Aalto Ventures Program is the entrepreneurship education program at Aalto University, where students in multidisciplinary teams work on hands-on exercises. For us, entrepreneurship is a mindset and a tool that helps daring individuals to solve real, meaningful problems either with their own company or from inside an existing organization. We don’t want our students to become tech millionaires. We want them to save the world — and maybe become millionaires doing it.
In 2008, a couple of students started an entrepreneurial revolution in the universities that were soon to become Aalto University.
By the end of 2009, they had founded Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, now just Aaltoes, and Aalto Venture Garage, later to be known as Startup Sauna. However, the revolution was far from over. Entrepreneurial spirit strong among them, the students were wondering why the university didn’t offer proper entrepreneurship education. There were individual courses, some taught by great teachers, but they were separate from each other and reached a small number of students. Something had to be done.
In 2011, Kristo Ovaska and Linda Liukas travelled to Stanford to benchmark entrepreneurship education. What they brought back was inspiration, ideas and Steve Blank. Convinced by Blank and urged by the students, the president of the newly formed Aalto University decided to take action: like Stanford, Aalto would have a ventures program of its own to bring together the entrepreneurship courses, control their quality and offer them as a minor. Together, students and faculty across the university then founded Aalto Ventures Program in 2012.
But enough about the past. Entrepreneurship is about the future, and that’s where our compass points here at AVP. If you have the same direction, you’re welcome to join us on the road.
There has been a lot of talking, but talk isn’t changing anything. It’s time to start doing.
In a world that’s changing faster than ever, no one can predict the future — but we can affect it. The big problems facing our planet today — such as climate change, poverty and inequality — are complex and severe, but they’re not unsolvable. To fight them, we need to work together.
The future — a bright, desirable future — is built together, in communities of collaboration, caring, and love. By building new products, forging connections, dreaming up iconic brands that not only look good but do good. By finding diverse and different people who can work together and become more than a sum of their parts. By learning from the entrepreneurs who have paved the way for the rest of us by doing, not by staying home and talking about it.
Entrepreneurship, real entrepreneurship, isn’t just hand-waving and “pöhinä.” It’s hard work with dozens of skills and thinking tools required to get things done. If you do decide to become an entrepreneur, it will most likely be the hardest job you’ll ever have. It might, however, also be the most meaningful job you’ll ever have. Who knows, it may even be lots of fun. Whatever you decide, learning to think and act like an entrepreneur will make you a champion in any occupation.
Close your eyes for a while. Try to envision something that doesn’t exist, something that cannot be seen. Something that we, the human race, need but can’t even think of yet. It doesn’t exist, but it can be done — by exploring, experimenting, trying, failing, crying and trying again, ending up with something that no one has ever thought of before.
Come work with our teachers and learn what is at the forefront of entrepreneurship in the world today. Come work with our students and learn to lead the way towards a more sustainable, courageous, and caring world.
Come to Aalto Ventures Program to learn how to build like an entrepreneur — and start doing.
Sustainability through entrepreneurship.
We help the Aalto community in creating a sustainable future through entrepreneurship by solving problems related to SDGs.
A sustainable future can only be reached by people who work towards common goals. At Aalto University and AVP, those goals are the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the UN. With shared goals and a shared understanding of what sustainability is, we can make sure we’re all going in the same direction. Only by having a clear vision and working hard can we ensure there is a future we all can and want to live in. And that’s what entrepreneurs excel in.
Responsibility is working with the students, in their best interest, and helping them to achieve their goals in an ethical and sustainable way. It’s holding ourselves accountable and taking ownership of our actions and mistakes. It’s actively considering sustainability and ethical implications in our decision making, and striving towards a future we all want to live in.
Courage is the opposite of being a wimp, and the opposite of being an idiot. It’s going to the edge of the ordinary and then pushing beyond with the full knowledge that we might fail. It’s challenging ourselves and each other to exceed expectations — sensitive to context — and rallying to support each other in times of need.
Collaboration is the team being more than the sum of its parts. It’s the willingness to both work and have fun together, and it shows in our strong team spirit. It’s respecting others, fostering transparency, and enforcing diversity even when there would be an easier path to choose.