Aalto Ventures Program is the entrepreneurship education program at Aalto University. At AVP, students work in multidisciplinary teams, do hands-on exercises and gain tools of mass disruption, ready to be used either to construct a startup or to renovate an existing company from within.
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 changes faster every day, the best way to predict the future is to build it yourself. In our experience, the best builders are entrepreneurs and those who think and work like entrepreneurs. People who embark on adventures and boldly go where no-one has gone before. People who do instead of staying home and talking about it.
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. 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, 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 in the forefront of entrepreneurship in the world today. Come work with our students and learn to lead the way towards a more courageous and caring world.
Come to Aalto Ventures Program to learn how to build like an entrepreneur—and start doing.
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 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.