Think Company aims to bring academics to action

– We want to help those who want to tear down the walls between research and academia on the one hand, and entrepreneurship and activism on the other hand, says Jarkko Nissinen at Helsinki Think Company.

By combining academic knowledge with entrepreneurial diligence, Helsinki Think Company wants to unleash the power of ideas at the university.

Helsinki Think Company is an incubator that has been around since 2013 and aims at supporting entrepreneurship. It provides office space, networks, trainings, meetings and events. Members include students, researchers and entrepreneurs around the University of Helsinki. The idea is to create a creative environment, a community for people with ideas – it is open to all and free of charge.

– Our role is to create a creative, urban environment for entrepreneurship and start-ups. We do this by involving students and letting them manage activities. It sounds simple, but in practice there was no body for this before the foundation of Helsinki Think Company, says Jarkko Nissinen.

It is about changing attitudes and making entrepreneurship and start-ups a natural opportunity for academia.

– All universities have their own culture and academia is not always open to commercialisation. Our role is to try to lead the way – to give an example of how to do things and create permissive environments.

Helsinki Think Company is one of the participants at the UniverCITY Partnerships Conference 12-14th of October in Stockholm and Uppsala. It brings together cities and regions from around the world to discuss how to improve collaboration between universities, industry and the public sector.

Jarkko Nissinen sees students and academia as an important factor in meeting the societal challenges of the future.

– By providing venues, drawing on good examples and offering a wide range of opportunities, we can facilitate dialogue between different parties.

There are a number of start-ups under Helsinki Think Company. Ideas on how waste can become a resource, how to better connect people and skills or how to use new solutions to make use of common areas in buildings, are just a few.

Jarkko Nissinen also sees Helsinki Think Company as a means of preparing students for a future labour market.

– We are talking about the ability to run projects, but also how to network and build a personal brand – qualities that will be important on tomorrow’s labour market.