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Slated to launch for the first time at the turn of October, the Seed Village pilot program will help health and wellness companies and educational institutions build partnerships for product development. Kasvu Open, the operator of the program, has a long experience of the opportunities offered by the industry and the challenges companies are facing.

Leena Räisänen, Development Director of Kasvu Open, has been following the development of the welfare industry for about ten years.
– Digitalization is continuously revolutionizing and renewing the possibilities of healthcare: new actors and innovations are constantly emerging. People are increasingly interested in their own wellbeing and improving it. There is a huge global market potential, she says.
Kasvu Open has been sparring health and wellness companies for several years in its own Future Health and Wellbeing, and Digital Health growth track programs. Learning and data have accumulated from many perspectives.
– There are really a lot of small companies in the industry at the moment, focusing on specific individual issues, Räisänen explains.
– For this reason, building the right cooperation network can be really important for success. We have a good understanding of exactly where wellbeing and health companies can find the right partners and experts, and with whom to take their own business forward. We have data and contacts that are useful for companies participating in the Seed Village accelerator, Räisänen promises.

It takes time to build credibility

According to Räisänen, one of the biggest challenges in the industry is achieving credibility.
– A health and wellbeing company cannot market a product or service by the seat of its pants. Marketing must be based on scientifically researched and verified information. Businesses need a network of experts, support, and funding, she says.
Credibility requires a long-term focus, which in turn requires the trust of investors.
– Investors are interested in the industry. On the other hand, there are a lot of companies – who manages to get the research base and solutions up and running, and sales working, quickly enough? Building a successful product is not easy because the laws of business are the same as in other industries: you need know-how and money.
– Most new companies are born global – and so they must be, because, for example, with services aimed at large healthcare organizations, the limits of growth are quickly met in Finland. If we talk about technological solutions, the potential for scaling is huge.
– The healthcare sector is also strictly regulated, especially in Finland. If you successfully test your product or service here, success elsewhere can be even easier, Räisänen says.

Development Director Leena Räisänen, Kasvu Open.

The key is to find the right partners

Seed Village is a two-and-a-half-month pilot program that helps selected wellness and health companies and educational experts find each other. The actual product development and cooperation only begin after the program.
– Two and a half months is a short time. The main goal is to ensure that cooperation can continue to work seamlessly.
– On the other hand, during the program we also help educational institutions and experts to clarify what they can offer companies. That is, to productize, concretize, and articulate their own skills.
Räisänen reminds that Seed Village offers companies the opportunity to stop to evaluate their growth plans and goals and to clarify them with experts.
– Stopping and interacting with an outsider is always valuable and necessary. It’s inspiring to test if I can justify this thing to someone else and if they buy my idea. And at the same time – can they offer me solutions.

Seed Village in a nutshell

  • Pilot program for health and wellness companies
  • The program is nationwide and 100% digital
  • 10 companies will be selected; applications to be sent by September 17
  • The program includes an open environment in Howspace where anyone interested is welcome
  • Separate sparring on innovation and funding will be provided to those selected for the program
  • The program is organized by Business Jyväskylä, the University of Jyväskylä and JAMK University of Applied Sciences
  • Kasvu Open acts as the operator of the pilot. Other partners involved are The Startup Factory incubator, Digi & Game Center and Howspace

Read more about Seed Village Accelerator Program and send your application on Seed Village Growth Accelerator Program – APPLY NOW (kasvuopen.fi)