During the Spring Tribe Tampere organized American Entrepreneurial Challenge (AEC) 2021 in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy Finland. AEC is a competition organized for young entrepreneurial students to bring their fresh perspectives for new business ideas, create viable business plans, and successfully pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges.

In total, there were 38 teams competing in two different categories in the competition. Primary School (7-9 grade) & Upper Secondary School. The challenge consisted of four Semifinals, two Finals and Summer Camp for the best teams from the Upper Secondary School category.

Virtual Semifinals & Finals were organized During April and the beginning of May. Summer camp was organized in Tribe Tampere headquarters at Platform6 fifth floor.

“It was a wonderful experience for our whole team to help these young entrepreneurs with their entrepreneurial journey and provide this experience for them. The whole project is about educating our future business leaders and professionals about entrepreneurship and that way supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem” says Project Coordinator Juho Mäkinen. 

Challenge gathered competitors from all around Finland

Semifinal Categories

One semifinal was organized for the Primary School Category. In this category 13 teams competed for securing their place in Finals where the 5 best teams would compete again against each other after receiving pitching coaching and developing their business for one month.

In the Upper Secondary School Category there were three semifinals organized for a total of 25 teams. From each semifinals, three teams secured their place in the finals. In the semifinal stage, teams first presented their pre-recorded pitch and after that followed a Q&A session held between members of the team and the jury. Jury consisted of U.S Embassy representatives and entrepreneurial students from Entrepreneurship Societies (ES´s).

Primary School category finals were organized on 5.5.2021 and Upper Secondary School finals on 12.5.2021. In the finals the pitches were given live and the time for the Q&A was slightly higher, a total of 5 minutes. In the finals the jury consisted of senior persons and also inspirational keynote speakers participated to give the best possible experience for the young talents and inspire them to continue on their journey. Both competitions were tough and teams were extremely talented and had prepared themselves well to compete for the victory of the challenge.

Primary School Finals Jury: Raymond Marcero, Sonja Lahtinen, Niklas Kiviluoto, Mike Klyszeiko & Vesa-Matti Ruottinen

“Working as a jury member in the finals and business coach in the final summer camp, I had the honour to meet the finalist teams, and it was proven once again what influx of talented brainpower could do. When given the right opportunity, skilled students performed in an outstanding manner to create unique value to education, well-being, leisure and other industries, and several of them had taken sustainable and charitable values into the core of their project” says Tommi Uitti, Startup Community Manager at Business Tampere.

Primary School category winner Minisoap UF pitching their business

Primary School Category Winner

Winner of the Primary School category was Minisoap UF from Kristiinankaupunki which produces small soaps to be easily taken with you everywhere you go. Founders Sofie, Ida and Adeline had already made revenue with the product and they have their store open on social media. Jury liked their well structured and visualialized pitch. Also the amount of sales already done was enough to prove the concept and made an impression on the jury.

AEC 2021 team member Michelle Frank and Upper Secondary School Finals Jury: Ian Campbell, Noora Fagerström, Ilkka Kaikuvuo, Lena Grenat and Tommi Uitti

Upper Seconday School Category Winner

Winner of the Upper Secondary School category was Urmus Rings from Helsinki which is a company manufacturing Finnish wooden rings crafted by hand. Founders Emil and Anton started their pitch strong by telling a story of their concern about almost everything happening on phones, internet and social media. Urmus Rings offered their rings as a way to capture a memory and have a moment with nature. Jury picked them as the winner because of the delivery of the pitch and the uniqueness of the product. Urmus Rings continued their American Entrepreneurial Challenge journey to Summer Camp held in Tampere with two other teams: Investor Connect and Enlight.

Upper Secondary School category winner Urmus Rings pitching their business

You can watch both finals in Tribe Tampere Youtube channel; Primary School Final / Upper Secondary School Final

Summer Camp Summary

Urmus Rings, Investor Connect and Enlight participated in the Tampere Summer Camp during the weekend on 11 – 13.6. The goal of the Summer Camp was to coach and mentor the teams forward and give them a good kickstart to continue on their entrepreneurial journey. First day started with the icebreaker, introductions, keynote speeches and business coaching. It was an intensive day for the students but it gave the right hunch of level of seriousness of the Summer Camp. 

Second day kicked off with talking about the future of the participants which was followed by a workshop given by Mirza Sagdati and Selina Kustula from Red Brick Accelerator. The workshop was about validating their business and finding who their customer is as precisely as possible. Teams enjoyed the intensive workshop and were able to go forward with their business strategy. Day ended with having some fun by going to play lasertag and after that watching the afterall dramatic football game Finland had against Denmark in EURO2020 tournament. 

Last day of the Summer Camp was about going even more deeper with the lessons learned in the workshop on Saturday. Teams finished again their pitch decks and gave the final pitches with updated information and knowledge about their business. Teams had developed a lot during the weekend and it was clearly visible in the pitch decks and the feedback teams gave to the organizers. 

AEC 2021 team and the Summer Camp participants

AEC 2021 has now come to the end but the teams are continuing their journey. Also Tribe Tampere is eagerly waiting for a possibility for organizing such a challenge again. In all, the whole concept has been giving a great community spirit for Tribe and the community has had a chance to breathe the atmosphere of new entrepreneurs rising and starting their journey.

And last but not least, we invite you to apply to become part of the Tribe Tampere Fellowship Program where you have the chance to be at the heart of the Tampere startup ecosystem. You will become a part of a community where you get support to develop yourself as well as your ideas.

               Click Here To Apply for Tribe Tampere Fellowship Program