HELSEED is a student startup programme encouraging students to entrepreneurial path. Programme also aims to support and provide information to startup teams at different stages. Helsinki University Funds will make €10,000–€50,000 seed investments to most promising startups. The programme is organised by the University of Helsinki and Helsinki Think Company. Students can also earn 1-3 ECTS credits.
Highly appreciated HELSEED programme is organised again

HELSEED is a student startup programme for students and aimed at inspiring them to develop their ideas into startups. HELSEED provides students with information and support for entrepreneurial path, such as writing a business plan. The University of Helsinki Funds makes seed investments in the most interesting startups. The programme is ideal for teams that have an interesting idea, but have not yet established a company, as well as for teams who have already founded a company.

The first HELSEED programme was organised in 2020.  More than 20 teams participated in the programme, which also generated a great deal of interest among various stakeholders. So far, the University of Helsinki Funds has invested in two companies, €30,000 each. These companies are Evergreen Viherseinät Oy and Evexia Oy. The HELSEED endowment fund was established in early 2021, and the aim is to increase its capital through donations and return on investment. The first anchor donor was Tradeka Foundation with a donation of €50,000.

In the HELSEED student startup programme, students work on their business ideas or existing startups to develop a business plan. The Think Company team support the process, by organising HELSEED workshops that provide information and tools from refining an original idea and selecting a business model to developing a business plan and negotiating with investors. Participants can choose a suitable workshop or attend all of the workshops. The workshops are voluntary and open to all those interested in entrepreneurial skills, and do not require participation in the funding application process organised by the University of Helsinki Funds. Teams are welcome to work on their ideas,business plans and pitches in the Helsinki Think Company facilities when they are open. Helsinki Think Company has facilities at all University of Helsinki campuses. Due to the closure of premises as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, please check the Helsinki Think Company website for facility opening hours.

Teams wishing to aim at obtaining a seed investment must submit their business plan by 31 October 2021 to helseed@helsinki.fi. The HELSEED jury will assess the business plans and provide the teams with feedback. The teams with the most convincing business plans will be asked to prepare a short pitch and deliver it to the jury by the end of November. The University of Helsinki Funds will invest €10,000–€50,000 seed funding in the most promising startups. The terms of funding will be agreed separately.

Students can earn 1-3 ECTS credits in conjunction with the HELSEED programme. One ECTS credit can be earned for an acceptable business plan (in one team a maximum of five students can earn credits). Team members of teams that are invited to present orally (pitch) can earn one ECTS credit for an acceptable presentation. Team members of teams that are invited to investment negotiations can earn one ECTS credit for an acceptable performance in the negotiations and related due diligence process (earning credits does not require or guarantee an investment from the Helsinki University Funds).


Autumn workshops – Helsinki Think Company

21 September 2021 - Creating a business plan
5 October 2021 - Investor's insights
12 October 2021 - Startup legalities + Q&A
19 October 2021 - Pitch clinic

Further information on the workshops will be posted on the Helsinki Think Company website.

Business plans must be submitted by 31 October 2021, 23.59 local Helsinki time.

Assessment of business plans as well as feedback.

HELSEED pitch deck presentation in late November

Rules and guidelines
  • The programme is open to teams with at least one attending undergraduate or postgraduate student at the University of Helsinki.
  • Business plans must be submitted as PDF files by 31 October 2021, 23.59 local Helsinki time to helseed@helsinki.fi. The email message and the attached material must contain information (name, email, phone and, if relevant, University of Helsinki student number) on all team members. The contact person submitting the business plan must be a student of the University of Helsinki.
  • The business plan (max. 10 pages) can be written in Finnish, Swedish or English. The business plan is compulsory, but optional material includes, for example, a pitch deck and/or a link to a pitch video.
  • The HELSEED team will provide feedback on all business plans submitted. Typically, business plans include the following information, which will also be assessed: a description of the problem the company/the company's product will address; the company’s product/solution and its competitive advantages; the market; the competitors; the business model; the strategy for launching the product/service in the market; the team; forecasts; previous and upcoming milestones; the usage of any funds invested; etc.
  • Based on the business plans, the top teams will be invited to present their idea/startup to the HELSEED jury. For this purpose, the teams must prepare a pitch deck (max. 10 PPT slides).
  • The seed investment of €10,000–€50,000 can only be made in a limited liability company established in Finland (“osakeyhtiö / aktiebolag”). However, negotiations can also be undertaken with projects at the idea stage to explore the possible timing of an investment once the project progresses and the startup has been established.



