Entrepreneur of the Year Joonas Rakkolainen developed an innovative tool for stiff necks

SAMK Entrepreneur of the Year Joonas Rakkolainen developed in his business an assistive device, which he initially used to treat his own migraine.

Joonas Rakkolainen shows off the product he has developed, Atlas Care.
Joonas Rakkolainen has developed an aid for stiff necks.

The selection criteria describe the Entrepreneur of the Year as an innovative entrepreneur with the ability to turn ideas into reality. He is said to have developed an entrepreneurial mindset during the mentoring process. The company he has founded is said to seamlessly combine the technical mindset of an engineer with the needs of the market.

The arguments are easy to believe.

Joonas Rakkolainen, who runs his company JVT Production Oy, graduated early this year with a Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Management and Technology. The other product of the brand he developed – Atlas Touch – has been awarded the Health Product of the Year 2023. The product family also includes Atlas Care. The two models of the neck stretching device are small massaging items placed under the neck while lying down. The device stretches the neck muscles.

– The idea came from the fact that I was diagnosed with migraine when I was a child and have often suffered from it. One day, while visiting a masseur, I wondered whether one could simulate a massage with a device. I asked the masseur and they said it can’t.

Rakkolainen started to ponder the matter and investigate it further. He decided to draw a prototype and 3D model it.

– A week later I had a finished product. I sent a picture of it to my masseur and they were excited, Rakkolainen laughs.

Nothing is impossible

The award-winning entrepreneur says that he usually doesn’t believe when people tell him something is impossible. Since then, he has already commissioned two theses from SAMK to research and develop the product further.

– Of course, I did my own thesis on this topic as well. In addition, a user manual was created as a thesis before the launch to ensure the safe use of the device. A preliminary clinical study is now underway to see if the product helps with migraine, he says.

In addition to neck stretchers, the company is designing a second brand of auxiliary devices for the plumbing industry.

Lots of support from the Enterprise Accelerator

Rakkolainen found the studies of Industrial Management and Technology interesting. He chose the degree programme because he was particularly interested in 3D modelling.

– The mathematical subjects were challenging as I had completed a vocational degree in accounting and not the upper secondary school. But with extra work, I managed them well, he says.

Rakkolainen’s original business idea was to produce biodegradable cartridges for airsoft. This product was found to be unprofitable early on.

– I was just a typical young entrepreneur. Lots of enthusiasm, but no idea how to make a profit. I’ve always been interested in a lot of different things, he says.

Rakkolainen praises the support he has received from the Enterprise Accelerator from the very beginning.  He particularly praises senior lecturers Teppo Lundell and Jussi Bergman.

– Teppo supported me from the beginning and always knew how to question my ideas. A great guy. Once the project had progressed from its early stages and the product was on the market, Jussi stepped in to offer his help, he says.

The dream is to make the product a medical device

The product family of neck stretchers will also be launched outside Finland. Launch activities have already started in Sweden.

– I found a study that is a synthesis of many studies. It said that every day about 15.8% of the world’s population suffers from headaches, so the market in Europe, for example, is very large, Rakkolainen says.

Finally, it is interesting to find out what a young entrepreneur’s plans for the future include.

– I joined the JCI Rauma (Junior Chamber International) and was asked a bit of the same question. Don’t write this, but I said I would be the youngest kauppaneuvos in Finland, he laughs (kauppaneuvos is a Finnish honorary title granted to distinguished business people). Rakkolainen is also involved in the Rauma Chamber of Commerce.

– Another dream is to get the neck stretcher classified as a medical device. I believe in this product. And it is of paramount importance to believe in what you sell.

SAMK has been awarding the Entrepreneur of the Year since 2005. The selection is made by the Enterprise Accelerator mentors from among the students who have participated in the activities. The criteria are the success of the business and the student’s personal growth as an entrepreneur. The selection process also values the entrepreneur’s ability to bring original solutions to entrepreneurship.

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