Girl looking through a piece of cardboard
  Image: Arkki International

DAILY BRIEF: Creative education, renewable fuel, discarded fruit juice, CBD, startups and green city

All the daily Finnish business news that works: Arkki International, Neste, K Group, Thrsty, Ysub, VTT, eniferBio and Lappeenranta make headlines.

Rasmus Hetemäki


Neste provides renewable fuel in California, K Group and Thrsty squeeze juice from discarded fruit, Ysub raises coin for CBD beverages, a VTT-led startup accelerator completes its first round, Arkki International launches education programmes in Turkey, and Lappeenranta is awarded for its climate actions. Click on the headlines for more in-depth information about each piece of news.

Neste’s renewable diesel powers school buses in California

School buses in a row.

The Twin Rivers Unified School District (USD) near Sacramento, California, has switched its fleet of 75 diesel-powered school buses to run on renewable fuel provided by Neste. The switch enables the school district to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its buses by up to 80 per cent over the fuel’s life cycle and turn its fleet into one of the cleanest in the country. The Twin Rivers USD is the 28th largest school district in California with 26 000 students. Under normal circumstances, more than 25 000 school buses in the state bring millions of students to school every day, with about 65 per cent of the buses running on fossil diesel. Image: Neste

K Group and Thrsty turn discarded fruit and veg into juice

Three fruit juice bottles.

Finnish retail chain K Group and juice maker Thrsty have started a collaboration to turn edible fruit, vegetables and berries discarded at K Group’s central warehouse into juice, which will be sold in K-food shops. Fruit and vegetables sometimes suffer bruises when handled at the warehouse or don’t meet the cosmetic standards, which means they can’t be sold at shops but can still be turned into juice. The Hyvis juice will be available in K Group’s grocery shops from October 2020, in returnable plastic bottles. Image: Thrsty / Facebook

Ysub raises EUR 250K in seed funding to launch CBD drinks

Can of Ysub's Zen Drink next to a lemon.

Finnish beverage startup Ysub Drinks has raised 250 000 euros in its first funding round. Launched in Finland in September, Ysub’s first beverage contains vitamins, hemp and lemon balm and is said to have relaxing qualities. The company brands itself as the opposite to the hectic contemporary lifestyle (its name is ‘busy’ spelt in reverse). Ysub is also preparing its second product, the first CBD (cannabidiol) beverage in the Nordics. Foods containing CBD are not allowed to be sold in Finland as of yet, but Ysub plans to launch the beverage first in select European and Asian countries where they are found, as well as the US, where they are already common. Image: Ysub

Agritec and foodtech startups complete VTT-led accelerator

People sitting in a lecture hall.

The first acceleration programme at the EIT FAN Nordic Hub, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has been completed. Altogether, 10 Nordic startups took part in the programme that culminated in a demo-day event, where the teams pitched their businesses to investors, partners, media and judges. Two of the startups, Finland’s eniferBio and Sweden’s Mycorena, were selected to compete for 100 000-euro prizes in the European Food Venture Summit. Helsinki-based EIT FAN Nordic Hub is one of six accelerators in the European EIT Food Accelerator Network (FAN), which aims to promote a sustainable food system. Image: VTT

Arkki provides creative education in Turkey

Girl adjusting something on a miniature model of a town

Arkki International has partnered with Turkey Design Council to bring its educational programmes to different regions of Turkey. The collaboration sets off with the Finnish edtech company’s creative workshops in Istanbul in the autumn of 2020. The partners will also broaden the scope of Arkki’s offering in the coming months, as well as provide long-term programmes in Turkey starting from spring 2021. Arkki has developed a novel creative education scheme that teaches children essential 21st-century skills like creativity, complex problem solving and critical thinking through architecture and design. Image: Arkki International

Lappeenranta receives European Green Leaf Award

An aerial view of Lappeenranta with green parks and a lake.,

Finland’s Lappeenranta and Bulgaria’s Gabrovo have received the European Commission’s European Green Leaf Award, a recognition given annually to up to two cities with 20 000–100 000 inhabitants for commitment to better environmental outcomes. Read our full article by clicking the headline. Image: Visit Lappeenranta

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