August 31, 2020

Helsinki and Slush help startups weave networks amid pandemic

Attendees at Slush 2019.
With real-life networking opportunities limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Helsinki and Slush have launched initiatives to support the growth of startups in the trying circumstances.
Julius Konttinen / Slush Media

The City of Helsinki and Slush have continued their productive co-operation during the coronavirus-disrupted year, launching initiatives to support promising startups on the journey to success.

Helsinki’s NewCo Accelerator is targeted primarily at high-potential startups that are struggling to secure external financing amid the financial crisis set off by the pandemic. It also provides counselling for fledgling startups, supports local teams and helps foreign ones to settle in the Finnish capital.

Node by Slush, in turn, is a virtual community created in place of the world-famous startup event to provide networking opportunities to entrepreneurs and investors irrespective of location.

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the game for most startups and investors – there is no way to meet and network as we are used to,” told Miika Huttunen, CEO of Slush. “The lack of connections is devious for a young company, and it has direct implications on your ability to raise funding, spar with mentors or learn from their peers.”

“That’s what we’re trying to fix with Node by Slush.”

Slush, he reminded, was launched in similarly sombre circumstances, in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008: “Much like the early days of Slush, we want to bring hope for entrepreneurs amid the uncertainty also now.”

Helsinki will contribute to the virtual networking platform not only by paying the participation and mentoring of 100 startups, but also by assigning its enterprise experts to hosting workshops. The collaboration is an indication that startup entrepreneurs are “not left to their own devices in Helsinki”, viewed Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

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