Circulator 4.0 — Circular Economy

For those disrupting linear thinking. Our third ideas-to-solutions circular economy programme provides an opportunity to define global and local problems and test solutions. Apply to find your place as a leader, expert, and professional in the field of circular economy. Circulator returns for its fourth round in 2025!
About Circulator 3.0

Do you look at current consumer life-styles and linear product life-cycles and see the inherent sustainability problems that lie within? Do you want to help the world transition to a model that is conscious of the climate and biodiversity crises, seeking to create sustainable resource loops of reusing, refurbishing, and recycling?

We believe that the combination of entrepreneurship and circular economy are critical to the necessary regeneration of our planet. This is why we've created a programme focused on the road from ideas to sustainable solutions whether you will be a specialist, leader or entrepreneur in the future. We highlight trending topics from consumerism and smart building to biological regeneration and more.

The Viikki-based Circulator 3.0 pre-incubator programme has direct access to a growing professional circular economy community. Circular economy requires every player to understand the effect of their own actions in the loop of reusing resources. The eight-week, twelve workshop programme will focus on several areas of circular economy from production, consumer behaviours, all the way to the end of the material's life cycles. In addition, we'll cover a set of key entrepreneurial skills such as problem-defining & solution prototyping.

Three of our workshops will be organised together with our other pre-incubator programmes SÄRÖ/FRACTURE and Compass, to give you a chance to meet people specialised in deep tech, AI, and social entrepreneurship.

Circulator 3.0 will also give you the opportunity to be the first people at the University to try out a new AI entrepreneurship coach. The coach is developed by professionals in the field who'll also be supporting you during the programme.

The programme is powered by the City of Helsinki as a part of the Campus Incubators network.

Hasso – AI business coach at your service

During Circulator 3.0 we will be piloting the new Hasso AI business coach, and the developers of the tool will be participating actively in the programme to support your ideas and keep refining the tool based on your feedback. The tool will be there 24/7 to support you, and is built with large language models, meaning it will be able to provide you with answers and suggestions based on your idea and the data you provide it, such as prototype information, potential customer segments, and more. At the same time, Hasso will help you document and validate your progress and provide you support in getting your idea off the ground.

As this will be a pilot for another startup company, you'll be part of their journey as well, and see first hand how you too can pilot your service or product in the future.

Programme Outcomes

By the end of this programme, you’ll have acquired an understanding of the many dimensions of Circular Economy & entrepreneurship, as well as gotten to know the current professionals in the field and their interesting projects in Finland and abroad. This combination of knowledge & connections will allow you to become a valued member of the circular economy community and be able to bring your solution to reality. And, if you have what it takes and want to continue your entrepreneurial journey, you can apply to join more advanced Helsinki Incubators programmes. These can help you further grow and develop your solution, with the Biosphere incubator being specifically tailored for Circulator 3.0 graduate teams.

More specifically, your goal in the programme will be to develop a fully fledged business or activist idea with a complete first draft of your circular economy business model canvas. We'll learn how to identify your customers, their problems, your value proposal, and how to create and deliver that value within the frame of circular economy. If you complete the canvas, you'll be entitled to the Circulator 3.0 diploma, which can be exchanged for ECTS credits or attached to your CV. More importantly, you find friends within circular economy, who are all striving for action in sustainability.

Entrepreneurship is about taking initiative and putting your skills in practice. Hence the programme outcome depends heavily on your and your team’s contribution. The more you give the more you get!

I made so many lasting connections with people — it’s good to be surrounded by others going through the same experience!
Programme Schedule

Circulator 3.0 will be held from 7 October to 12 December, and will consist of one or two workshops a week. The main locations for the programme will be the Helsinki Incubators space located at the City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki, as well as the Viikki Campus Helsinki Think Company space. We'll also have events and extra activities elsewhere in the capital region and beyond. The programme will be held in English, and we'll meet in person during the workshops.

The third edition of the programme will have more of an emphasis on your personal freedom. We will learn and test the entrepreneurial methods together in our workshops. The amount you contribute outside the workshops will determine your success as a new leader in your field in circular economy. It's advisable to clear space in your calendar to make the most of it. We recommend you reserve at least three hours a week for the fieldwork, prototype building and associated reading per week. 

During the programme, we'll get to meet many of professionals in the field and learn & gain insights from them about the current state of circular economy, and at the end, you'll get to take part in the community showcase on 12 December, presenting your solutions to the wider ecosystem of circular economy players.



We welcome applications from anyone who's enthusiastic about creating change and willing to learn. You can apply with an existing idea or come create one with us. If you are wondering if your idea is related to the circular economy we recommend you take a look at the Ellen McArthur Foundation's definition of the subject here.

Individual applicants and teams do not need to be affiliated with the University of Helsinki to apply, what matters is your motivation and ability to attend onsite. Students, researchers, staff, alumni, and enthusiastic citizens are all equally welcome to join and come create the change they want to see!

We do not value ideas or missions by size or scope. You can aim to change the world with a scaling solution and operate globally with your company, or you can aim to impact locally deeply. Both are equally valuable in our eyes.

Do note that when going through applications, we will be giving high points to applications that are sent by teams. This is because entrepreneurship requires teamwork and diverse skillsets – and it's a lot more fun when done in good company! However, if you apply on your own or want to bring on additional members to your team during the programme, the programme is built to give you both the skills and opportunities needed to expand your team.

To apply, please be ready with a document introducing your idea. We recommend trying to define the problem you're addressing, the solution you're thinking about, and who it's for. This document can either be:

  • A one-page text document
  • A presentation with up to five slides
  • A short video no longer than three minutes

Note! You do not need to have registered a company to take part in the programme.

All applicants will be interviewed. Once you've submitted your application, we'll share a link for you to schedule an interview with us at a suitable time for you. Do note that interviews will already begin during the call period!

The call for Circulator 3.0 is now closed. The call for Circulator 4.0 will open in early 2024.


Obtaining ECTS for participation in the Circulator 3.0 programme

For bachelor's or master's degree students:

Participating in the programme can be registered in Sisu under the course code PHD-312 for a total of 5 ECTS. Please request a certificate of attendance upon the completion of the incubator programme, and contact for the registration of the credits.

Students must then co-ordinate with their degree programme to include these credits into their degree. It is advised to check with the degree programme beforehand if the credits can be included into the degree, and under what section.

The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Services does not guarantee that credits can be included in all degrees.

For Doctoral Researchers:

Participating in a pre-incubator programme can be included in your transferable skills studies under the course code PHD-312 for a total of 5 ECTS. Please request a certificate of attendance upon completion of the pre-incubator programme, and contact for credits registration.

Contact Us

Santeri Tuovila, Project Lead for Circulator 3.0

+358 29 41 21207