August 13, 2020

Lift-off for Northbound Startups in Turku

Turku's startup community welcomes a new accelerator programme.
Sonja Siikanen

A Finnish-Swedish-Estonian startup accelerator, Northbound Startups, has begun operations and a search for globally focused startups.

The accelerator’s goal is to provide a seven-month internationalisation-focused programme to startups from the three partner countries. It will draw from the collective expertise of the three organisers: Turku Science Park, Västerås Science Park and Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol. The application phase for the English-language programme is currently underway.

“The startups that we’re looking for are in the proof-of-concept phase, in which their business idea is already being tested in practice,” told Johanna Puhtila, growth advisor at Turku Science Park. “The most important things for them are building up their international networks and finding funding.”

The accelerator is funded by the EU’s Central Baltic Programme, which aims to enhance cross-border co-operation in the Baltic region. In the current challenging and unpredictable times, the organisers have designed Northbound Startups as a hybrid programme with a functioning digital element but also traditional tools for spurring businesses.

“We gathered venture capital investors and startup founders from three different countries for a webinar in early June, where ideas and contacts were built remotely,” told Arto Branders, growth advisor at Turku Science Park. “At least for the first few months, we will build the startups’ internationalisation schematics online and avoid travelling.”

The programme will complement the existing services in Turku’s startup community and run in parallel with the BusinessUp programme, which focuses on developing startups’ business ideas, productisation and the basics of entrepreneurship.

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