Campus Incubators programme

The Campus Incubators programme aims to increase the number of start-ups, support RDI-based entrepreneurship and improve the growth potential of the resulting companies. The City of Helsinki aims to strengthen the development of the local university campuses into hubs of innovation and new business creation, and to create campus-based incubator programmes in cooperation with universities.

Participants of the incubator programmes learn the basics of entrepreneurship and how to start a business. The programme focuses on developing business activities, building a team around the business idea, understanding customer needs, sales, and marketing, among other topics. To support this work, the participants have open access to workspaces, tools, and events which gather people interested about entrepreneurship.

The City of Helsinki’s role focuses on developing the cooperation between campus-based incubator programmes and innovation ecosystem. On a practical level, this means identifying common goals and topics to work on and strengthening the connections of the incubators with relevant partners. We aim to strengthen the existing incubator activities in the region and to clarify the service pathways for accelerating companies and boosting entrepreneurship.

The Campus Incubators programme is implemented in cooperation with Aalto University, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Hanken School of Economics, the University of Helsinki, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and the University of the Arts. Each of these educational institutions bring their own strengths and specific expertise to the programme. The incubators carry out complementary roles and organise joint events, for example. The incubator programmes are primarily for students, researchers and university alumni. However, applying to an incubator programme does not require you to be enrolled at any specific university. 


Campus incubators are located at the following universities: The University of Helsinki, Aalto University, Metropolia, University of the Arts, Arcada, Haaga-Helia and Hanken. Each university brings its own strengths and specific expertise to incubator activity. Each campus incubator also has a tailor-made plan for the coming years. The incubators play complementary roles but also organise, among other things, joint training programmes.

Aalto University’s aim is to grow an entrepreneurial pathway based on creativity and intangible capital alongside strong technology-focused incubator activity. The purpose of the Aalto Digital Creatives incubator is to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in the creative industries. The quest is to find creative projects that apply future digital technologies. Projects selected for the programme will have access to the latest technologies for developing content, services and product prototypes in the creative sectors.  

Aalto University’s strength lies in opening up its digital media research infrastructure to wide use by other campus incubators and creative sectors. Aalto University’s strong innovation ecosystem supports programme participants in developing their creative ideas into sustainable business. The programme is coordinated by the Aalto Startup Center and Aalto Studios. 

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Arcada aims to create an entrepreneurial culture on campus, with activities and concrete tools to encourage our students to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses. Through the Campus Incubators programme in collaboration with the City of Helsinki, they are developing a completely new operating model and learning environment, which supports co-creation and entrepreneurial thinking. The schools international and multi-professional environment in combination with focus on sustainability create great potential for new innovations and business ideas. Arcada’s expertise in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and simulation also provide strong support for the creation of new businesses. 

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Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences aims to open doors to working life, and entrepreneurship is a key part of the university's strategy. Central to the university’s activity is the ability to offer students practical options and opportunities for developing their entrepreneurial and business skills at university level and for promoting their own business activities in connection with their studies. Haaga-Helia's campus incubator activity serves this purpose well.  

The university’s StartUp School activities focus on entrepreneurship education, agile experimentation, impactful and practical projects, commercial projects and the community comprising the university and its stakeholders. The aim is to embed pre-incubator services that have been proven to work into a more permanent StartUp School service offering. This will strengthen the impact of both the City of Helsinki's startup ecosystem and Haaga-Helia's StartUp School in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area well into the future. 

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The Hanken School of Economics aims to develop preconditions for early-stage entrepreneurship from idea to enterprise and thereby create new business and career opportunities for its students. The Campus Incubators programme will develop pre-incubation activities on campus and contribute to deepening cooperation with other universities and universities of applied sciences in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Hanken’s strength lies in its strong existing entrepreneurship research, teaching and business incubator activities. Its commercial and international expertise is particularly valuable for developing new growth-oriented businesses.

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The University of Helsinki aims to strengthen positive cultural change and in particular to create new competences, entrepreneurial skills and research-based companies. Its strengths include world-class infrastructure, the integration of different research disciplines and perspectives, and the building of interesting interdisciplinary clusters. 

Helsinki Incubators programme(Link leads to external service) is for empowering bold thinkers to create their own entrepreneurial path. Programmes are designed to give the know-how and support needed to bring ideas to life. Entrepreneurship programmes are for students, researchers, alumni and the broader community.

Compass is an 8-week pre-incubator programme in Deep Tech, AI, & Sustainability. Compass is for learning the basics of entrepreneurship and refine nascent ideas into workable solutions. Programme is for teams or individuals with an idea and an interest in developing it. 

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Nexus is a 6-month incubator programme in Deep Tech, AI, & Sustainability. Programme is for developing crystallised ideas into scalable, fundable born-global startups.

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Särö/Fracture is an 8-week pre-incubator in Social Impact. Programme is for learning the basics of entrepreneurship and creating ideas for a better society.

Tremor is a 6-month incubator programme in Social Impact . Tremor is the place to cause shockwaves by taking well-defined solutions and work on turning them into entrepreneurial reality with support and mentoring tailored to change-making needs. Programme is for transforming ideas into meaningful ventures

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Circulator is an 8-week pre-incubator programme in Circular Economy. Programme is for turning ideas into sustainable solutions and learning the basics of entrepreneurship. 

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Biosphere is a 6-month incubator programme in Bio and Circular Economy, forestry, and agriculture. Programme is for taking solutions and creating sustainable impact through startups.

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HealthX is an 8-week pre-incubator programme in healthcare, health tech, mental healtha and animal health. Programme is for turning nascent ideas into promising solutions for the future of health.

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SPARK Finland & Health Incubator Helsinki is a long-term development pipeline for early-stage Health-sector startups. It is for developing solutions into startups with the time-scale and supporting the health-sector requires.

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Metropolia also aims to increase the entrepreneurial skills of its staff and to create new entrepreneurial study paths in degree programmes. In the future, Metropolia will strengthen the commercialisation and effective further exploitation of the results of RDI activities as new business activity. In the Campus Incubators programme, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences focuses on strengthening early-stage services for companies and teams and on developing new pre-incubator activities.  

Turbiini, Metropolia's campus incubator, has been operating since 2015. Turbiini specialises in the first stage of entrepreneurship. Metropolia students and alumni can participate in Turbiini's activities either with a business idea or with an existing business. The pre-incubator programme has been integrated into the offering of courses (10 credits) as part of the optional entrepreneurship studies. Turbiini operates on three different campuses: Arabia's creative sectors, Myllypuro's social and health services and real estate and construction sectors, and Myyrmäki's business and technology sectors. 

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The University of the Arts offers Finland's highest level of education in music, visual arts, theatre and dance. In addition to providing the highest quality in its own field, its role as a university is also to ensure that its graduating artists are best equipped to be professionals in a changing art world. The University of the Arts aims to help the whole art world reinvent itself and find sustainable solutions in the transformation caused by digitalisation, diversifying job descriptions and uncertain funding. That is why it supports its students, researchers and art professionals in developing arts-led business and innovation. The Campus Incubators programme complements and provides a concrete means and platform for students to collaborate on workplace skills and entrepreneurship studies at the University of the Arts. 

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In the initial phase, co-development themes will include sustainable solutions for the food chain, health and life sciences, digital creative sectors, real estate and construction.

Read more:

Helsinki higher education institutions promote opportunities for entrepreneurship (published 3.10.2022)

Campus Incubators programme expanding and diversifying to create new companies through cooperation (published 31.3.2022)

Network of business incubators to be created on Helsinki campuses – aiming for 100 new companies per year (published 10.1.2022)

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