Excitement was in the air as the second batch of the University of Helsinki’s SÄRÖ/FRACTURE pre-incubator participants met for the first time at the city centre Helsinki Think Company co-working space. Fifteen teams, picked from a pool of a whopping 35 applications, will spend two months learning about social impact entrepreneurship and building the foundations for their own solutions.
No time was wasted in getting straight to business. After the organisers’ welcome introductions, participants got their first workshop from Minttu Ripatti, project lead of the TREMOR social impact incubator, who talked about the importance of dialogue and psychological safety as the cornerstones of team building. As their first exercise, teams filled out team canvases about their strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, and hopes for the programme.
Of course, there was time for mingling, too. The space was filled with conversation and laughter as participants got to know each other over some snacks and drinks. An immediate sense of community was noticed by the participants themselves, too: “I really hope to share ideas with these people, and develop my idea on the basis of the interactions I have and the connections I make,” commented physics postdoc Boniphase Kanyathare, gesturing at the people grouped together in conversation. “I also hope that the structured nature of the programme will help me reflect on my idea, build on it, crystallize it, and make it better for the next stages of incubation,” he continued. Kanyathare’s solution focuses on implementing more technology teaching into lower levels of education, to help young students become better scientists, engineers, and problem-solvers in the future.
Likewise, doctoral researcher in media and communication studies, Kazimuddin “Kazu” Ahmed, is looking forward to sharing the experience with others: “I hope to not only learn from the programme itself, but my fellow participants, too,” he reflected. Ahmed joined the programme to build on his method of using participatory video as a means for marginalised groups and communities to tell and have control of their own stories. He hopes to make his solution financially self-sustainable, so that he wouldn’t need to rely so much on a model based on donations.
Project lead Mari Karjalainen had some thoughts to share, as well: “I really hope that the programme makes people realize what they’re capable of! I want them to learn something new and discover how to use their skills in a way that is meaningful to them. Also, through our workshops and team building, we want to emphasize the value of learning together. I’m honestly so ecstatic to see people connecting so well already!"
Get to know the participating teams here! SÄRÖ/FRACTURE will run until its final showcase on 30 May, when teams will get a chance to test their pitches in front of a crowd. Until then, a lot of learning is to be expected in various workshops and guest speaker events. There’ll be some sessions open to everyone — read more and register here to take part!