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Slush 2019 through a lens

Once again, Slush provided an innovative environment – with no shortage of fresh ideas and greenery.Susanna Lehto

This year’s Slush was a visual feast of light, colour, ideas and palpable buzz.

Slush was back in business once again this year and the anticipation of fresh ideas was stronger than ever. Bursts of colour and energetic beats at the opening ceremony illuminated the brightest business minds that came to Finland at the darkest time of the year. Image: Susanna Lehto
The world is currently scrambling to cut emissions in order to combat climate change. A noble fight indeed. But this doesn’t solve the lingering elephant in the room: How to rid the atmosphere of carbon? “The solution is photosynthesis,” stated Antero Vartia, the founder of the non-profit Compensate. “We need to plant a massive amount of trees and soil that can capture carbon. Degrowth is no way out of this mess. Even if we cut the number of cars on the street, they are still adding carbon to the atmosphere.” Image: Susanna Lehto
Fancy some sugar joy? Slush’s buzzing crowd certainly favoured cotton candy. Although 2 000 out of the 3 000 available hattara (‘hattara’ in Finnish means cotton candy) had been handed out by Friday morning, the queue for a sugar rush was hardly drying up. Image: Susanna Lehto
Slush visitors are focused on their health and personal wellbeing at the booth of Finnish insurance company Fennia, where they got a fresh breath of oxygen flavoured with their choice of cherry, ginger, lime or forest. ”We believe that if people in the company are not doing well, neither can the business. The key is being insured, so that even if sickness strikes, entrepreneurs can get back to business as soon as possible,” said Marianna Ahola, concept manager at Fennia. Image: Susanna Lehto
Johanna Jaara (left), sales manager at Finnish startup Body Pioneer, was filled with joy and excitement to see Slush visitors try the company’s special recovery machine for their first time, feeling the magic of the wooden massage rollers and heat technology. “When it’s -20°C outside, a warm 30-minute workout can help office workers to have a mini sauna session,” explained the company’s founder, Tiiu Itkonen. Image: Susanna Lento
The world has no shortage of problems, and it’s up to companies to play their part in solving them. “All companies have an impact,” said Emma Lehikoinen (right), the president of Slush. “We need to make this more visible.” Image: Susanna Lehto
This year, Slush created a magical retreat for visitors to recharge their batteries. Feeling Zen in the middle of the action was easy when surrounded by waterfalls and lavish plants. Sit back, relax and start your meditation amidst the sounds of nature! Image: Susanna Lehto
The John Nurminen Foundation is protecting the Baltic Sea with innovative water protection measures, and now the Moomins are joining the cause. Next year, Moomin Characters Ltd. will be raising awareness and one million euros for saving the Baltic Sea. Jenni Blomqvist and Anne Mäkijärvi from the foundation presented their international #OURSEA campaign, which has already managed to attract interest from the Nordics to Japan, thanks to the foundation’s innovative scientific solutions and the engaging storytelling of the Moomins. Image: Susanna Lehto
Andrey Bolshakov (left), Anton Poppel and Oleg Shipitko (right), co-founders of Russian company Megawatt, presented the electric autonomous vehicles and logistics services they have brought to Finland. Between the UK, Switzerland and Finland, the company chose the latter as the base for expanding their ambitious business to Europe. Finland was a logical choice due to its favourable conditions for foreign business founders, the easy and quick process of registering a company, and the availability of local hardware partners. The company used the consultant services of Helsinki Business Hub, Business Finland and Cursor, a business accelerator in Kotka. All the company founders received a Startup Permit, launched last year by Business Finland. Image: Susanna Lehto
Slush volunteers came from all over the world this year. The group lead of the Slush volunteer info team, Anastasiia Riame (left), is from Russia. She is also a product specialist at a Finnish startup Swappie. Minh Hoang from Vietnam is a master’s student in cyber security and computer science at Aalto University. Image: Susanna Lehto
Anniina Kaisanlahti, content marketing specialist at Haltian, demonstrated how the Oulu-based technology company’s sensors make it easy to see changes in valve positions at factories in real time, preventing accidents and factory shutdowns. Haltian’s solutions have been implemented in smart factories, washrooms and buildings, and its technology for self-service lockers is used by the Finnish postal service Posti. Image: Susanna Lehto
Will meat consumption soon be met with the same scorn as smoking? “We are not trying to stop people from eating meat,” emphasised Annette Kauppinen, the CMO at Gold&Green Foods. “But when people have tasted our pulled oats, they are very surprised.” Unlike munching on animal parts, the future is very bright for the Helsinki-based company: “We have something spectacular coming next year.” Image: Susanna Lehto
For those who did their yoga at the Secret Garden, getting back to business was easy, since a multitasking and energetic co-working space was found right next door. Here, you could chat with your peers, take a business call and answer emails on the go. Image: Susanna Lehto
For skilled researchers with a business mindset, VTT presented its LaunchPad programme – a deep-tech incubator that utilises the research centre’s intellectual property to help people to establish their own company and reach ambitious goals. (left to right) VTT’s communications specialist Kirsi Jaatinen, co-ordinator of strategy department Eeva Pennanen (centre) and research scientist Tuure Parviainen stood up strong presenting their six-month-old incubator, which has already achieved significant results and identified 10 different international market focuses for its client companies to start expanding to. Image: Susanna Lehto
By: Julia Helminen