Elevating Social Innovations at the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE 3.0 Final Showcase

The SÄRÖ/FRACTURE 3.0 Final Showcase was a celebration of growth and the power of social innovations. From entrepreneurial ideas focused on combating hate speech to tackling challenges in data regulation, the range of projects demonstrated the depth of the participants' innovative thinking.

In a culmination of weeks of intensive ideation, collaboration, and entrepreneurial spirit, the University of Helsinki and Helsinki Think Company hosted the third edition of the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE Final Showcase on December 13th. The event marked the endpoint of the third batch of a transformative pre-incubator programme that saw participants evolve their impactful ideas, refine their pitches, and navigate the challenging landscape of presenting their early-stage social innovations to the world. 

We celebrated invaluable perspectives as we welcomed Cansu Pylkkänen as a Showcase presenter, as well as our esteemed judges: Juuli Hilska, Sociologist; Semih Ersöz, CEO of Sopu Academy; and Henna Pursiainen, Sustainable Careers & Alumni Relations Manager at Aalto University. The success of the event was not merely measured in the quality of the pitches but also in the sense of community and collaboration that filled the energy of the showcase. Alumni, programme organisers, and experts gathered to observe the outcome of the participants’ hard work and dedication.  

In the words of Jani Lehto, Team Lead at Meilahti's Helsinki Think Company and Project Team Member, “It’s genuinely thrilling! Everyone has demonstrated tremendous growth, and it’s truly heartening,” he explained, “I served as the coach for the pitching workshop, witnessing their remarkable improvement from their initial pitch, through the semifinals, up to this very moment.”


"Be Active in Sharing Your Ideas; You’d Be Surprised How It Attracts Interest"

Reflecting on the journey of past participants, Mari Karjalainen, the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE Programme Manager, shared feedback that transcended mere satisfaction. “Over the course of just two months,” Mari emphasised, “participants showcased their ideas on stage—a challenging task under the constraints of a brief 3-minute pitch, facing bright lights and increasing pressure. My heartfelt congratulations to each one of you for an outstanding performance.”

Karjalainen underscored the diversity that characterizes the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE pre-incubator, highlighting how participants from different backgrounds and countries contribute to the richness of ideas developed collaboratively. “It’s a testament to the essence of our programmes—where the most innovative ideas emerge through collective effort.”

Her message to this batch of participants was clear: “Never underestimate your skills and backgrounds. Your uniqueness adds value, and if you find yourself without a team, fear not. The numerous alumni events and programmes will provide ample opportunities for collaboration. Be active in sharing your ideas; you’d be surprised how it attracts interest.”

“-As I think back on the diverse ideas shared,” Karjalainen continued, “The potential I see in them and your skills fills me with pride, I genuinely hope this experience has been rewarding for your own professional journey.”

“Our Journey from Academia to this Point Represents a Profound Change of Perspective"

The SÄRÖ/FRACTURE team members Niina Halonen and Olli Sarvi from AldeaFlow, expressed their thoughts on a remarkable journey too, emphasising the rigorous yet rewarding nature of the pre-incubator. “The programme involved substantial exercises each time. However, what truly stood out was the consistently supportive overall atmosphere,” as Sarvi explained.

The team’s journey was characterized by a profound shift in mindset, as Halonen, a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, explained, “Our journey from academia to this point represents a profound change of perspective. Our project is not only about academia anymore; it’s about embracing a business-oriented approach that emphasises impact and support even in the face of challenges.”

In line with this transformation, Halonen noted, “The collective aspect holds immense significance. This community is an innovative one, unlike what we’ve encountered before. This has proven invaluable—both in terms of the support we received and the meaningful connections we made. A sincere thank you for that.” This community-centric approach is a cornerstone of our SÄRÖ/FRACTURE pre-incubator, creating an environment where participants learn not only from advisors but also from each other.

"Entrepreneurship Feels More Approachable"

In the vibrant tapestry of the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE Final Showcase, Cin Liu’s journey unfolds as a testament to the transformative impact the programme has had on both her and her business partner, Ia Kawasaki. Their platform, EmoPotato, is aimed to combat cultural stigmas around expressing emotions.

Liu began by reflecting on their entry, both as international MA students of Changing Education at the University of Helsinki, stating, “Yes, it has been an incredibly positive and supportive experience for me. Coming in with limited knowledge about entrepreneurship, I felt quite intimidated initially.”

Addressing a common misconception about entrepreneurship, Liu emphasised, “There’s this perception that you need to be very social to thrive in this field. However, now I realize it’s much less daunting than I thought.” For Liu, the support received has been a game-changer, and now moving forward in their careers, entrepreneurship feels more approachable, and the entire process of developing an early stage business idea has “a nice rhythm to it,” Liu explained.



Expressing gratitude for the multifaceted support, Liu appreciated the programme, saying, “for various reasons—the name, the guidance from advisors, and the overall positive environment. It's been a truly enriching experience."

In a final sentiment, she shared, “It’s been very nice. I highly recommend trying this if, like me, you approached it with some trepidation.” Diving into the entrepreneurial world through the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE programme hasn’t been as frightening for Liu. Her experience aligns with other participants, contributing to the rich narrative of empowerment, and breaking barriers in the entrepreneurial landscape.

As the curtain fell on the Final Showcase of the third batch of our social impact pre-incubator, it left behind an everlasting mark — a dynamic celebration of innovation, providing a promising glimpse into the future for these emerging entrepreneurs.

SÄRÖ/FRACTURE is the University of Helsinki's 2-month pre-incubator programme for early socially impactful ideas designed to help teams seeking to do good through entrepreneurship get the necessary support to turn their solutions into successful ventures & NGOs.

The programme is powered by Helsingin kaupunki – Helsingfors stad – City of Helsinki and Helsinki Think Company and will return for a fourth batch in late 2024. For more information on this or any of our other programmes, please visit helsinki.fi/incubators