Hundreds of companies that applied to Kasvu Open increasingly seek growth with new technologies and innovations that address global challenges. Solutions are related to the energy and food industries, circular and sharing economies, tourism, transport, welfare and health care. Overall, the growth plans and goals of the companies become more realistic and deliberate each year, and also more ambitious. Bold growth plans often involve targeting the international market. Companies that have operated in Finland for a longer time search for the next step in new market openings, and more and more start-ups target the global market from the very beginning and do not settle solely for the Finnish market. The companies’ potential for international growth is a major factor when selecting the hundred Kasvu Open finalists and the winner companies of the year. Most of the companies that applied to the competition are ICT and software companies, and companies that offer digital solutions to a wide range of industries, such as energy, transport, tourism, and social and health care. What these companies often have in common is that they offer solutions and services that are life and world saving in nature. Innovations in the field of social and health care include remote monitoring systems, machine vision and learning-based innovations. Environmental and climate-related solutions include new innovations for heat production and, for example, battery manufacturing and recycling.
How do we assess growth potential?
The main focus in Kasvu Open is the growth potential of companies. The national jury assesses growth potential through the following criteria:
1) Business model
3) Market potential
4) Proof and references.
With regard to the business model, the company’s revenue logic, sales, distribution and customer segments are considered; how the company manages its customer base, how sales have been realised and what generates money for the business. In terms of credibility, the jury examines the company’s team, its attitude and management practices; is growth driven by skilled and motivated people, and how they promote their own growth and development. Thirdly, the company’s market potential is considered; is the business scalable and do the company’s growth plans cover the Finnish or global market. Also, what is the competitive situation in the market? Lastly, the jury looks at what the company has achieved so far, what are the proof and references? Does the company already have paying customers, how much is the company’s turnover, or whether a start-up company already has, for example, a functioning prototype and funding? All of the factors mentioned above affect the jury’s decision. Every year, the national jury attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff and select the most potential winners of Kasvu Open.
Kasvu Open and jury procedures
The national jury’s task in Kasvu Open is to go through all the applications submitted to Kasvu Open within the year and select the ultimate winner of Kasvu Open and the honoree company from the Start Again and Start up series. This year, a total of 839 companies applied to Kasvu Open. The applicants are a versatile group of Finnish small and medium-sized companies, including deep-rooted family businesses that have operated for decades, innovative start-up companies, and spin-off companies representing specific entities of larger businesses.
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