"It Wasn't Just a Big Speech on a Big Stage, but It Felt so Close." — Social Impact Incubator TREMOR Concludes 2nd Batch

The University of Helsinki's TREMOR incubator marked the end of six months of innovation with the TREMOR Demo Day on March 26th.

The University of Helsinki Incubator TREMOR Demo Day that took place on March 26th provided a platform for 11 teams to showcase their business solutions to pressing societal challenges, making a significant milestone in their entrepreneurial journeys. Ari Huczkowski, Head of Innovations at Helsinki Incubators, set the stage for the event with an energetic welcome. "Is everyone ready? Let's get started! Welcome to the TREMOR Demo Day!"

The spotlight then shifted to the evening's keynote speaker, Otto Kari, Vice President & Head of Antigen Business Unit at Valo Therapeutics, Laboratory Director at the University of Helsinki, and Chair of the Council at Finnish Red Cross. Kari, known for his expertise in the field, stood before the audience. "Whether it be the government, my ventures, or NGOs such as the Red Cross, I’ve been guided by a yearning to influence and impact the society around me," he stated.

Kari delivered a call to action, “In the heart of every social entrepreneur is the belief that businesses can be a force for good," he proclaimed with conviction. "Social entrepreneurship is mainly distinguished from traditional entrepreneurship by not being primarily driven by a goal to generate revenue but to benefit society at large."

Then, attention turned to the panel of judges ready to evaluate the evening's presentations. Huczkowski presented Minttu Ripatti 🌻, the creative mind behind the first edition of TREMOR, Research and Development Manager at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and a Harvard-certified polymath. Accompanying her were Turo Numminen, Co-Founder at Sofokus Ventures and Angel Investor, and a familiar face at TREMOR known for his mentorship and expertise, and Alexander Anserud, a Technical Serial entrepreneur hailing from Sweden.

A Night of Impactful Entrepreneurship

Throughout the event, the TREMOR teams unveiled innovative solutions spanning diverse realms, from animal welfare to sustainable dining and language proficiency. Among these business ideas was CaptivATED MINDS, which aims to revolutionize mental enrichment for animals kept in captivity. Laura Feld, the founder, articulated the pressing need for environmental enrichment in zoos and sanctuaries, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the well-being of captive animals.

"We're on a mission to revolutionize play for animals kept in captivity," Feld declared passionately. "Mental stimulation is crucial for their welfare, and we aim to develop species-specific games and toys to meet their unique needs."

Another team, YKI Pass, presented a vision for simplifying Finnish language proficiency exam preparation. The co-founder, Lidiia Salo, emphasised the daunting nature of the YKI test, a language examination required for citizenship in Finland, and the lack of resources available to immigrants seeking to pass it. "Our ebook and physical flashcards offer a step-by-step guide to passing the YKI test," the founder explained. "With over 10 thousand downloads of our ebook and voluntary payments from 5% of downloaders, there's a clear demand for accessible and effective preparation materials."

In the aftermath of Nexus Angle’s pitch at the TREMOR Demo Day, Afsheen Ahmed, co-founder and MA student at University of Helsinki, reflected on the moments leading up to her presentation. With relief and excitement, Ahmed shared, "I'm less anxious than before pitching, and I'm actually happy that I got to pitch as one of the first ones because now I get to enjoy and truly like, listen and pay attention to all the other programme participants" As the evening unfolded, Ahmed marveled at the progress showcased by his fellow entrepreneurs, a testament to the collective drive and innovation nurtured within the TREMOR community.

When asked about her favorite aspect of the programme, Ahmed did not hesitate: "Definitely the support, from the mentors and support from the experts," Ahmed said. "And actually, also the opportunity to hear all the wise knowledge from the experts that were invited as guest speakers to our workshops. It wasn't just a big speech somewhere on a big stage and with a large audience, but it was so close, and we felt so close."

Looking ahead, Ahmed outlined her next steps after her TREMOR experience. "There's always more to learn, of course," she acknowledged. "But next, going by the wise guidance that we received during TREMOR, and continuing to reach out, contact, validate, prototype." As Ahmed's journey unfolds, her commitment to driving meaningful change proves the transformative potential of social entrepreneurship incubators like TREMOR.

And the Winner Is...

After much deliberation from the judges, Ivana Situm from FOG — Facts on The Ground emerged as the victor of the pitching competition. Situm expressed genuine surprise, recognising the exceptional quality of all the pitches presented. Her winning pitch, advocating for an unbiased platform to counter mainstream media's polarising narratives, resonated deeply with the audience. Situm's vision to lift the fog left by mainstream media captured the essence of innovation and societal impact of TREMOR.

In his final words to the TREMOR community, programme manager Pete Karumo reflected on the journey of growth shared by all participants. He emphasised the resilience and determination displayed by the teams, encouraging them to pursue their dreams with confidence. Karumo also underscored the familial bond cultivated within the TREMOR community, highlighting the collective strength and perseverance, or "sisu," that propelled them forward.

Karumo encouraged the attendees, saying, “For many of you, balancing work and aspirations of starting a business can be challenging. But I believe in you. We're a close-knit community, prepared to face challenges together. So, let's pursue those dreams.”

In closing, the programme manager expressed his immense pride in the participants' achievements and offered words of encouragement for their future endeavors. "Today I feel extremely proud. You were ready to go and now it’s time to reach bigger stages. Maybe bigger things await for you in the future! Come see us in our event space," he declared. "I’m really thankful for your support despite all adversities and good luck on your journeys."

Third Round of Applications Open for TREMOR

Are you ready to turn your innovative ideas into impactful ventures? The third round of applications for the TREMOR incubator programme is now open! Embark on a six-month journey of intensive workshops, mentor sessions, and collaborative projects aimed at honing your entrepreneurial skills and refining your business concepts.

With tailored mentorship and guidance, you'll have the opportunity to develop a clear value proposition, identify social issues aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and build minimum viable products (MVPs) to address pressing needs. Don't miss out on this opportunity to make a difference. Explore more and apply below! Plus, you can reach out to the TREMOR Programme Manager with any questions or inquires at pete.karumo@helsinki.fi.

More information

For inquiries regarding TREMOR or how to participate in the next batch, contact Pete Karumo, TREMOR Programme Manager. pete.karumo@helsinki.fi