InnoFood is an international and inspirational food innovation event to be held in Seinäjoki on 7th-8th of September 2023. Key note speeches, successful entrepreneurial cases, startups pitches, panel discussions and networking will all happen during two intense days. Learn, get inspired, discuss and connect - free of charge!

InnoFood connects researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, startups, companies and everyone who wants to get inspired on topic related to food, food innovation and entrepreneurship.

The two-day event aims at spreading and supporting an innovative food ecosystem based on fast forward thinking and actions. An additional aim is to sustain South Ostrobothnia - a region with a strong food identity - in becoming the epicenter of Europe’s food entrepreneurship.

InnoFood was hosted for the first time in 2022 with the name Innovation & Startup Days. The event is organized by Ruralia Institute/University of Helsinki in collaboration with Into Seinäjoki and is funded by Ruralia Institute/University of Helsinki, University Consortium of Seinäjoki and the Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia. 

InnoFood is part of Food Days.



9.00 Coffee and snacks

9.30 Welcoming
Silvia Gaiani, Senior Researcher, Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki
Sami Kurki, Director, Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki

9.40 Welcoming
Jaakko Kiiskilä, Major of Seinäjoki


9.55 Brilliant Failures: Innovating Together, Failing Together, Learning Together
Paul Iske, Professor in Open Innovation, School of Business and Economics, University Maastricht and Founder of the ‘Institute of Brilliant Failures’, The Netherlands

10.15 Winner's Mindset to Convert Your Dreams to Reality - How I closed a deal with a celebrity investor Gary Vaynerchuk after he first said no
Jan Ameri, Executive Chairman, ArcticStartup and Arctic15, Finland

10.35 The Integral Ecology Model: an Algorhitm of Longevity
Sara Roversi, Future Food Institute, Italy

10.55 Collaboration - More than the sum of parts
Henrik Yli-Seppälä, Founder partner of Concilio Oy, strategist and business developer

Video Message
Lauri Reuter, Nordic Foodtech VC, Finland

Questions & Answers

11.30 Lunch break 

12.30 Nordic Cooperation for Green, Competitive and Socially Sustainable Food Systems
Jonathan Eng, Project Leader for Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems at the Nordic Council of Ministers


12.50 Introducing the New ICE Age: North on the Map - Center of the Future!
Maja Kruuse, Founder of ICE Innovation Festival in Kirkenes, Norway

13.05 New Nordic Way – A Movement Fueled by Food
Ronny Eriksson, Entrepreneur, New Nordic Way

13.15 Blue Lobster: Up-and-downs of a Startup in the Fishing Industry
Nima Sophia Tisdall, Co-founder of the Blue Lobster and founder of Nordic Makers VC, Denmark 

13.30 Food and Green Energy Innovation Opportunities in the North
Sveinn Aðalsteinsson, Managing Director Orkidea, Iceland

Questions & Answers

13.55 Coffee break


14.25 Digital Innovation Hub Services Boosting Growth
Annimari Lehtomäki, Chief Specialist, Bioeconomy Business Accelerator, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland

14.45 Data Economy Enhancing Sustainability and Innovation in Food Systems
Hannu Haapala, Principal Researcher, Smart BioEconomy at JAMK BioEconomy Institute, Finland

Questions & Answers


15.15 Support for Innovation and Startups 
Conversation by:
Mari Sandell, 4InnoPipe project, University of Helsinki
Tuomas Pollari, Project manager, University of Helsinki
Marie Ammann, Business Creation Manager, EIT Food

15.45 Impact of Regions in Food Systems. The Case of South Ostrobothnia
Taru Mäki, Research and Development Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences

16.00 Food Innovation at VTT
Mirva Lampinen, Co-Creation Manager at VTT

Quick break

16.15 Panel Discussion on the Future of Food in South Ostrobothnia and Beyond
Mirva Lampinen, Co-Creation Manager at VTT
Laura Forsman, Manager at Viikki Food Design Factory
Elena Inguglia, Business Developer Manager at Helsinki Innovation Services
Sanna Joensuu-Salo, Principal Lecturer (Entrepreneurship Research) at SeAMK 
Ville Simola, Chief Executive Officer at Maria01
Terhi Välisalo, Development Expert, ProAgria Etelä-Pohjanmaa ry

Moderator: Jarkko Niemi, Professor, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) 

