From ideas to realization – Start-up community supports the student to become an entrepreneur

Enterprise Accelerator at SAMK has produced already 320 enterprises during its 22 years of operation. Now SAMK has invested even more in entrepreneurship and has established a proactive Start-up community, which is coordinated by Santeri Koivisto. Koivisto started as a senior adviser at SAMK last March.

27.9.2019 | By: Petra O'Rourke | Photo: Petra O'Rourke

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Start-up community got to know the students better by organizing a checkpoint in the facilities of Crazy Town during Kurnajaiset Freshman Party. The students were given a task to prepare a business idea pitch based on randomly chosen photos.

– In the future 100 % of our students have to know about our entrepreneurship and start-up services, and at least 10 % need to be involved in the operations. When that goal is reached, I can be satisfied, Koivisto sums up.

The goal of the Start-up community is to provide low threshold support for the students who have a business idea. Besides Koivisto, the community includes Aleksi Postari, a technical wizard in the game industry and a senior adviser, and Jussi Bergman, an innovator and a senior adviser in artificial intelligence. Koivisto himself is a class teacher with a Master´s degree in Education, a hybrid model of an entrepreneur father and a teacher mother. During his 33 years, he has experienced the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

 

– My aim is to make Pori Campus more open and communal in relation to students: a campus that supports future working life better. It would be important to find interfaces that generate cross-disciplinary discussion and cooperation, Santeri Koivisto envisions.

From a minor business idea to major company acquisitions

santeri koivisto

– My aim is to make Pori Campus more open and communal in relation to students: a campus that supports future working life better. It would be important to find interfaces that generate cross-disciplinary discussion and cooperation, Santeri Koivisto envisions.

As a heavy-consumer of video games, Koivisto became interested in Minecraft during his studies and got an idea of utilizing the game for educational purposes.

– At the same time as I was building connections with a Swedish game developer and Aleksi was building technology, an American teacher called Joel started writing a blog on the topic, and I contacted him. Joel had created in the USA a teacher community of over 10,000 people around the topic. When we joined our forces, we simultaneously became an international enterprise. The timing was good as there was a huge hype around Minecraft at the time, Koivisto tells us.

The business idea changed a bit on the way but finally MinecraftEdu was born. It is a modified version that allows the teacher to feed student students activities and tasks. It differed from other educational games as it was purely meant for entertainment purposes. The game spread like wildfire, and in the end more than 20,000 schools all over the world used it. During five years, Koivisto lived out of a suitcase between Finland and the USA.

– We had a functioning holy trinity: I brought along my business point of view, Joel the pedagogy and Aleksi was the technical chief architect. Our game was better than the original: it enabled easy setting up of the server and controlling various functions without coding skills. Children went nuts about it and wanted our version to their homes, Koivisto recalls.

In 2016, Microsoft bought Minecraft and MinecraftEdu. The programme is still in educational use under the name Minecraft Education Edition.

 

I wish young people had more of a future vision and a goal where to aim at with their studies.

 

Study, dream and give entrepreneurship a go

Students from all degree programmes can try their business ideas at Enterprise Accelerator and Start-up community and simultaneously earn credits.

Why is it worth trying entrepreneurship especially during studies?

– Nowadays founding a company does not really require initial capital, and when studies are proceeding, there is no financial risk for the student. Students have available a group of 400 experts from different fields to support them and a top team of specialists in entrepreneurship. We have laboratories where you can manufacture product prototypes. The student has three and a half years to deepen the knowledge and at the same time keep building the company. It is difficult to get the same level of support outside SAMK, things couldn´t really be better. When you have a mortgage and a couple of children, then the juggling act begins and the leap of faith is considerably longer, Koivisto summarizes firmly.

He calls for goal orientation among higher education students and wants to create hope.

– I wish young people had more of a future vision and a goal where to aim at with their studies. Besides competence, you should chase your dreams and build your own studies to support the realization of these dreams. My role is to support and motivate the students and validate their business ideas, to separate the sheep from the goats. If you get interested, just contact me at any time, Koivisto reminds us.

 

The objective of Start-up community is to launch next spring start-up business incubator activities as a new service of present Enterprise Accelerator. In the incubator, business ideas are developed, validated, user experience is defined and in the end, pitching the business idea for an investor and at Slush is practiced.

 

 

For more information:

Santeri Koivisto, Senior Adviser
santeri.koivisto@samk.fi
tel. 044 7103213

 

For more information:

https://www.samk.fi/en/study/to-working-life/enterprise-accelerator/

 

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