16) were marketing, digitalization and culture . Two days, almost 6,000 people, tens of nationalities – the event was bigger than ever. And well worth the investment in time and money. Full agenda can be found at NBF16.

On marketing and change

Marketing is a service, an emotion and about making a connection. Today mass anything is dead, even niche groups are big enough to target. Scott Galloway continues:

  1. The young and healthy have left the building (=tv). 74% would cancel Netflix if there were ads. The price of freedom – adfree world – is a couple dollars.
  2. Store is the number 1 factor influencing the purchase decision – next come search, CRM and social.
  3. Ratio, heart and genitals drive the decisions. Technology helps reduce pain when you’ve first identified the actual pain points.
  4. Car is a service, Google is a spiritual guide and FB’s for love, empathy and sharing.

His final words were that “lots of things are happening that are not good for us”. Privacy issues and tax evasion are threats if you’re not transparent.

Peter Diamantes asked which problem do you want to solve. Solve and share it – like Uber. Everybody has potential to become extraordinary problem solver with latest tools around like sensors, 3D printing, virtual & artificial reality, genetics etc. But how to the unlock passion to do this?  Unfortunately our governments are the slowest to change as they are the most linear organizations on the planet. But even they can’t regulate against change in the end. We – the people – are the change, in the past citizens have started the biggest changes. And what’s not possible today, will be possible tomorrow.

Gary Vaynerchuk started his keynote stating that we’re still grossly overspending on stuff that we’ve done before. For example by using tv ads to interrupt storytelling. Everything should be about creating value. Communication drives everything and you can only learn by doing. Only action creates results, not inspiration. Do, do, do – test, test, test – and do it again. Try out all the new stuff and think how this could help your business. Create a culture where your employees are better than the competition and figure out a firing policy as well.

This was the first time I heard the godfather of creativity, Seth Godin of the Purple Cow, live. For him marketing is all about creating experience. So are you’re creating something worth mentioning? He focused on the value of teamwork, building trust, co-creation and sharing ideas – a connection economy. Sounds familiar to a service designer.   A few phrases of his that resonated with me:

  • There no such thing as a writer’s block – just bad habits and reluctance to dance with fear.
  • It’s all about creating marketing together, being fully human. Sow ubana – I see you.
  • There are not enough bad ideas to find a few good ones.
  • Do you want to make art or be a copycat?
  • Will you to choose matter?

And of course I have to share his picture of bats having a cocktail party. Certainly made me think of these creatures in a different way.


Vineet Nayar on culture

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Advice for entrepreneurs: Is you business disruptive, adaptive and scalable?

Screenshot from Youtube

John Lee, the CEO of Wealth Dragons (Screenshot from Youtube)

At the Lifestyle Business Convention in London, co-founder and CEO of Wealth Dragons, John Lee gave a talk on “How to start a business and become an entrepreneur”. One of his topics was Why do 50 percent of all businesses fail in the first year?. The most important aspect for him was that these businesses all have the wrong business model.

How to pick the right business model?

According to John Lee, a potentially successful new business should be disruptive and adaptive.

– When you start a new business, it’s got to disrupt the market. When you look at Airbnb, it is disrupting the hotel market, Lee said.

– It’s also not the smartest nor the intelligent species that survives. It’s the most adaptive.

As an example he gave the deal which the then DVD-by-mail rental company Netflix tried to make with Blockbuster with the purpose of starting to stream videos online. Blockbuster rejected the deal since “no one will stream videos on their computer”. Netflix ended up revolutionizing the industry.

Lee also pointed out that the scalability of the business is very important. Your business model has to be scalable in order to create growth and value to the customer.

Advice to new entrepreneurs:

  1. Base your business model on your personality

Lee talked about the importance of the business model regarding your personality type as an entrepreneur. For example, if you are not social, you shouldn’t base your business model on service that requires you to be involved in meeting people. If you don’t enjoy uncertainty, don’t choose a market that is notoriously volatile. Lee also adviced all company founders not to hire someone who is like them. You should hire someone who thinks differently than you and challeneges you everyday.

Do the Humanmetric test to find out your personality!

  1. Network

Never be afraid to ask: has it been proven, who is your competition, who is your audience and what are the margins? Lee emphasized the importance of networking: if you are the smartest person in your network, you are going to fail. His advice was not to reinvent the wheel, but find someone who’s got the right model already and ask for their help and mentoring.

  1. Stand on the shoulders of giants

One of the most important advice Lee gave is for everyone to find a mentor. He described how early in his career, he made an effort to find established  entrepreneurs in order to pick their brain. But you shouldn’t limit yourself to only people who work in the same industry or market. Find any successful person and ask them these questions:

  1. What do they do daily?
  2. What are their thought processes?
  3. What do they eat?
  4. What do they read?
  5. What mistakes did they make?
  6. How do they overcome challenges?
  7. How did they get started?
  8. What did they learn?
  9. What ways did they find to accelerate the process?
  10. What AHA moments did they have?
  11. What keeps them going?


Text: Leena Salo

Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship

Innovation is all about making a difference in people life‘s, and it starts with an idea.

This idea needs to resonate with customer needs, create the appropriate market attraction, find the right value network to grow, justify its financial costs and last but not least have a potential return on the investment.

For that many aspects about innovative ideas need to be understood, starting with the person who take the idea from being an abstract idea to be a reality (AKA the entrepreneur) and what qualities he / she should have. What innovation means, and how it can create a real value for all of its stakeholders. What is the industry context we are going to work in and what are the market forces that we need to take for. How we are going to build a sustainable business model to support growing our dreams and business. Last but not least, how we are going to find a real market needs and get the appropriate customer understanding.

All these and more were the topics within this interesting course “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies” which was named #1  Entrepreneurship Course on Coursera by CourseTalk’s “Top Rated” MOOCs.

This blog post is an attempt to go through the course material in a moderate way and provide the key insights and knowledge that you can take with you within your entrepreneurial journey! So I hope you find it useful.

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Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Sustainable healthy life is basic human necessity. We all want to live healthy, stay health and to be healthy.

Healthcare is one of the aspects that can help us achieve the healthy living we look for as civilized modern citizens. We all imagine a healthcare system that is accessible, affordable, efficient with less human errors, less medication errors, better treatment / diagnostic methods and better ways of personalizing the whole healthcare experience for us as individuals.

That been said, the reality differ from the expectations! The healthcare systems today has many challenges that may seem paralyzing and very hard to overcome, but from an innovators point of view we need to see the elephant in the room, we need to see the opportunity for innovation in healthcare from the lens of these challenges, as always, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the return will be!

The Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) aim to assist individuals and/or small teams in the identification, development, and promotion of products, processes, and procedures that address the healthcare system needs, by providing a framework for innovation and entrepreneurship in healthcare.

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