17.30 Opening of the Photo Exhibition
Presentation by Katja Juhola, ISEAS Finland

18.00 –  Cocktail reception in Frami 

Moderators of the day: 
Sami Kurki
, Director of Ruralia Institute
Laura Forsman, Manager at Viikki Food Design Factory

8.15 Startup Breakfast with:
Nima Sophia Tisdall, Blue Lobster and Nordic Makers VC
Sanna Kankaanpää, Development Manager, Into Seinäjoki
Aline Santa Izabel, Innovation Ecosystems & Partnerships Manager, Compare Foundation

- Conversation together with startups and the audience while enjoying breakfast -

9.30 Innovation and Internationalisation in the Food Market
Conversation by:
Antti Saartenoja, Innovation Director, Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia
Esa Wrang, Head of Food Programme, Business Finland
Laura Forsman, Viikki Food Design Factory Manager
Ebra Gohari, Senior Business Development Consultant and Partner, Concilio Oy

10.00 Creating an Innovative Food Brand
Jarkko Elola, Sales Manager & KAM Retail, Oatly

10.20 Quick Break

10.30 Pitches by Startups

EIT Food Startups:
- EOD Europe, Timo Kantola
- Biovaaka Oy, Jukka Hänninen

Germinator Programme Startups - Viikki Food Design Factory, UH:
- MyShroom, Jussi Hildén
- Resource Pulling, Surendra Pradhan
- Nuts about Nuts, Sara Ahlberg
- Acornia Greentech, Karoliina Iso-Kokkila
- Kitsain, Ville Karinen

South Ostrobothnian Startups:
- Häjy Distilling Company, Terhi Mäkelä 
- Pure Garden, Vuokko Yli-Kesäniemi 

Marie Ammann, Business Creation Manager, EIT Food
Jan Ameri,  Executive Chairman, ArcticStartup and Arctic15
Marja Vainionpää, Business Development Manager, Into Seinäjoki
Nima Sophia Tisdall, Blue Lobster and Nordic Makers VC

- CLOSING AT 12.00 -

Get to know some of our speakers
More information

InnoFood is hosted in Seinäjoki, Western Finland. 

The event is located near the city center in Frami's B-building. Frami is an office and event center and also the home of University Consortium of Seinäjoki and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

You can reach Frami B by 15 minute walk from Seinäjoki train station straight via Kalevankatu and then Kampusraitti bridge across the river. Frami B is the nearest building after the bridge with a glass wall.

For cars Frami area has paid parking areas in parking hall P-Frami (Kampusranta 9), Seinäjoki Areena (Tiedekatu) and in front of Frami D (Tiedekatu 2).

Address of Frami B:
Kampusranta 9
60320 Seinäjoki

We have reserved rooms for our speakers in Scandic Seinäjoki.

Other options in Seinäjoki are for example:

Hotelli Alma
Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna
Hotel Sorsanpesä
Original Sokos Hotel Lakeus
Hostel Bjorkenheim

Seinäjoki is the centre of the province of South Ostrobothnia. The province is one of Finland’s key areas for entrepreneurship and agriculture. For years, Seinäjoki has been named the most entrepreneurial friendly city in Finland. Seinäjoki has approx. 65.000 inhabitants.

Seinäjoki is known for its summer events, entrepreneurial spirit and its administrative and cultural centre designed by Alvar Aalto. It also hosts big food companies like Valio and Atria.

Seinäjoki marketing video (YouTube)
IntoSeinäjoki (city's development company)

InnoFood's main organizer is University of Helsinki's Ruralia Institute (link in Finnish). The institute conducts multidisciplinary research that transcends the boundaries of various academic fields.

Core areas of research include phenomena in the fields of entrepreneurship and well-being from the perspective of rural areas. On a social level, the institute examines sustainable development and the interaction between rural and urban areas in a globalising world.

The Ruralia Institute operates under the auspices of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Helsinki and has units in Mikkeli and Seinäjoki.

InnoFood will host a photo exhibition made up of a selection of images coming from ISEAS - International Socially Engaged Art Symposium - 2022.

The exhibition will portray the four art events which were held in August 2022 in Tiistenjoki elementary school, Seinäjoki high school, young farmers, and elderly book club members from Lapua. All events were exploring the deep connection among communities, food and art.

Artists from different fields and researchers were invited to work collectively, broadly and in interaction with each other and community members. 

Katja Juhola is the art director of ISEAS.