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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Nothing To Do During The Long-Winding Nordic Summer?

Something that none of my friends abroad have been able to understand is the Finnish summer holiday. You take four to eight weeks holiday and for this sacrifice you get an extra pay day. For good or for ill, that’s nevertheless how we roll here in the Nordics. Not all of us, but most. Most of us entrepreneurs are different though and love to work on cool projects instead shutting down for the summer. And thus, if you find yourself bored out of your mind once your country shuts down for the summer, there is a way out: build a startup!

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We already covered one program that helps you to build a startup during the summer months. This one, the Summer of Startups, operates in Helsinki, Finland. Here’s the spiel:

What is it:
An entrepreneurship program by and for entrepreneurial students – no school restrictions!

How it works:
We have selected 10 most suitable teams to take part in the program. The program is an intensive 8-week (4+4 first round, second round) period where the schedule is divided into different themes for each week. Lot of responsibility and own initiative is given to the teams themselves.

We focus on:
Getting talented people to work on their start-up idea instead of getting a traditional lame summer job. We want to have great multidisciplinary teams to take part and prove their abilities with their start-up idea.

How to get in:
Anyone can apply (here) – even if you are not a student. All you need to do is the fill out the application where only basic details of your business idea, team and plan for the program are asked. Out of 60 teams applying we chose 20 best to pitch and out of those 10 teams were chosen to start in the program.

Who’s behind it:
This program is offered by three University based entrepreneurship societies, namely Aaltoes, Hankenes and HUES. The program coordinator is Ville Simola from Aaltoes.

The program starts 1st of July and lasts until the end of August. Individuals taking part are offered 750 euro grant a month. In addition teams are getting an open office workspace and a personal mentor. Finance for this program offered by Tekes Tuli-program.

Now, these guys might say the teams are already chosen and the application period is over. Rubbish, I say. For all the real entrepreneurs this is only a minor detail and can surely be hustled around. If nothing else works, just camp out in one of the judge’s front yard until they let you in. If you need to build a real business, a small obstacle like deadline will surely not slow you down in getting into the program.

Another similar-ish program runs in Copenhagen, Denmark and is called Startupbootcamp.dk. The program is also a TechStarts affiliate program. For this, you have grand total of two days to apply for.

What is it:
Startupbootcamp is a startup accelerator. We’re not only modelled after TechStars (have had a casual relationship for a while) but recently became their first Global Affiliate. Affiliates are independent entities but get to tap into the TechStars know how and, more importantly, community. We’re located in Copenhagen, cover northern Europe and so far have applicants from all over Europe.

How it works:
We take up to 10 teams, to whom we provide some micro capital – or “excuse-removing cash” as we like to call it – free office space and access to our 50+ mentors who are all hands on entrepreneurs or gurus in their respective fields. We finish with big bang on Investor Day where we showcase our startups to a room full of investors (mostly angels and likely some VC’s as well).

What we focus on:
We’re not tech obsessed, we think there are lots of great businesses which are tech-enabled. But we do expect startups working on areas where significant progress can be made in three months with very limited capital. So far many of our applicants are pitching web-based ideas, but in wide range of industries (i.e. not only B2C). Many applicants are at idea stage but several have running products and early customers.

How to get in:
It’s 99% about the people. We’re very focused on potential, integrity and chemistry. We don’t care about nationality, experience level or education. We want to be seen as co-founders though we don’t ask for preferred shares or board seats. Only when we’re satisfied with the people do we look at the idea. The idea will change during the program anyway.

Who’s behind it:
I, Alex Farcet, am the co-founder with Rainmaking – a partnership of 4 very bright entrepreneurs who have started 12 companies in the last 3 years (some of which have failed, two of which they’ve sold). I have a corporate background and started doing what I love 3 years ago when my son got sick and I took a year off to take care of him. Rainmaking brings some capital and know how, I bring my sweat, passion and skills set (people and business development, networking, business acumen)

More on Startupbootcamp.dk:
Applications close end June
Apply here
Runs from mid-August to mid-November
Investor Day is on November 16th

What a better way to spend a summer than tinker with a cool project around other cool cats? Oh, and did I mention you get a full blown startup of your own once the summer is over? Sounds like the best deal of the summer to me!

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