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Helsinki incubator to promote clean and sustainable urban solutions

Urban Tech Helsinki will act as the meeting point for Finnish research, Helsinki’s startup ecosystem and global challenges related to the sustainability of cities.

Tapio Auvinen

The City of Helsinki and Aalto University are establishing a new incubator with a focus on solving urban challenges sustainably with technology.

Known as Urban Tech Helsinki, the non-profit incubator seeks to support and expedite the formation and early growth of startups, focusing on those in the sustainable domain. Clean energy, mobility, sustainable construction, the circular economy, waste management and urban food production are but some of the focal areas.

To help facilitate this, the wider goal of the collaborative incubator is to draw experts and businesses to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in order to transform research-based innovations into international business.

Helsinki is seeking to boost its sustainable approach to the future. Image: Jussi Hellsten

“I am confident that by offering a functional city as a platform for local companies, Helsinki has every chance to attract the best talent and ideas, even from other countries,” said Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori. “As an investment in Helsinki’s capacity to reinvent itself, Urban Tech Helsinki enables the development of world-class innovations in an entirely new way.”

Additionally, the incubator will have close co-operation with large enterprises that invest in sustainable urban solutions.

Ville Simola is overseeing plans for Maria 01 to become the largest startup campus in Europe. Image: Wasim Al-Nasser

Urban Tech Helsinki will operate at startup hub Maria 01 and the Otaniemi Campus of Aalto University.

“Our vision is to become the largest and most impactful startup campus in Europe by 2026,” Maria 01 CEO Ville Simola declared earlier this year, after the startup hub reported significant year-on-year growth. “The way forward to drive a new narrative around impact and startups as forces to lift economies is to bring these numbers to the spotlight and show the world how startup communities thrive.”

For Aalto University, meanwhile, Urban Tech Helsinki supports the aim to remodel society through research-based information, creativity and entrepreneurial thinking.

Urban Tech Helsinki will operate on the premises of startup campus Maria 01 and Aalto University’s Otaniemi Campus (pictured). Image: Aino Huovio

“As a partner, we will make Aalto’s vast international network and first-rate expertise in research and innovation available to companies and the city,” commented the president of Aalto University, Ilkka Niemelä.

In addition, the incubator will have close links to other innovation and incubator activities taking place on university campuses throughout the region.

By: James O’Sullivan