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Slush 2017 Global Impact Community Event participants

Slush is a startup and tech conference organised annually in Helsinki, Finland. Last year Slush took place 30 Nov - 1 Dec 2017. The event which was established in 2008 by a few techies and game producers, has grown to a huge international event, from a small gathering of 300 people.

This was my first experience with Slush. Arriving there was like stepping into the future. There were cool startups and new inventions everywhere you looked. It felt super inspiring and motivating to see what these intelligent and innovative people had come up with, to help other people and the community.

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Paul Bragiel May have come to the public knowledge for most people when he attempted to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics as the sole representative of Columbia in cross country skiing, but where he deserves a gold medal and probably holds a world record is in the global arena of entrepreneurship and venture capital.

He may not have been able to conclude hacking the Winter Olympics, but he sure has succeeded in hacking life itself.

Helsinki Times sat down with Paul after his panel discussion in Arctic15 in Helsinki. Here is the full interview.

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FOR some time we have worried what would happen if prices started to fall, and now we will find out. In December prices fell 0.2 per cent in the euro area. The European Central Bank – the controllers of the money supply – now have to decide what they will do about it.

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THE first half of 2015 may give us a glimpse of the future direction of Europe. We have elections in a struggling state which received a bailout, another which was a reluctant contributor to the bailout, an enthusiastic new entrant to the union and an important country with a history of Euro scepticism. This wide variety of member states will give us an idea which way the political winds are blowing.

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PEOPLE around the world are making (and breaking) their resolutions for the coming year. Yet I believe this annual goal-setting could be taken further and be applied to entire countries. We are set for a parliamentary election this spring, so our new MPs may need some suggested resolutions for the new year.

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IT IS not quite as bad as a dystopian novel, but it doesn't look good. The Bank of Finland's latest economic outlook is notable for its grim bleakness. Yet at the heart of terrible projections is the opportunity for a rebirth for the Finnish economy.

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IN DECEMBER 2012 Shinzo Abe won an election to become prime minister of Japan. He took control of a country in a terrible situation. Over the previous four years, GDP, investment, exports and prices had fallen. He embarked upon Abenomics, a comprehensive program to rejuvenate Japan. Although two years is too short a period for a final judgement, so far it appears to be working. This is good news, because Europe needs a plan, too.

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LAST week OPEC decided not to cut their oil production in order to prop up the sagging price of oil. Predictably, the news of their inaction caused oil prices to fall even farther. While this may be good news for drivers and frequent flyers, it might not be good news for some other sectors of the Finnish economy.

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ANOTHER Slush has come and gone. Slush has become the premier start-up and high-tech event in Northern Europe, drawing entrepreneurs, investors and media from all over the globe. Now that we've managed to catch our breath it's time to look back at the conference.

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DESPITE predictions of economic doom – including occasional ones from myself – Europe's economy continues to grow. In fact, the economic growth figures just released by Eurostat give some more reasons for hope. But there are still a few problem countries, or sick men of Europe, and Finland happens to be one of them.

THE European economy grew at a slow but respectable 1.3% rate in the third quarter. The Eurozone nations lagged behind, as usual, but still grew 0.8%. This isn't much, but growth is growth. There was particular concern about the largest countries, but those worries turned out to be unfounded. Germany grew 1.2% while France, who flatlined in the spring, grew at a 0.4% rate.

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LAST week the leaders of the UK, Baltic and Nordic countries came to Finland for the annual Northern Future Forum. Historically these countries have often had similar goals and stood united on various issues. On this occasion the disagreements were more noticeable.

THE goal of the forum was to have informal discussions about innovative businesses and education reform so there was no hard-headed negotiations or policy discussions. This was lucky, because the divisions among us were clearly visible and I doubt we could have reached a consensus on any tough issue.

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