The Springboard business acceleration for spring 2017 started in mid-February. The goal of the 10-week programme is to refine and polish the selected business ideas. The participants include businesses that exist as an idea or in their initial stage from Turku, Tallinn and Riga.

Implemented with the EU’s Central Baltic funding, the business acceleration programmes of the Springboard project bring together almost 40 start-up businesses that exist as an idea or in their initial stage from Turku, Tallinn and Riga. The coaching is provided by the local business development professionals in each participating city. The programme for the spring involves sparring for e.g. online art sales and new waste management solutions as well as developing follow-up for well-being at work.

In Riga, the acceleration programmes of the Springboard project are provided by Latvia Technology Park and Riga Technical University.

“There were five teams participating in the first programme, eight in the second one implemented last autumn, and now the third programme involves nine teams”, says Laila Elina, Project Manager of Latvia Technology Park.

The responsible parties in Estonia are Tallinn University of Technology and Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol.

“In Estonia, 20 of the 25 applicants were approved for the programme. The ideas focus on green thinking, such as waste management solutions, customized clothing as well as health tech”, says Marianne Kallaste, lecturer at Tallinn University of Technology.

In Turku, 10 teams were selected for the Springboard workshops. Vesa Hautala from the Brahea Centre of the University of Turku is one of the programme leaders and reminds about the importance of the programme to the overall examination of your own idea.

“The programme challenges the participants to think. You should not fall in love with the small details of your own idea but be ready to question and challenge the plans.”

Answers to key questions

The Springboard project is looking for answers to different key questions concerning the ideas during the spring.

Johanna Puhtila, who is responsible for the Springboard project in Turku Science Park Ltd, reminds that the programme is a tough and demanding effort in which the thoughts of the teams are churned by the leaders, guest experts, other participants and especially the teams themselves. Lots of time will be spent on analysing the markets, polishing the business ideas, thinking of financial calculations and profitability, and preparing the pitch for financiers and customers.

New perspectives and self-assurance

Most of the teams participating in the programme still only have a business idea, but there are a few companies, too. One of them is Family First Oy which was registered in Turku last October. Sanna Honkala and Susanna Mustajärvi offer families a range of well-being coaching services implemented online for facilitating the daily life. The coaching is also offered to businesses, and the goal is to extend the effect to the daily life of the employee’s family.

“We started out with the needs of the customers, but we now hope to get new perspectives from entrepreneurs in different fields. We believe that the coaching will give us self-assurance and a clearer direction and grounds for our choices”, says Sanna Honkala who is currently writing her doctoral thesis in sports medicine.

Susanna Mustajärvi has previous experience in working as a sole trader.

“It was the mentoring provided within the Springboard accelerator programme in particular that caught my attention. We also need more commercial and digital know-how to support our team”, Ms Mustajärvi says.

The Springboard project is funded by the EU’s Central Baltic programme.