Meet Kirsi, ESA BIC Finland project manager!

Are you excited to know more about Kirsi? Keep reading to discover the answer to the 10 questions we asked her. Read until the end to learn a fun fact you don’t expect!

1. Could you please give us a short introduction about yourself?

My name is Kirsi Polvinen, and I started August 1st as a Project Manager of ESA BIC Finland program. 

I am happy to return to Aalto University after working as an organization developer and consultant for one year. Aalto University feels like my second home as I have worked here for 13 years, mostly at the department of Engineering and Management at the School of Science. International environment inspires me a lot as well as startup life.

2. Can you tell us a bit about your professional background? For example, what the Master’s study is about?

I have collaborated for over ten years with different organizations in research and development of innovation management and work well-being. I have also worked as a coordinator in the IDBM (International Design Business management) program facilitating multidisciplinary teamwork. In addition, I have lived in the U.S. with my family for several years and worked there in an international research group.  I have a master’s degree from University of Helsinki and a status of a doctoral student at Aalto University.

3. Can you explain a bit about your role at Aalto Startup Center?

I work as a Project Manager of ESA BIC Finland, which has made a contract with ESA (the European Space Agency). Aim is to develop viable companies from startups that base their business on the use of space systems and technology for terrestrial application (so-called spin-off), but also from startups that intend to bring non-space technology into the space domain (spin-in). My role is to make sure that requirements set by ESA are followed. 

4. So, what brought you to Aalto Startup Center originally?

I have made research and collaborated especially with micro- and small companies in different projects dealing with innovation management. Startup life interests me a lot and I have also worked in two startups myself.

5. After a few months of working here, do you enjoy the experience? Which part is your favourite so far?

I do enjoy the experience of working in Aalto Startup Center. Every day is different, and I can challenge myself by doing versatile work and meeting people from different backgrounds.

6. What was one of your first projects in the role?

I organized TEB (Tender Evaluation Board) event, where applied startups may pitch and are evaluated to enter the ESA BIC Finland program. 

7. What’s your preferred work style?

When I need to focus on writing for example a report, I prefer working remotely. When doing teamwork or meeting people, I come to the office.

8. Do you want to say something to our startups?

Networking and discussing with people with different viewpoints are important to get the ideas to fly! 

9. Any plan or goals for the coming 2023?

My project goals are set by European Space Agency. Life-long and life-wide learning are my personal goals.

10. Tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise us!

I used to scuba dive and my favorite place was wreck “Park Victory” 30 meters deep close to the island Utö.