The Investor’s Favourite 2019 Award, announced at the Kasvu Open Carnival on October 25, 2018, provides Finnish SMEs an opportunity to receive a million-euro funding. The award is offered by Innovestor and Nordea and it will be presented, for the very first time, at the Kasvu Open Carnival 2019.
The new Investor’s Favourite 2019 Award was announced on Thursday, October 25, 2018, in connection with the nationwide company growth sparring program Kasvu Open. The winner of the award will be selected from among the companies participating in Kasvu Open 2019. With this award, the Kasvu Open partners Innovestor and Nordea provide Finnish growth companies a concrete way to accelerate their growth plans. The first prize in the Investor’s Favourite 2019 category consists of a funding worth 1,000,000 euros. The amount consists of Innovestor’s equity investment worth 500,000 euros and Nordea’s business growth loan worth 500,000 euros.
“Kasvu Open is attended by interesting companies that have a strong desire and ability to grow their business. Our expertise and networks can provide significant additional value to the companies participating in Kasvu Open. Through our co-investment service, we want to provide other investors the opportunity to support one of the most promising Finnish growth companies as well,” says Tommi Äijälä, the CEO of Innovestor Oy.
Nordea has been Kasvu Open’s main business partner from the start. Nordea has stated that cooperation with Kasvu Open provides a good platform for the company to fulfil their social responsibility. Nordea has supported the growth and business operations of Finnish companies by providing funding, guidance and access to their networks.
“Entrepreneurship and partnership with entrepreneurs are at the heart of our business. That is why it is natural for us to be involved in the granting of the Investor’s Favourite Award. The business growth loan, which is often combined with an equity investment and intended for accelerating business growth, is tailored particularly for more established growth companies,” says Vesa Riihimäki, the Head of Nordea’s Startup and Growth Unit.
Growth plans and the ability to drive business growth as criteria
The Investor’s Favourite 2019 Award may be granted to any company, regardless of their field or growth phase. The companies will be evaluated according to their growth plans, expertise and desire and ability to achieve growth. In order to receive the first prize, the finalist must fulfill the requirements of the investment equity and growth loan terms. At the same event, Kasvu Open announced that the next year’s themes will include business growth funding and equity investment. The goal is to support the growth and internationalisation of companies.
“Over the 5 years of its existence, Kasvu Open has become a significant sparring event for growth-seeking companies. Already approximately 1,652 companies have participated in the free-of-charge program. Next year, in addition to expertise and networks, we will place more emphasis on business growth funding and equity investment. The one-million euro prize provided by Innovestor and Nordea takes us to a whole new level,” says Uljas Valkeinen, the CEO of Kasvu Open Oy.
In summer 2019, 5–10 companies out of 100 finalists will be selected for the Investor’s Favourite coaching program. The program will be organised in early fall 2019, after which the final winner will be selected. No matter who wins, all companies selected for the Investor’s Favourite coaching program will benefit from the advice and ideas provided during the program. The winner of the Investor’s Favourite 2019 Award will be announced at the Kasvu Open Carnival held at the Jyväskylä Pavilion on October 24, 2019.
Tommi Äijälä, CEO, Innovestor Oy, tel. +050 36 41 825, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vesa Riihimäki, Head of the Startup & Growth Unit, Nordea, tel. +358 40 826 2009, email@example.com
Uljas Valkeinen, CEO, Kasvu Open Oy, tel. +358 50 5688 555, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Kasvu Open organises open sparring events to Finnish SMEs of all sizes and ages across Finland. The events are realised as Growth Track® entities. The free-of-charge sparring includes at least ten 45-minute sparring sessions with the experts. In 2018, 411 companies were selected to participate in 26 Kasvu Open Growth Tracks. Kasvu Open has been selected to represent Finland at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In addition, Interreg Europe, a program that promotes good practices, has recognised Kasvu Open as a ‘good practice’ model for supporting small and medium-sized companies.
Kasvu Open’s partners in 2018 include Nordea, Finnvera, Technopolis, Varma, If, Team Finland, BusinessJKL, the Regional Council of Central Finland, Grano, the Municipality of Laukaa, the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers, Jyväskylä Fair Ltd, Jyväs-Caravan, Isku and San Francisco Oy.
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