Marika Paakkala, Director of Aalto Startup Center, received today an honorable mention at the UBI Global ceremony in Dubai. The distinction was handed by Nadimeh Mehra, Vice President of District 2020.

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Finland’s Aalto University Startup Center has received an honorable mention for its success of adapting key operations to be applicable amidst the global pandemic. Aalto Startup Center’s recognition is based on excellence among business incubators and accelerators participating in the Triumph of Innovation impact study which examines the impact of the pandemic, and social and governance initiatives, on innovators in the global business community.

Aalto was cited as an honorable mention for its success among study participants from over 45 countries including some of the world’s leading business incubators and accelerators.

At an event held in Dubai to launch the new innovation impact report by UBI Global, in partnership with District 2020, Aalto Startup Center, which assists innovative startups and the university-based research teams to become startups by commercializing research, received an honorable mention in recognition of the ways in which it has flexibly streamlined its ways of working shortly after the pandemic began to “the new normal” and adapted services on offer for client startups.

These key revisions include conducting an internal survey to client startups in order to investigate their operational and support needs due to Covid, creating a Digital Community environment for startups and staff to continue their operations, continuing 1-on-1 coaching online as well as hosting workshops through e-learning, conducting startups’ status check-ups online with the contribution of the whole staff team and also offering a period of 4 months free office access to startups that wish to meet up safely. Also praised was Aalto Startup Center’s active approach to joining networks of other universities, such as UNITE! Partners (University Network for Innovation, Technology, and Engineering) and startups’ ecosystems for their mutual benefit, by creating new networking opportunities such as EIT Urban Mobility Northern Accelerator, Korean Startup Center and Urban Tech Helsinki programs.

“At the beginning of 2020 when the pandemic hit hard, we were already benefiting from Aalto Univerity’s new strategy on sustainable solutions and digitalization, therefore were able to switch our operation into the digital channels speedily. The prompt transition to online working is a very good example of our agile work capabilities. Our success has very much to do with our entrepreneurial approach, where we constantly are aware and react on changes affecting our entrepreneurial activities and business areas”, says Marika Paakkala, Head of Aalto Startup Center.

Paakkala says going virtual didn’t actually stop from bringing new partners with innovative and international projects and clients within Aalto Startup Center.
Bringing together contributions and success stories from organizations across more than 45 countries, the study was fittingly launched at the World Expo currently underway in Dubai.

Ali Amin, Founder, and CEO of UBI Global commented, “Recognizing globally outstanding performance among business incubators and accelerators isn’t new to UBI Global, but the pandemic presented its own set of challenges and opportunities for our member organizations. Aalto University Startup Center impressed the research team with its innovative approach to success during a global pandemic. It is our pleasure to recognize Aalto’s honorable mention of achievements during a very challenging year.”

Also announced at the event was the next World Incubation Summit, set to be held at District 2020 in 2022 following its transition and launch as a vibrant community that will evolve from Expo 2020 Dubai.  The World Incubation Summit will bring together over 500 attendees across global business programs and corporate investors to take part in a rich lineup of workshops, networking, tours, pitches, a Gala Night, and an award ceremony recognizing the World Rankings Report’s findings on the world’s number one and top-ranked business incubators and accelerators. The sixth iteration of the World Benchmark Study, conducted by UBI Global, yields the rankings, which are considered the highest honor among the global innovation community.

In the previous iteration of the World Rankings Report, Aalto University Startup Center was recognized among the world’s top five university-led business accelerator programs.

Source: Aalto Startup Centre

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