Entrepreneurial spirit of Tartu students takes them to USA to develop business ideas
Three University of Tartu Idea Lab teams were chosen for the international Network Globally, Act Locally programme to develop their business ideas. The programme begins today in Tartu, where the entrepreneurial youth from two USA universities have also arrived, and ends on 24 June in Nebraska, USA, where teams will present their business ideas to the local business people.
Head of UT Idea Lab Maret Ahonen said that although the participating Estonian teams have already introduced themselves in their home country and received recognition, the opportunity to participate in the USA–Estonia cooperation programme might make them think even bigger and cross-border, because behind each Estonian team’s idea is great potential: “Looking at how different the specialisations are that are represented in these teams, it proves that entrepreneurial spirit is hidden in each student. The main thing is initiative and motivation to dedicate to something for a longer time, which in the future might be the main source of income.”
Estonia is represented by the winners of the UT business and project idea competition Kaleidoskoop, the creators of the website Konku for rental ads without estate agent fee, Need2Park, which participated in the competition Ajujaht and developed the software for parking management, and the winner of the county government special prize at last year’s Kaleidoskoop, web platform Hire Young by UT Ukrainian students of Business Administration, which helps students enter the labour market successfully and enterprises find the best employee to meet their terms.
One of the leaders of Konku, UT student of Law Joonas Põder said that their expectation for the programme is to gain ideas and inspiration from other teams. “When we go to the USA, we want to learn about the local real estate market to evaluate the expansion possibilities for Konku and find potential additional functions,” said Põder, hoping that they will meet future investors in the USA and can make a name for themselves.
In addition to UT students, the College of Charleston and Nebraska Wesleyan University of the USA will also participate in the programme. During three weeks, they will meet founders and leaders of start-up companies that have already achieved success and recognition and who will share their experience and give feedback to the developments of the entrepreneurial students.
From Estonia best practices will be shared by one of the founders of the accelerator of things Aleksander Tõnnisson, leader of Garage48 and co-founder of Mooncascade Priit Salumaa. Participants will also visit the offices of Startup Estonia, Transferwise and Pipedrive.
The project is funded by the participating universities and the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation, which supports student and academic staff mobility with UT partners Nebraska Wesleyan University and the College of Charleston.
Head of UT Idea Lab
Starter pre-incubation programme teams gained new motivation from mentors for idea development
One of the key events in the StarterTartu programme is the Mentor Feedback Carousel, where teams meet mentors from various fields to receive crucial feedback on their ideas. This year, the event took place on October 5th at Spark HUB, the center of the startup and technology community, bringing together 11 mentors and 22 teams, with a total of 100 students benefiting from the mentors' valuable insights.