Art and business have been always somehow connected to each other in various forms. On one hand, businesses always explore artistic perspectives to boost up their financial success, on the other, artists basically sell their artistic vision to the world.
“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Andy Warhol
When it comes to entrepreneurship teaching in higher education, we don’t see a lot of initiatives to connect art and business to create synergies. Startup Circus aims to fill the gap by providing a colorful 1-day event to gather early-stage entrepreneurs, artists, educators, and investors.
Positioning itself into the intersection of art and entrepreneurship, Startup Circus is one of its kind to make the Helsinki startup community more colorful and artsy.
Art in the Circus
The Startup Circus has been on a mission of combining the Arts and startup pitches since 2017. This first run attracted approximately 200 attendees to the Design Factory in the Aalto Otaniemi Campus. The 2018 run featured an art gallery, participatory artworks, and more artistic performances around the startup-pitches. In 2019, it was time to take the event to another level by moving the event downtown to the center of Helsinki and doubling the number of participants. Carefully selected artworks of talented artists were placed at the venue. Throughout the event, visitors also had a chance to talk to the artists and hear some of them on the stage as keynote speakers.
The program has started with the exciting art performance and continued with keynotes of Sini Kunnas, Alvar Gullichsen, Sven Triloqvist, and Katriina Haikala to emphasize the artistic angle of the event. More art performances have been on the stage from talented performers such as the dance group Unia, the multi-instrumentalist Mikko Heikinpoika live Pa. , and the improvisation rap artist Höpöhöpökeiju.
The first time in its history, Startup Circus was organized in “The Circus Nightclub” which is at the heart of Helsinki – Kamppi.
Pitching Competition, Winners & Prices
Aalto University’s School of Business and Aalto Ventures Program, Hanken School of Economics, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, and the Shortcut are the educator partners of the event. As an official part of the “Entrepreneurial Education Week” program, this year’s Startup Circus also hosted a nice group of international entrepreneurship educators.
Top entrepreneurship educators from the Helsinki metropolitan area brought their top teams to pitch their concepts at the Startup Circus.
7 top early-stage teams had their pitches to the judges Pia Santavirta from Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA), Pontus Stråhlman from Voima Ventures and Simon Waygood from NCrypted Technologies. Katriina Haikala also joined the judges to provide a perspective of the arts. The winning prize is given to the StepOut team which is developing an ‘on the go’ fitness/recreation solution for mobile and web platforms. The winning team received 3000EUR from Yrjö Uitto Säätiö, 2-week full-stack development, 2-month Epicenter membership and one startup ticket to Arctic15 Helsinki. The runner up team of Tassu Passu is aiming to provide a playful and secure access manager for kids. The team received 1500EUR from Kauppatieteellinen Yhdistys, sales training from CBW Global and one startup ticket to Arctic15 Helsinki.