Two years ago, the City of Joensuu set itself a bold objective and vision: making Joensuu the best place in the world to combine studying and entrepreneurship. The University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Riveria Vocational Education and Training decided to become part of the story. And now it begins: all of these actors are engaged in building an entrepreneurship community for students under the name SPARK Joensuu. The community is unique even by global standards.
SPARK Joensuu is a community-based place and operating model for students that promotes entrepreneurship and working together. Its aim is to support entrepreneurship among students and generate new growth companies. SPARK Joensuu will be operating on students’ terms. It also enjoys wide support in the region. In addition to our three education and training organisations and Business Joensuu, entrepreneurs’ organisations are also involved.
“Together with the other actors, we strongly engage in building this unique system that includes all levels of education. You cannot find this anywhere else,” explains Business Coach Timo Rouhio from New Business and Internationalisation Services at Business Joensuu. “It is delightful to notice that an entrepreneurial mindset is becoming increasingly popular among young people. Every year, we help dozens of students turn business ideas into business activities. It is a central part of Business Joensuu Oy’s activities. Joensuu is an entrepreneurially minded city. People want to stay here as entrepreneurs and we have the knowledge, skills and services required to serve new companies,” continues Ruohio, who is responsible for SPARK Joensuu at Business Joensuu.
Creating new growth companies in the Joensuu region is vital for the region’s future. The University of Eastern Finland, Karelia and Riveria are doing an excellent job by providing several entrepreneurship training and coaching programmes. Business Joensuu’s contribution is the provision of services that support the growth and internationalisation of new companies. SPARK Joensuu combines everyone’s resources and takes this work to a new level. Everyone involved in SPARK Joensuu shares the willingness to work in a community-minded way and promote entrepreneurship. The objective is to involve international partners in the future. SPARK Joensuu is based in the netWork Oasis facilities of Joensuu Science Park (Building 3B, 4th floor).
Timo Ruohio, Business Coach, Business Accelerator, Business Joensuu Oy, + 358 50 597 4330
Harri Palviainen, Chief Executive Officer, Business Joensuu Oy, + 358 500 967 744