To build a working startup ecosystem you’ll need at least the following: bright minds with a wide skill base, advanced research and venture capital. These elements are at the core of the major tech and startup hubs such as Berlin, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Israel — but what really makes them stand out is the culture. For example, in Silicon Valley, sharing knowledge with each other and the “give-and-take” mentality sums up the ethos.

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These major hubs have grown to become epicentres of the world. One might ask if it is possible to create a lively startup ecosystem in the region far more spread? We think it is. We have been building Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society with a vision to become one of the most influential startup ecosystems in the Nordics by 2019. To understand how this could be done, we must dig a bit deeper to our long-term strategy, the master plan, as Elon Musk would say.

Obviously, getting the culture and grass-root activity working in Vaasa is essential but that alone is not enough to make the deal. In the following three years, we will be scaling our operations to the other cities in Ostrobothnia like Seinäjoki and Kokkola to name a few. Next year we’ll also start a cooperation with Umeå in, Sweden. Combining these regions would show interesting results: 65,000 students with all study fields from art to technology covered. This way we’ll have far more bright minds to collide and risk capital to boost new ventures.

This way we’ll have far more bright minds to collide and risk capital to boost new ventures.

To boost the venture capital flow to this new Ostrobothnian ecosystem even more, we must create an event that attracts international investors. To not step on Slush’s or Arctic15’s toes the focus will be more limited, energy and its by-products. Vaasa, as the “Bay Area” of this ecosystem already covers 12% (4 billion) of the Finnish technology-export and is known as the energy-cluster of the Nordics. The planning for this event has already begun.

Vaasa, where it all started, will be in the heart of this future ecosystem. The Midway Alignment Project is made to connect our fast growing markets in the Nordics and Vaasa will provide the gate. To reach our ambitious goal, we must proceed with small incremental steps and be patient. It took two years to actually get Vaasa to wake up and realise the limitless possibilities in this region.

In Slush they say “there’s something happening in the Nordics”, but right now and in the future, there will also be something happening in Ostrobothnia. For now, it’s time to increase the speed.

Miika Huttunen
Co-founder and Chairman
Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society

VES organises Harvest16 entrepreneurship festival on Saturday, Sept 17 – more info HERE.