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Finnish Slush 2018 concludes with vision for further expansion
Last Updated: 2018-12-06 16:03 | Xinhua
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The 11th Slush, a startup and investor event held at the Helsinki Fair Center, concluded Wednesday with the ambition to expand its scale and influence.

At the opening of the two-day event, which attracted 3,100 startups, 1,800 investors and over 20,000 people, the chief executive officer of Slush Andreas Saari announced the launch of Slush Academy, which aims to offer guidance and tuition to startups.

The program will give students from around the world access to training for high-growth entrepreneurship. Students will have access to internships and mentoring in growth companies and former startups that have grown to be large players.

A long list of academic partners was published, including Oxford Said Business School, London Business School, Aalto University, UC Berkeley, Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Slush Academy is scheduled to start in 2019, and will be gradually scaled up to a full program and free of charge to the participants.

The idea of the academy was born from the realization that current study programs around the world are covering very limited parts of the toolkit of an entrepreneur with global ambitions.

"Slush was originally founded to change the attitudes towards entrepreneurship by helping the local entrepreneurs thrive and pass their knowledge to the next generation of founders," said Saari.

The opening ceremony was also addressed by Risto Siilasmaa, Nokia chairman of board of directors. He underlined the entrepreneurs are responsible both for success and failure. "Everything that goes wrong is the fault of the entrepreneur," he said.

He added that it is possible to create an atmosphere where salaried managers and employees feel the kind of responsibility the entrepreneurs have, but "it is difficult to accomplish."

Slush started ten years ago as a student-driven event with 150 participants. Today it is the leading European meeting between startups and investors. This year Slush has also arranged events in Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore.

Helsingin Sanomat, a leading newspaper in Finland, said that most startup entrepreneurs actually end up going bankrupt and the people who have toiled in those startups, with low salaries, get nothing in the end.

The newspaper wrote that the newly announced Slush Academy reflects the brave attitude that the young Finnish organizers have shown over the years when contacting the world's leading technology directors and investors.

"One could imagine that the directors of London School of Economics or Oxford Said Business School would laugh when a Finnish student community calls and wants to hijack their brands and that of the most famous capital investors, but the situation is just the other way round," Helsingin Sanomat wrote.

Timo Ahopelto, chairman of the board of Slush, said that Slush is planning major growth, even to multiply its volume.

"When Slush started, Finland was a white spot in the map of foreign investors. Now Slush has established its position as one of the most important meeting places of growth entrepreneurs and investors," Helsingin Sanomat quoted Ahopelto as saying.

Moafak Ahmed, a member of the board, said the city of Helsinki could also benefit more from Slush. Helsinki could become an international startup hub.

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