Startup Garden

Summer Program in Aalto Campus, Finland

Startup Garden Summer Program 2021

25 July 2021 – 6 August 2021

Aalto Campus, Espoo, Finland, Europe

4-10 ECTS

Global Touch to Business and Growth Entrepreneurship

Startup Garden Summer Program is a two-week intensive hands-on program introducing you to the fundamentals of business and growth entrepreneurship while steering you through the initial stages of setting up a successful growth venture. The summer program covers the must-know business themes for any growth entrepreneur, such as opportunity recognition, value creation, value capture, intellectual property rights, business strategy, innovation management, financial modeling, digital transformation, business plan, investor presentation, and pitching. Furthermore, the modern interactive learning methods and other unique practices applied in the program will help you to master interaction and presentation skills, which are critical to success in business.

Startup Garden Summer Program emphasises workshops, hands-on experiences, group assignments, coaching and inventing together. Participants will work in teams. Each team will work on developing a startup throughout the course and pitch the business plan to a panel of investors. The language of the course is English.

Startup Garden Summer Program is organized at Aalto Campus, City of Espoo, Finland, by Aalto Advisors in collaboration with international experts from great universities, such as Stanford University, Tsinghua University, and MIT, as well as venture organizations and companies.


“Startup Garden is an exceptional program for entrepreneurial  minded students. You will meet and greet people who are inspired by entrepreneurship and new ways of doing things.“

     – Mark Nelson, Co-Founder, Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford

“The Startup Garden provides a unique opportunity to get to know global excellence in modern technology ventures. It is a great chance to get together with like-minded brilliant people from all around the world.“

     – Dr. Timo Nyberg, Director, Startup Garden 2018


Application period for the summer program 2021 starts soon

Schedule 2021 summer

Week 0: Arrival and welcome reception

Sunday 25 July 2021

  • Arrival at Aalto Campus
  • Accommodation arrangements
  • Welcome reception


Week 1: Focus on value creation — analyzing problems and developing solutions

Monday 26 July 2021

  • Opening lecture
  • Business fundamentals
  • Team management and leadership

Tuesday 27 July 2021

  • The introduction to entrepreneurship
  • Analytical thinking
  • Identifying and analysing unsatisfied needs
  • Visit Aalto ecosystem, team formation continues

Wednesday 28 July 2021

  • Opportunity recognition
  • Developing solutions addressing the identified unsatisfied needs
  • BBQ dinner

Thursday 29 July 2021

  • Essential building blocks of a successful digital growth venture
  • Financial engineering
  • Visit Nokia 5G

Friday 30 July 2021

  • Communication master class
  • Friday brunch
  • Value creation pitch and feedback

Saturday 31 July 2021

  • Co-created cultural program

Sunday 1 Aug 2021

  • Co-created cultural program


Week 2: Focus on value capture — developing growth business solutions

Monday 2 Aug 2021

  • Monday team breakfast with first week summary and videos
  • Intellectural property rights and long-term value capture
  • Stone workshop and design

Tuesday 3 Aug 2021

  • Strategic management theories: how to gain competitive advantage?
  • Growth business financing
  • Flee market, customer engagement

Wednesday 4 Aug 2021

  • Flipped classroom: Business development in digital era
  • Strategic management of technology and innovation
  • Collaborative BBQ

Thursday 5 Aug 2021

  • Flipped classroom: Scalable pitching for fundraising
  • Operations and innovation management
  • Visit startup community

Friday 6 Aug 2021

  • Final pitching and feedback
  • Student feedback
  • Awards ceremony



Our lecturers, coaches and coordinators

Prof. Dr. Timo Nyberg

Program Leader

Timo established his first company 30 years ago as a young student. Since then he has been an active entrepreneur, civil servant, educator and researcher with special interest in international Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Venture Management. Timo’s notable positions include Senior Fellow in Venture Management at Aalto University and Visiting Professor in Cloud Computing Business at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Dr. Peter Kelly

Distinguished Lecturer

Peter is a Professor of Practice in High-Growth Entrepreneurship at Aalto University. His lectures are wildly popular among students, so it is no wonder that he also holds visiting professorships in business at Trinity College Dublin and in design at Universidade Pontificia Catolica de Chile, Santiago. Over the past 15 years Peter has worked with entrepreneurs in Finland, Sweden, the UK, Portugal, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, Chile, and Canada.

Mark Nelson

Distinguished Lecturer

Former relief-worker, investment banker, and social entrepreneur, Mark Nelson founded and co-directs Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford University. Mark focuses on designing, catalyzing, incentivizing, and generating resources to scale up collective positive human behavior change. His mission is to create an entirely new, profitable industry, where positive peace is delivered as a service.

