Fulltime HEL: Episode 8 - AaltoES

Fulltime HEL: Episode 8 - AaltoES

The world is full of secret and not-so secret societies. Some are said to rule the world with nefarious intentions, others well… Finland even has it’s own societies though they’re not so secret. And I’m not talking about the Finland Swedes.

I’m talking about AaltoES or Aalto Entrepreneurship Society.

Welcome to episode 8 of Fulltime HEL, the podcast about startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers and co-working spaces in Helsinki, Finland. I’m your host Gregory Pellechi.

On this episode, AaltoES and Hack Junction.

Julius Hietala — President of AaltoES

Julius Hietala — President of AaltoES

There’s a singular entity in Helsinki that all students, startups and entrepreneurs seem to move through or around. That’s AaltoES. You can’t go to an event or speak to a board without at least one member these days having been somehow associated with AaltoES.

Before I go further, I should apologize. I interviewed some of the AaltoES team in a number of noisy places. So I’m sorry for the amount of background noise there is when Julius and Kenneth are speaking. And now on with the episode.

New to the scene but already intimately involved. Sounds familiar. Kenneth, who you heard from at the beginning of the interview is also part of the AaltoES team, he’s the vice president and a student at Aalto University as well.

They may be young, they may still be students, but they’re in charge of running one of the most vital entities in Finland’s startup ecosystem. That entity though is more than just the society. It’s four vital aspects of what makes Helsinki such a hotbed of activity.

As a quick recap there’s Startup Sauna the coworking space and the accelerator. Summer of Startups the incubator. Startup Life the internship program, which Kenneth took part in, and Slush the world-renown conference.

Kenneth Blomqvist — Vice President of AaltoES

Kenneth Blomqvist — Vice President of AaltoES

Getting people involved, getting them excited about startups, about entrepreneurship, about solving problems is a large part of what AaltoES is about. Which is why Julius, Kenneth and the team launched two new initiatives this year.

I went to FallUp and it was definitely about promoting entrepreneurship. It was a fun event in a great location. The music hall in Helsinki is a really unique space so props to AaltoES for securing that site. But what I’m really looking forward to is Hack Junction.

It’ll be my first hackathon, but since I’m learning Python I hope I can contribute at least some coding. At the very least I’ll learn a lot, gain some connections and have a good time.

It’s a lot to take on, the hackathon, the accelerator, the incubator, the conference and the coworking space. But AaltoES is doing it all and more. What makes it really amazing, is it’s done by a student run society and yet all of this isn’t just for students.

So if you’re new, like me, and looking for a way to get into Helsinki’s startup scene because you’re simply interested, have your own startup or are looking to get involved with one then either join Aalto Entrepreneurship Society or attend one of its many events. To find out more visit aaltoes.com. For info and tickets to Slush visit slush.org.

On the next episode of Fulltime HEL, Leeluu Labs and the night lights of the future.

Fulltime HEL was produced by me, Gregory Pellechi. Music is courtesy of Chris Zabriskie.

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