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Jens-Antti Andersen
student startups

Harvest16 – Rookie of the Year

Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society managed to build something from scratch. Nearly two weeks have gone past since Harvest was arranged for the first time, and still – it is hard to believe how well it was managed.

When Slush, Helsinki’s gigantic annual tech festival, was arranged for the first time, it managed to attract around 300 participants. Now, Harvest’s debut on the event scene drew close to 1000 participants. I’m not saying that Harvest did something better than Slush. Rather that Slush has worked as an excellent benchmark for how to execute a successful tech and startup event.

The venue, which was a shopping mall (!), worked excellently. It made the event look even bigger than it actually was. It caught the interest of related companies, students from the city’s multiple universities, as well as inhabitants of Vaasa. The keynotes were excellent, with Jonas Kjellberg, the founder of Skype, as the metaphorical cherry on top. There was room for networking and even an afterparty with Pendulum as the main performer.

Student startups, scaling startups

There were several interesting startups present at the conference. Vaasa seems to be a great environment for enthusiastic entrepreneurs to be born. With its several universities, it seems to have the potential to shape great student startups. They just need the spark, and Harvest seems to provide just that.

A good example is Me2we. They have a vision to create a better world among students, universities and companies. Their platform is in continuous development in order to improve collaboration and performance.

Another is ResQ Club. They have their own niche in the booming food delivery business. Their mission is for no restaurant food to go to waste. Or HostMyPet, who make sure that a pet won’t be alone at home for too long.

A country of volunteers

The event was really professionally executed. Don’t underestimate the fact that it was done completely non-profit, by volunteers. There is something in the Finnish mentality that can bring a lot of volunteers together for a common good cause. It was visible at Harvest, it was visible at Slush, and even (or especially) during World War II, when Finnish volunteers protected the country’s existence from the mighty Soviet Union.
 
On behalf of Espeo, we hope to be able to help out these start-ups in their path to success. Harvest has already turned out to be valuable for us, and we will gladly participate next year as well.

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