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Entrepreneur students in the arts presented their fresh ideas at Pitch Your Art – Uniarts Demo Day organised by Uniarts Helsinki

On Tuesday, 12 February, participating students in Uniarts Helsinki’s Uniarts Hub programme presented their business ideas at Pitch Your Art – Uniarts Demo Day in front of the audience and jury. The event was open for everyone, and it was held in English. The event wrapped up this autumn’s edition of the Uniarts Hub programme, and students were awarded diplomas after their participation. The application period for the next edition of the programme has already started.

Uniarts Hub is a pre-incubator programme that aims to support entrepreneurship in the creative sector and arts industries. The programme offers an extensive info package on different possibilities of entrepreneurship as well as development support for the participants’ personal business ideas. The application period for the next edition of the Uniarts Hub programme is open from 12 December 2023 to 22 January 2024. The programme will run from 27 February until 21 May 2024.

The pre-incubator is part of the Campus Incubators Programme, which is funded by the City of Helsinki, and its partners include Aalto University, Arcada, Haaga-Helia, Hanken, the University of Helsinki and Metropolia, in addition to Uniarts Helsinki. Some of the institutions offer business incubator services to already-established businesses. Participants are awarded 8 ECTS credits for participating in the programme.

Demo Day supports entrepreneurship and offers a chance to test out ideas

In her opening speech for the event, Project Manager for Uniarts Hub Kati Uusi-Rauva stated that Uniarts Hub aims to equip people in the arts with the basic tools needed for potentially planning their own business.

Kati Uusi-Rauva opened the event

“People in the arts and creative sector often end up as entrepreneurs – either as a “light entrepreneur”, soletrader or, a bit more seldom, as an owner of a limited liability company – due to practical reasons and in order to be able to invoice for their work. Generally speaking, teaching in entrepreneurship isn’t part of professional core studies in creative and cultural fields. That’s why the ability to consider pursuing entrepreneurship as a career option is kind of marginal. The competence shortage has also led to a lack of skills to develop business strategies for companies, even though in these fields up to 30 % of the professionals work as entrepreneurs,” Uusi-Rauva summarises the field.

The members of the jury in the event were Riitta Huttunen (Working Life Lecturer at Uniarts Helsinki), Pete Karumo (Project Manager and Tremor Incubator of University of Helsinki) and Blair Stevenson (Team Leader Centre for Arts Innovation, Oulu University of Applied Sciences). The event was moderated by Elsa Ervasti.

One of the jury members in the event, Riitta Huttunen, noted that entrepreneurship-inspired thinking is an important career skill for the future.

Riitta Huttunen
Riitta Huttunen, Working Life Lecturer at Uniarts Helsinki

“It’s important to have the required skills and information on how to design your own talent into a service. The Demo Day event was really inspiring, and the business ideas we heard in the event were a testament to how an artist can design their own competence into a service that can respond to major societal and global challenges,” Huttunen commented.

Training pitching gives confidence

Students who presented their ideas were programme participants Noora Geagea, Henna Paasonen, Cristian Dohanici, Kamil El-Ahmadieh, Thomas Velissaris and Christian Lafertte.

The first pitch of the event was given by Noora Geagea, who talked about her idea to expand the possibilities of art and its meaning in working life. She said that artistic practice can help solve various problems and introduce new perspectives and ideas to the labour market.

“The basis of my idea is methods of expressive art therapy. I’m currently working on my own new exhibition, and I’ve solved many questions and problems using these methods.This pitching event was fun, because I find all the participants brilliant thinkers. It’s always interesting to share your ideas and at the same time, also be open to others’ ideas,” Geagea said.

One of the presenters was Christian Lafertte, who pitched his photography business Photo HC Studios, which has already partnered with major organisations, such as Halti and the Ministry of Finance.

“The event was well-produced, cosy and pleasant. In time, I’ve become familiar with pitching, and this was already my third time pitching my idea to other people. The programme was a chance to get more practice in this area, which helps in anxiety over presentation situations,” Lafertte commented.

All the participants of the event (from left to right: Elsa Ervasti, Pete Karumo, Thomas Velissaris, Blair Stevenson, Henna Paasonen, Kamil El-Ahmadieh, Cristian Dohanici, Emilia Forss, Noora Geagea, Riitta Huttunen and Kati Uusi-Rauva)

The next application round to Uniarts Helsinki’s Uniarts Hub programme runs from 12 December 2023 to 22 January 2024. The programme will begin on 27 February 2024 and continue until 21 May.

More information:

Emilia Forss, emilia.forss@uniarts.fi

Art-Up: Artists in Business

Uniarts Hub pre-incubator programmer’s blog showcases the possibilities of entrepreneurship in the culture and arts industries.

Here you’ll get to know the Hub’s participants, inspiring people in the industry and thoughts on how to combine artistry and business.

Read more about the Uniarts Hub programme.

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