Pathways — General Pre-Incubator

Welcome to Pathways, a new interdisciplinary early-stage entrepreneurship programme by the Helsinki Incubators. Regardless of what theme the problem you're looking to solve or idea you're aiming to develop falls under, we'll teach you step-by-step how to turn that vision into a promising business project.

The call for Pathways is now closed.

Introducing Pathways, the sole University of Helsinki pre-incubator for spring 2024. In this two-month entrepreneurship programme, we will guide you through the fundamental steps and essential skills of idea development and company establishment in Finland. Your concept, no matter how broad, will receive dedicated support, ensuring it reaches a stage where you can confidently share it with the world.

The free of charge programme is designed for University students, researchers, staff and alumni from all faculties but anyone from the Helsinki metropolitan area with a keen interest on entrepreneurship is welcome to apply!

Joining the programme is easy — your product or service idea doesn't have to be polished; in fact, you might not even need one initially. You can apply with just a problem you'd like help in creating a solution to, or research you're interested in finding practical applications for. The entry requirements are intentionally minimal, ensuring that everyone, regardless of the stage of their entrepreneurial journey, can comfortably join Pathways.

Pathways will feature weekly workshops delving into the essentials of idea development, pitching, business plan creation, and company establishment. Additionally, you'll have access to on-call advisors for insights, discussions, and answers, along with a multidisciplinary community of like-minded individuals to provide you with plenty of peer-support.

Please note that Pathways stands as the only pre-incubator option available for spring 2024. Explore the programme outcomes, application instructions, and more below!

Programme Outcomes

At the end of Pathways, you'll find yourself with all you need to choose which direction to continue your journey by having...

  • Gotten a more defined understanding of the problem you're trying to solve and a deeper understanding of the solution you're offering
  • Filled out a business model canvas and learned how to use this tool in the future
  • Either already conducted or made a plan for how to conduct market research or customer validation for your product or service
  • Mastered the basics of pitching – concisely and interestingly presenting both yourself and your idea while making others excited to hear more, while also knowing how to modify your pitch to match different situations and resonate with different target audiences
  • Connected with a community of like-minded people from a variety of backgrounds, gotten a deeper understanding of the University of Helsinki's innovation ecosystem, and learned how to grow your professional network on your own
  • Decided what the best next steps are, whether it's conducting more research, start testing your MVP, pivot your idea, or anything in between

And for the most advanced and enthusiastic teams seeking to further develop your solution, we recommend exploring our thematic, mentor-driven incubator programmes. Tailored to specific areas such as Deep Tech, AI & Sustainability (NEXUS), Bioeconomy & Circularity (Biosphere), and Social Impact (TREMOR), these programmes provide specialized support and guidance for your project.

The call for Pathways is now over.

Programme Schedule

Pathways will be held in-person and in English 1-2 times a week from 5 February to 27 March 2024, at various locations at the University of Helsinki's City Centre campus and elsewhere. 

During these two months, the programme will primarily feature expert-led lectures and workshops on a number of subjects, including defining your problem and solution, testing & piloting, establishing a business plan, and much, much more! You'll also get to connect with like-minded people in your fellow participants to give and receive valuable peer support, all to help you get all the skills and expertise you'll need to refine your idea to the best its potential. Additionally, you’ll receive the opportunity to receive expert advice and sparring from the programmes phenomenal advisors, who are often leaders in their own walks of life. 

At the end of the programme, you'll have the chance to take part in the programme's final showcase, presenting your idea and solution on stage to the world.

On-Call Advisors

A pool of talented on-call advisors, with know-how and expertise in key areas such as Deep Tech, AI & Sustainability, Bioeconomy & Circularity, Health & Pharma, and Social Impact, will be readily available to you and your fellow Pathways participants throughout the programme. Often leaders in their respective industries or avenues of business, our on-call advisors will only be one e-mail away and committed to help you with things you'd appreciate advice, sparring, or guidance on.

Please note that the pool of on-call advisors will keep growing during the call period, and more of them will be added later on to best suit the needs of you and your fellow participants.


Although we recommend applying with a team of at least two to make sure you get the most out of the programme's workshops, we welcome applications from both individuals and teams, regardless of their affiliation with the University of Helsinki. Students, PhD researchers, post-docs, staff, alumni, and enthusiastic citizens are all equally welcome to apply and come create the change they want to see.

As the programme is aimed at early-stage teams and individuals, the only requirement for applying is to have one of the following:

  • A problem you want to create a solution to
  • An early-stage business idea that you're looking to develop further
  • Research you're looking to explore practical, entrepreneurial applications for

To apply, please fill in the application linked below and be sure to include a document or video introducing your idea or problem. We recommend trying to define the problem that you are aiming to solve, what your solution (if you have one) is, and who it is for. The document can either be:

  • A text document no longer than one page
  • A presentation with up to five slides
  • A short, max. 3 minute video

Note! You do not need to have registered a company to take part in the programme or have any previous experience of entrepreneurship. However, do keep in mind before applying that the programme is held in-person, and that attendance is required for successful completion of the programme.

Once we've received your application, we'll review it and invite you for an interview, and you'll be notified in due time if you've been selected to take part in Pathways.

The application period for Pathways is now closed, but you may leave us an open application from the link below.

Obtaining ECTS for participation in the Pathways 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

Questions? Please contact

Santeri Tuovila, Project Lead for Pathways

+358 29 41 21207