Aalto Startup Center’s Support For Startups During COVID-19

As a hybrid accelerator, Aalto Startup Center support measures aimed to support the development and business activities of its startups during the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Aalto Startup Center understands that this is a difficult situation for startups. It is an uncertain time for everyone, and startups will need more support now than ever. Startups located in AGrid and Aalto Startup Center may still use their offices during this time, they must follow the recommended guideline of not congregating in large groups. Aalto Startup Center has come up with a few ways in order to support its community.

A virtual community to support startups

During this time of self-isolation and remote work, Aalto Startup Center is as busy as ever. Aalto Startup Center transferred its startup training services to an online environment and formed a virtual community to support its startup companies.

‘When it was first announced that the university was closing its doors, the staff at Aalto Startup Center accelerated their plans on building their online platform so that its community would remain connected. Aalto Startup Center hosts at least one training or event for our startups per week, so we reached out to our trainers and asked them if it was possible to do the session virtually’, explains head of the Center Marika Paakkala. All of the trainers obliged and the transition to the digital community was quite seamless.

The online community can also provide more informal support in a difficult situation. ‘Our advisors also called each startup CEO at the beginning to ask them how they were doing. This was like an unofficial therapy session with our advisors, but it also helps a lot to talk to someone else about your company’, says Paakkala.

Aalto Startup Center’s staff ready to help

Even working remotely, the staff at Aalto Startup Center is ready to help the startups. The advisors have been busy in this situation- tailoring their advice to the current situation of the global pandemic.

The state of emergency caused by the pandemic brings new challenges to startups, so Aalto Startup Center now strives to offer training to its companies that are especially suitable for this situation. Examples of training offered are B2B sales in a digital environment and financial estimates in a crisis situation. Additionally, tailored one-to-one workshops are offered to help startups with planning their activities.

Business Advisors: Joel Takala is still matchmaking mentors with startups and dealing with any team situation that the startup may be facing in this uncertain time. Tuomas Oksanen has been doing virtual sessions about finance and funding.

In order to increase awareness and visibility for the companies, the marketing & communications team creates many different sorts of content about startups.They promote them in various channels including social media.

Also, Aalto Startup Center has two designer-in-residence who are offering clinics and cafes to the member startups.

New program on the horizon

Aalto Startup Center is participating in a pan-European project supported by the EIT Urban Mobility and will be developing a new EIT Urban Mobility Accelerator program. It is a EU-funded program in five European regional hubs . This program is in collaboration with the Stockholm KTH University and the cities of Helsinki and Stockholm. Bengt Forsstrom, Business Advisor, is leading the Finnish initiative. More information will be shared soon once the program is launched.

The European Space Agency- Business Incubator Centre Finland is still accepting applicants to its program with a possibility to received 75 000 Euros of funding. On May 20th, Kimmo Isbjörnssund is hosting an info session for people who are interested in ESA-Bic and want to get involved.