Dr. Jari Handelberg

Workshop Leader

Jari is the leading researcher at the Aalto University Small Business Center. He specializes in managing growth, creating new business and renewing organizational models, and has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship. He is also known for his skills as a speaker. Jari is an international fellow who has worked in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Austria.

MSc Matti Hämäläinen

Lecturer and Coach

Matti is the Head of Operations at Hongkong Polytechnic. He has held numerous product/service creation courses and really knows his business when it comes to international operations – he was a part of establishing the Aalto Design Factory Shanghai at the Tongji University Campus. Matti is also a Co-Founder of Riihi Consulting.

MSc Meri Vainio


Meri is the Coach for Yonsei University’s Design Factory Korea, building the organisation, space, and culture. The target is to bridge the gap between Korean universities and industry, and to create something never-seen-before with students, the faculty and the industry. She also has experience from the Aalto-Tongji Design Factory and the Sino-Finnish Centre in Shanghai, of which she did her Master’s Thesis.

Michael Yang


Michael is a graduate from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Cognitive Science. While mainly interested in medicine, he also loves to dabble in other fields such as computer science and business. During his off time, you can find him either wandering around the city trying out food or trying to catch pokemon.

MSc Philippe Pépin


Philippe is a French Canadian IP specialist, who has graduated from Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. Currently he’s building an energy tech startup, Teraloop, which has successfully gathered significant funding. Philippe has also authored an IP strategy for startups book.

Msc. Akatsuki Ryu

Program coordinator

Full-stack developer and UX designer with experience of working in multi-disciplinary teams including tech, business and design backgrounds. more than 10 years digital service and development experience . rapid prototyping and hacking.

BSc Joanna Mehtälä

Program Advisor

Joanna is an Aalto University Information Networks student, who loves creating all things digital and visual. After working as the Program Coordinator in 2015, she is now an Advisor in the program and administers the website. Previously, Joanna has worked at SLUSH as a part of the communications and social media team – read her blog posts here.

Suzin Kim

Program Coordinator

Suzin is a student at Sungshin Women’s University in Korea majoring in Information Technology. She was one of the participants at Startup Garden 2015, and decided to build her own startup after the program. She is now working in a startup team called ILLIO, which was built during Startup Garden 2015. Suzin enjoys new challenges.

Miss Hyewon


Miss Hyewon is Startup Garden 2016 alumni. She an energy pack with great ideas for work and free time. She will help us to coordinate the Korean events and with any other practical issues we may have.

Elisabeth Vu

Junior Coordinator

Elisabeth is a student in the International Business Program at Lauttasaari High School. With her international roots, language skills and hands-on persona, she has been a part of international projects and events, including volunteering at SLUSH. Elisabeth speaks social media as her second language and has used it in marketing and events such as Nuori Yrittäjyys Uskalla Yrittää finals.

Micaela Orellana

Junior Coordinator

Micaela is a first-year student at Lauttasaari High School studying International Business. She has worked as a volunteer at SLUSH and other international events. Her passions are studying different cultures and sports.

MSc Kari Mikkelä

Urban Mill Executive Producer

Kari Mikkelä has 25 years of experience in learning, training and innovation service productions. He has worked for several organisations specializing in user-driven innovation and ICT services co-creation. He has overseen well over 200 successful initiatives. At the moment Kari acts as the Executive Producer of the Urban Mill Co-creation Platform at Aalto University campus.

MSc Lars Miikki

Urban Mill Co-Producer

Lars Miikki, Senior Consultant at Järvelin Design, operates as Urban Miller and co-producer of the Urban Mill Innovation Accelerator Platform in Espoo Innovation Garden. He has also been operating in several regional research and development projects and initiatives developing and promoting the Espoo Innovation Garden concept in the City of Espoo as one of the leading innovation hubs.

Elle Aropaltio


Elle is a student in the International Business Program at Lauttasaari High School. She is very passionate about photographing. You can often see her taking pictures of the things that interest her. Elle writes her own personal blog. The blog is mainly filled with photographs she takes but here and there you can read about her thoughts in life.

Jenny Hytönen


Jenny is a student in the international Business program at Lauttasaari high school. She is energetic and always on the move kind of a person. She has been participated in different kinds of international projects and events.


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Week 4 Recap
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Week 2 recap
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Week 1 recap
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First Day of Startup Garden 2017
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View Archives >>



The student team spaces can be found at Urban Mill, located between Startup Sauna and Aalto Design Factory at the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi, Espoo (Street Address: Betonimiehenkuja 3, Espoo, Finland). Most of the lectures will also be held at Urban Mill. One place of the accommodation of the students is at Forenom Hostel (Street Address: Kivimiehentie 2, Espoo), which is only a 5-minute walk away from Urban Mill.

Program Leader Timo Nyberg