Kiuas – Highway to entrepreneurship
What is Kiuas?
Kiuas is an accelerator program designed to build more startup companies and especially successful founders and serial entrepreneurs in Finland.
Kiuas was founded in 2017 and the program was built on the foundation of Summer of Startups, a startup program that had already been running for 8 years. The operations are run by the non-profit organization Aalto Entrepreneurship Society. We have seen the creation of the Kiuas brand as one of the key ways to solve the challenges of early-stage growth entrepreneurship more efficiently and more flexibly.
Kiuas’ mission is as follows: "Make Finland the country with the highest amount of self-sustaining startups per capita in the world." To support our mission, in 2018, we have created a renewed program which consists mainly of 3 different parts: Kiuas Bootcamp, Kiuas Start and Kiuas Accelerator. Every part has an important role to play from the first step in entrepreneurship to paying customers and raising funding. As a whole, we believe Kiuas to create a unique path for growth entrepreneurship, enabling targeted support throughout the year.
Espoo acts as a long-term partner of the Kiuas accelerator. The support provided by Espoo and other partners enables our events and programs to be completely free of charge for the participants. This is highly unique even on an international level and enables an efficient development path for startups in a very low-risk environment.
Kiuas Bootcamp is a weekend-long event that was piloted first time during Spring 2018. This year, we have arranged a total of three Bootcamp events, involving a total of around 50 early-stage individuals/teams. The weekends consisted of various workshops and personal mentoring.
For idea-stage individuals/teams who are interested in setting up a business in the near future.
Kiuas Start is a pre-accelerator program organized for the first time in fall 2018. Kiuas Start aims to highlight the importance of gathering feedback and iterating right from the beginning. The program consists of high-quality workshops, individual mentoring and intensive individual work. During the program, the teams develop their early prototypes and contact their first potential customers. More than 70 early-stage teams applied to the program, of which 20 were selected.
For teams that are not yet working full-time on their startup project.
Kiuas Accelerator is a 10-week accelerator program for startups that are a little bit more advanced already. During the summer, the teams build their products forward with the help of intensive mentoring and workshops. At the end of the program, teams aim to have paying customers or their first funding round raised. In addition, Kiuas provides financial support to teams during the program, enabling full-time commitment.
Kiuas Accelerator 2018 was very successful, with more than 100 startups applying to the program, three times more than in 2017. Kiuas selected 15 promising teams based on interviews to take part in the program. Kiuas Accelerator was also selected as Finland's Best Accelerator in the Nordic Startup Awards 2018.
For startups who are already working full-time with their project.
Text: Pirkka Sippola
Member of the Board of Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes) and responsible for corporate & academic partnerships. Aaltoes is Europe's largest student-run entrepreneurial community that has initiated world-class programs and events such as Slush, Junction Hackathon and Kiuas. Aaltoes was founded in 2009 with a mission to promote growth entrepreneurship in Finland and, in particular, encouraging students towards entrepreneurship.