The 11th and 12th of November 2015, some students from Arcada had the opportunity to participate to the biggest business and innovation event in Helsinki, SLUSH.
This event was organized almost only by volunteers to help startups and talented people to show their ideas and meet investors to allow them make their dreams come true; as well to have a collaboration with others startups and companies. This year, 15.000 attendees, more than 1700 startups and 800 investors were present for the two-days. Divided into four different stages (Silver, Green, Black and pitching), speakers and startups could talk about their ideas or business projects, as well as the growth of their companies over the years when it comes to large companies. As well, investors were looking to great ideas for future collaborations. Medias were also at Slush to assist and cover the event.
With respect to startups, they presented 100 ideas during “Pitches” times which consists to present their startups in 5 minutes, and the best 4 of them were chosen for the final to end up. The winner will received a special price to allow them to develop their projects and ideas. Caremonkey was chosen by investors and assistants this year to grow its idea with a reward of 650,000€. Moreover also they attended the event winners from past editions of both Finland and Asia, and we could see as Slush changes their life and how important is the internationalization for companies.
Being part of this event, gave us ideas about different kinds of business models and strategies: with the various stages and conferences, we discovered how big companies such as Nokia, Google, Zalando, Misfit, Samsung, Alibaba and more perform at a global network. We were very motivated listening to different pitches and inspired to be someone in the future. Amazingly we felt especial and confident even though we were just random students attending the event but it definitely was remarkable to be surrounded by inspired young people with great talents.
As business students, it was a privilege meeting people from all over the world who were sharing their business experiences. It gave us an opportunity to learn a lot about new business ideas and how they are carried out in a real life, and also it was a good way of interacting with companies. We had a chance to have a closer interaction and to pitch about ourselves to work as an intern for their companies in the future. We were able to sign up for companies at the recruiting area to be part of their startup business tour.
Big companies were advising startups about difficulties to enter the market on how to stay being innovative and to use different kinds of procedures delivering their products and services at the right time and at the right place. They were also recommending them to have a long term ambitions and to never give up on their dreams because it is always hard for startups to launch their projects due to different market strategies, different cultures and people. Focusing on customers is very crucial for startups to take care of them and to become global, they should have different customers from various countries and markets. Finally, to have a long term sustainable long term business, they need to be concerned about their financial procedures that helps them to overcome the difficulties.
More than a business conference, Slush is moreover a place for innovation. As we walk along the ways, we found many new products such as innovative booth where people can work in quite space in the middle of the crowded place; people were also having their lunch while enjoying the event on the swing-shaped tables; a booth for charging cell phones in secures boxes, since everyone was busy on their phones updating what was happening in the event online, this box was helping very much to charge their mobiles; Samsung and Nokia were exposing their virtual reality new technology accessible thanks to their smartphones and special glasses that creating an amazing experience, bringing us inside a movie, controlling the movement with our eyes. Moreover, we have to relate about the atmosphere inside Slush which was really uncommon for a business event. Indeed, they play with lighting effects making it quite dark compared to others similar events. The aim of this was to make everyone forget that they were not only there for business conference but also to have fun with less stress and more easy and friendly exchange.
We highly recommend people to participate in Slush, as a company, as a startup or as a student, and we realized the volunteers were very much dedicated to their job responsibility even though they are not getting paid because of the knowledge and good influence that they receive as a student or as a volunteer. Slush is a great place to learn and be part of the amazing experience. We definitely would love to be a volunteer on the next event in 2016. For us, it will be an opportunity to add enriching experience in our CV, learning how to work for such as big event in a northern European country, with different teams and professional persons by being surrounded by technology, emerging ideas, inspiration and future.
The course “Internationalisation of Small and Medium sized Businesses (5 ECTS)” is the first course of the “Business in the Baltic Sea Region (15 ECTS)” extensions studies. During the course students plan and manage small internationalization projects and actively support SMEs to enter foreign markets. This is done in co-operation with the Digas project, supported by the European ERASMUS+, KA2 programme.