Successful pilot year for the HELSEED entrepreneurship programme – Investment negotiations commencing with several teams

The most promising startups can receive up to €50,000 in initial funding. HELSEED will continue in 2021.

The main objective of the HELSEED entrepreneurship programme, which was launched in spring 2020, is to inspire students to advance their business ideas as well as to teach skills related to drawing up business plans and pitching ideas. More than 20 businesses or projects took part in the programme by submitting their business plans for review by the end of September.

The investment team of the University of Helsinki, supported by Think Company representatives, reviewed the plans and invited eight teams to pitch their business ideas. Due to the exceptional circumstances, the presentations were given online at the end of November. Assessing the presentations were Chief Financial Officer Marjo Berglund, Chief Investment Officer Anders Ekholm, Think Company CEO Rosa Salmivuori and Deputy Chief Investment Officer Marko Berg.

“As the HELSEED programme in 2020 was a pilot, we didn’t really know what to expect. Now, at the end of the programme, it can be called a success. I’m positively surprised by both the business plans we received and the pitches we heard. I believe next year’s HELSEED programme will be even better,” Deputy Chief Investment Officer Marko Berg says.

HELSEED to be continued and developed

The HELSEED programme did not plan to select a winner, nor award prizes for the best pitches. Next, the University’s investment team will initiate negotiations regarding potential investments with selected startups or projects. The investment process is regulated by the University’s principles for investment activities and Investment plan. If mutually satisfactory investment terms can be reached, the University of Helsinki Funds will make an investment. The sum invested can range between €10,000 and €50,000.

“Hopefully, we will be able to announce our first investment by early next year,” Chief Investment Officer Anders Ekholm sums up.

Feedback on the entrepreneurship programme has been so positive that it will be continued in the future.

“The experiences gained in the inaugural entrepreneurship programme have been very positive. In fact, we have decided to organise a similar programme next year, with certain new elements added,” Ekholm says.

Further information on next year’s HELSEED programme will be released in early 2021.

Further information can be obtained from:

Marko Berg, phone +358 41 534 9893, marko.berg@helsinki.fi
Anders Ekholm, phone +358 50 526 4253, anders.g.ekholm@helsinki.fi

Read more

HELSEED programme website
Release from 12 October 2020:
HELSEED entrepreneurship programme for students attracts interest: Over 20 teams submitted a business plan
Release from 2 April 2020: 
The University of Helsinki starts investing in its students’ startup companies