Kickstart business idea competition first took off in 2007 when Oamk´s (Oulu University of Applied Sciences) Business Incubator launched the competition that was open for any fields of study and any business ideas within Oamk. Kickstart´s main focus from the get-go was to spark the inspiration for entrepreneurship in students and encourage them to develop their business ideas. Kickstart has been organized annually ever since it was first launched, and it has been a great platform for students to validate their business ideas.

Having recognized the importance of providing an open and safe platform for students to test their business ideas led to the first ever, cross-faculty Kickstart competition which was held in the beginning of 2017. This newest round of Kickstart was organized by Oulu Innovation Alliance and the participating faculties, in addition to the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, where the University of Oulu and Oulu Vocational College.


Oulu Innovation Alliance

A significant aspect of the actions of Oulu Innovation Alliance is collaboration, which is why OIA brought together three faculties to compete in the Kickstart business idea competition. Oulu Innovation Alliance (OIA) is the coalition between the city of Oulu, the University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, the Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, Natural Resources Institute Finland and Technopolis Oyj, which is taking Oulu to new, global heights with five points of focus. The objective of OIA is to create an innovation ecosystem that increases Oulu´s attraction, and enhances the creation of businesses based on high levels of expertise, development and internationalization.


Agile Commercialization is one of the five ecosystems of OIA. The ecosystem helps businesses situated in the Oulu are to commercialize their business, be it a service, software, or a product. Business Kitchen is at the core of Agile Commercialization and it´s services, such as Avanto Entrepreneurship Program and Demola help entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-to-be in various phases of entrepreneurship.