In November, SparkUp saw an exceptional buzz of activity as nearly 100 SME representatives, challenge owners and experts met at the international Urban Tech Hackathon in Turku. The companies that advanced from the hackathon to the EU-funded Urban Tech Programme were Renotech, MarshallAI, nollaE, Watec Consulting, Remoted, Fidera, iQ Payments and Blokgarden.
The international Urban Tech Programme aims to help SMEs prove the international growth potential of their ideas, which address real challenges faced by organisations and businesses. The two-day hackathon held in and around SparkUp in Kupittaa, Turku, was one of eight hackathons held across Europe.
At the hackathon, SME representatives developed their ideas together with experts from Turku Science Park Ltd and the owners of the challenge, their potential customers. Participants came from eight different countries, the furthest from the Azores. Many big players from the Turku region, like the City of Turku, Blue Industry Park and Betonilaatta, were presented with innovative solutions to their current challenges.
“The best part was getting to the heart of the problem with the customer. We received valuable sparring on the service model to be developed around the product, so that the implementation would certainly be easy enough for the customer”, reflects Juha-Pekka Saarelainen, Managing Director of Watec Consulting, which made it to the next round.
“The start-up world is incredibly fascinating. The hackathon days, the environment itself and the discussions with other entrepreneurs and mentors were rewarding,” says Mika Rytkönen, founder of Remoted Oy.
The Turku event culminated in three pitch sessions, where SMEs gave an “elevator speech” on their solution proposal to a panel of judges, which also included the company that issued the challenge. Based on the pitches, the juries selected the best ideas.
“We had an intensive couple of days!” says Arto Branders, Project Manager of Urban Tech and Specialist at Turku Science Park Ltd:
“Urban Tech has spawned some good collaborations as a by-product. At least one customer found a solution to their challenge through the competition, although the companies did not continue in the competition because the idea was ready for implementation.”
Renotech, MarshallAI, nollaE, Watec Consulting and Remoted are the winners of the Turku hackathon, and Fidera, iQ Payments and Blokgarden advanced afterwards through international scoring. These companies will receive funding and advice for the development of their ideas through the Urban Tech Programme.
Read more about Urban Tech on the Urban Tech | Turku Business Region website.