Slush Impact brings the next top world-changing startups to Slush. Impact Accelerator finalists come from emerging markets including Kenya, Jamaica, Nigeria and many more. We joined their sightseeing tour in Helsinki before Slush and heard their thoughts about Finland, Slush and being an impact entrepreneur.
Helsinki is rainy for the first time in weeks. Sunday’s weather is wet and grey, but there is a big group of people who don’t complain. They are 30 world-changing entrepreneurs who are brought to Finland by Slush Impact together with Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and World Bank.
The participants were selected from 770 applicants in 15 hubs all around the world. To give you a hint of the mix of cultures the finalists come from countries like Jamaica, Nigeria, Armenia, Pakistan and Senegal. Some of them visit Europe for the first time to attend Slush.
These startup founders are creating technologies and business models that can change lives of millions in emerging economies. They are here to inspire and get inspired, share learnings with each other and meet key investors and partners at Slush. Welcome to Global Impact Accelerator Program 2015.
On Sunday before Slush the entrepreneurs got a chance to get to know the city on walking tour after three days of workshopping and networking.
Affordable.pk founders stand on Market Square and smile under their umbrella.
“I love grey weather and rain, I love Finland! It is very peaceful and clean.”
The Pakistani peer-to-peer platform has high hopes on finding investment and key partners from Europe.
“We have looked into 6 potential markets in Europe, and Finland is one of them.”
Tomi, the co-founder of a Nigerian “audio Twitter” Orbi wants to bring human connection back to social media. He has realized people lose real connection to one another when communicating with text.
“We want to bring that back”, he says.
When hearing about being selected as a finalist for the Impact Accelerator, he felt ecstatic. For him the best part about the program is to build relationships.
”Everybody wants an investment, but I feel that if you build a relationship with someone, you get more than just capital.”
Sticlab’s founder Paul is traveling outside Africa for the first time. He is impressed by Finns’ respect of order and healthy food culture. “You are very conscious about food. You don’t eat just because you have to but pay attention to what you eat.”
“It’s funny to talk about about product development with someone from Kenya, for instance. You would assume concerns are very different but they are not.”
Orbi can engage illiterate people to social media, New Hope Ecotech gives waste-pickers access to better income.
“Challenges in our societies vary, but the overall goal is the same.”
“I think Slush is the place to get the first connection with people and develop them throughout the next months.”
Vietnamese Traceverified aims to improve food safety. Co-founder Ming wants to get rid off chemicals in food production. She has been to Finland before and wonders why people rush to United States to study.
“Those who come here are very clever. They choose a very good education with smaller fees.”
GEM is a mobile payment system focusing on social and economic development. Founder Camilo is wearing a woolen sweater which must be completely soaked. It does not seem to bother him. Camilo has high expectations for Slush on establishing functional partnerships with investors and institutional partners.
“This is so interesting!”
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