The search is on: A bioeconomy giant is looking for brave startups

Ville Blåfield

“Nothing like this has ever been done before”, says Fabian Sepulveda, Senior Advisor at Aalto ENT.

Stora Enso, one of the world’s leading providers of renewable solutions in biomaterials, packaging, wooden constructions and paper, takes a visionary step to gain new insight and innovation.

In co-operation with Aalto University Developing Entrepreneurship (Aalto ENT) and Vertical (a globally-renowned startup accelerator), Stora Enso is launching a unique Accelerator Program Digital Solutions that will bring six selected startups under the wing of the forest industry giant.

”It is a pioneer program. In my opinion, nothing like this has ever been done before”, states Fabian Sepulveda, D.Sc., Senior Advisor at Aalto ENT.

”This is an incredible opportunity for the startups and Stora Enso: the startups get the chance to work with a world-class corporation that could become a potential customer or future partner.”

Sepulveda, who is actively involved in the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems in Finland and internationally, will act as one of the lecturers on the program. Aalto ENT will provide a uniquely crafted executive education program to support and deepen co-operation between Stora Enso executives and the participating startups.

”This will not be a typical classroom experience,” promises Sepulveda. ”Startups and Stora Enso executives will sit side by side. Our executive education will be the glue, the harmonizing factor.”

In this triangle, the Accelerator Program Digital Solutions will not only combine startups and Stora Enso. It will also bring together theory and practice, academic knowledge and business know-how.

”This is not only an executive education program or accelerator program. It’s both put together. One benefits the other. We definitively want to achieve and provide a deeper impact”, states Sepulveda.

”This will be much more than a plain vanilla accelerator program.”

The program will combine executive education from Aalto ENT with a 4-month accelerator program facilitated by Vertical. Dedicated resources from Stora Enso will work side by side with each startup team throughout the period.

The search is now on for six participating startups. Sepulveda says the scope of the search is wide: Stora Enso is seeking insights outside its own fields of business.

”They are already experts in their own field. Stora Enso is now looking for startups that approach smart factory, supply chain problems, customer experience, and automation from a different point of view. They are ready to step out of their comfort zone.”

So startups from any industry willing to take on challenges in the renewable materials industry are invited to apply.

”This is a visionary step from Stora Enso’s side,” says Sepulveda.

Obviously, the same bravery and openness are required from the startups. ”The entire program is built on trust.”

Read more about the program and apply »

This is a blogpost by Ville Blåfield / Aalto ENT / Apr 07, 2017

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