Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Given my love for all things Finnish, this is one new programme that policymakers could and should be emulating.

The Aalto Venture Garage, part of the newly formed Aalto University, is a co-working space and seed accelerator in the Nordics and Baltics, providing a free 700m open space for hackers and startups. It operates from a big industrial hall whose interiors have been optimised for entrepreneurs to work together. Shipping containers have also been brought in to create extra rooms, with even their roofs being transformed into office space, with stairs leading to the top and onto a maze of chairs and tables.

Its programmes include the Startup Sauna, which claims to be the leading open sourced seed accelerator for early-stage startups in Northern Europe and Russia. Startup Sauna pushes the selected startups develop to a stage where they are ready to take over the international markets, using coaching from some of the region’s best serial entrepreneurs, investors and other professionals.