Startup projects

STARTER 2016-2023

Hands-on extra-curricular business development programme STARTER provides knowledge and skills for student start-up projects and helps teams to shape their ideas into tested business models. 
The semester-long STARTER programme consists of workshops that guide teams from ideation to business model. Teams receive individual mentoring from start-up founders or entrepreneurs and regular performance evaluations from instructors.  The programme starts with the Idea Hackathon open to all students across disciplines. Individuals and teams with ideas across various sectors are welcome. Under the guidance of the moderator, teams are formed and instructions on initial validation are given. The programme ends with business and project ideas competition DeltaX that has a number of cash prizes and access to start-up ecosystem services. sTARTUp Lab ran also STARTER programmes in Pärnu and Narva  until 2022. 

During the workshops, participants get guidance from mentors and supervisors who encourage teams to stretch their comfort zone and validate their product with potential users or customers. Between the workshops, teams get coaching to support professional and personal development.

Individuals participating in workshops (60%) + Mentor Feedback Carousel and pre-selection of business ideas competition Kaleidoskoop receive the University of Tartu electronic certificate.


More about each workshop:


Idea Hackathon

September 14th at 16:00 @UT Delta Centre, Room 1021 (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)

At the STARTERtartu Idea Hackathon we offer you inspiring speeches on different areas of life and the future. We will teach you how to generate ideas, how to recognize good ideas and what to do with an idea? Come to Idea Hackathon to find new ideas and turn them into reality!

If you have an idea already, we will help you to test its viability, find a world-class team, take the first steps and turn your idea into reality. If you don't, we'll help you to find "the right" idea and a team to conquer the world with it.

All students from all fields of study are welcome!


Business Model Canvas

September 21st at 16:00 @UT Delta Centre (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)

In Business Model Canvas workshop, you'll learn how to frame and answer key questions about a business model and execute it.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Ability to substantially ideate, describe, evaluate and discuss a business model using the Business Model Canvas
  2. Hands-on understanding of how to use personas and problem scenarios to articulate the Offer’s key drivers
  3. Hands-on understanding of how to use the AIDA(OR) framework and storyboards to evaluate the effectiveness of Customer Relationships and Channels
  4. Understanding of business type and how to evaluate Key Activities, Resources, and Partnerships in this context

Mentor Feedback Carousel 

October 5th @SPARK

What is Mentor Feedback Carousel? Shortly said it is an event where you will get professional feedback on your idea from local entrepreneurs and field experts. It is also one of the most valued events during the programme.

Mentoring is considered a critical foundational component for building a successful startup. Great product or service that provides solutions for pain points is good, but a great mentor who helps to keep a startup on the right track is equally important.

3 things that startups gain from mentoring sessions.

  • Mentors simply know things that you don't (yet). A mentor from the same industry helps you to understand the nuances of the business.
  • Entrepreneurship is not always easy and someone who has walked that path knows the challenges and guides you appropriately.
  • Mentor has the potential to open multiple doors for you.

Product and Service Design 

October 19th at 16:00@UT Delta Centre (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)

You will hear about real-life examples of how approaching product development really makes a huge difference, how the whole story of a company turns into a totally different direction when implementing design thinking.

You will also examine the tools used in the design process and feature prioritization that will help you to focus on delivering value, not just building stuff.

"To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit; it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse." — Paul Rand, Author, Graphic Designer, Teacher




October 26th at 16:00 @UT Delta Centre (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)

How to market your service or product?

In this workshop you will learn how to find your first customers and start hacking your growth from there. You will get tools to define your perfect customer, craft marketing messages and find out the best marketing channels to reach your clients. We will also discuss free and low-budget marketing channels you can use to get the first traction and start scaling your business.

With limited resources in terms of both budget and people, we'll try and figure out what marketing strategy fits your product the best and how to focus on getting traction as quickly as possible.

Marketing without a strategy is like a blind dragon – it can breathe fire and cause destruction (usually to your budget) but without purpose.


Revenue Models and Funding

November 2nd at 16:00 @UT Delta Centre (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)

Sometimes entrepreneurs think they can leave the finance and the numbers to the bookkeepers and accountants. That's a really bad idea. Operations are like the body of your business, strategy is the brain behind it, and finance is the lifeblood that sustains it. Startups are usually great in operations and strategy, but what can set them apart from failing ventures is their knowledge of finance and accounting.

All teams get to put together a financial plan and hear what to consider about the business's legal side.


Pitching Training

November 9th at 16:00 @UT Delta Centre (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)

Pitching is a good way to draw attention to your idea, attract investors and put yourself to the test. In addition, it helps to develop your public speaking skills, and a great pitch can bring success! As STARTER programme teams are soon going to pitch their ideas at Kaleidoskoop, it’s time to perfect the pitches!

Why is this important? If you haven't practiced pitching out loud before, you don't know exactly how it feels.

You will practice pitching with a natural voice and intonation, design a pitch, practice it and get feedback!

DeltaX Student Business Ideas Competition Pre-selection

November 23rd @UT Delta Centre (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)

We are inviting all early-stage student teams and startups to participate in the students’ business ideas competition Kaleidoskoop! In the pre-selection round, the best teams will be selected to compete in the finals. In the finals, teams will compete for a lot of cool awards like money awards, tickets, special awards and more.

DeltaX Preselection is not just the final event of the STARTER programme but an opportunity for teams to be seen and to introduce their product or service.



Finals at sTARTUp Day

Finals have been a great starting point for many student teams who are now functioning companies. For example, the winner of the 2017 autumn season, Decomer Technology produces water-soluble packaging materials. The winner of the 2018 autumn season, TRIT makes ordering translation services easier. The best Starter team in 2019, CommuniCare is a social platform that unites volunteers all over Estonia to provide companions and communication partners for the elderly living in nursing homes. The winner of the 2019 Autumn season, the student team Münt produces eco-friendly toothpaste tablets. In 2022 at the sTARTUp Day finals Bankery, a fintech company that brings together loan applicants and banks to enable private individuals to get loans faster, cheaper, and with higher probability, got the Edu&Tegu award. Team Join who also competed at the sTARTUp Day finals 2022 developed an application that helps users achieve their goals by supporting each other. Now they have over 1500 people in their commune.

The best teams from DeltaX pre-selection will compete in the finals for money awards, tickets to different desired events, special awards and more.

Previous winners are sharing why should you apply. Read here!

Remember to hop on board to start up your startup.🚀


REGISTER:  and select STARTER@tartu

CONTACT: Maret Ahonen; Hannah Kaarma


STARTER programme is funded by the European Social Fund.