Fur­ther Infor­mation

Marko Berg, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, University of Helsinki
Tel. +358 41 534 9893

Katasiina Tonttila, HELSEED programme manager, Helsinki Think Company
Phone: +358 50 371 6844

Questions & Answers

Are there any additional requirements regarding the one attending undergraduate or postgraduate student at the University of Helsinki? Could an established company hire one student from University of Helsinki and seek investment based on HELSEED programme?

  • HELSEED programme is made for student-led startups and business ideas. At least one attending student from University of Helsinki needs to be a key member of the startup team, and hence merely hiring one does not suffice for seeking investment through HELSEED programme.

Are Think Company’s workshops linked to possible ECTS credits?

  • Think Company’s workshops are completely voluntary and, although they possibly can help the team to earn ECTS credits, the workshops are not a requirement. However, we encourage teams to take part in the workshops, as they support the creation of a business plan.

Can I participate in the programme on my own? 

  • You can participate on your own, but we recommend that you find at least one other enthusiastic participant for your team. Founding a startup on your own is a big undertaking.

I will graduate before September. Can I still participate?

  • If you are an attending student of the University of Helsinki at the time of submitting the business plan, you can participate in the programme.

Do I have to pay a fee to participate?

  • The programme is free of charge for all participants.

I am an exchange student at the University of Helsinki. Can I participate?

  • If you are an attending student of the University of Helsinki at the time of submitting the business plan, you can participate in the programme. Please note that, in accordance with the University’s principles of responsible investment activities, the University generally invests only in startups registered in Finland.

Does the programme have an age limit?

  • The programme has no age limit.

Can I participate in the programme if I am unable to attend the workshops?

  • Participation in the workshops is recommended but voluntary.

How can Helsinki Think Company help me?

  • Helsinki Think Company organises the HELSEED workshops indicated in the timetable of the HELSEED programme. These workshops offer support for developing the original idea and working on the business plan. You can also find good coaching opportunities through Think Company, both from the other teams and from Think Company staff. You can contact Think Company, for example, by email: host@thinkcompany.fi. When the exceptional circumstances associated with the Covid-19 pandemic have ended, Think Company will also offer work facilities to the teams. Please check the Think Company website for the current opening hours.

What kind of ideas or startups are suitable for the programme?

  • Any idea that can be developed into a startup is suitable. Although startups are often technology oriented, we are sure that other ideas can also serve as the basis for a successful startup. The initial funding provided by the University of Helsinki Funds is an investment, which means we can only invest in companies seeking to make a profit. However, the HELSEED workshops organised by Think Company are open to all those interested in the topics.

Is the funding an investment or a form of financial support?

  • The funding is an investment of capital which is subject to specific terms and conditions. In exchange for the investment, the University of Helsinki Funds receives a number of shares in the company, as separately agreed.

What terms and conditions does the investment include?

  • The terms and conditions are negotiated separately, as is typical of investments. In connection with the investment, the University of Helsinki Funds and the startup team (and any other investors/owners) conclude a mutual shareholder agreement.

Can I send you an idea/pitch as a video to provide a better description?

  • You can send us a pitch video, but it is not compulsory. However, a video cannot replace the written business plan, which must be submitted by 31 October 2021.

Will the presentation session of pitches/business plans be held on Zoom/Teams?

  • Yes, the purpose is to organise the session on Zoom/Teams.
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