The expertise of higher education students to help regional development in Southwest Finland
The aim of the SparkUp Portti project is to promote the competitiveness, growth and internationalisation of entrepreneurs and upcoming and already functioning SMEs in Southwest Finland. To reach this goal, the project productises in a new way the multidisciplinary competence of higher education students as part of the regional enterprise services in Southwest Finland, and thus improves the renown and usability of student cooperation among enterprises.
The six higher education institutions in Turku host approx. 40 000 students, which include approx. 4 000 foreign exchange and degree students from approx. 100 different countries. This group of students forms an innovative, multidisciplinary and international competence potential for the development of the City of Turku and the business life in the region.
A central challenge is that entrepreneurs and SMEs don't know the opportunities of student cooperation and cannot thus benefit the competence of students.
The idea of the project is to join students and enterprises together through open assignment search. With multidisciplinary student teams, 40 customer projects will be implemented in the fields of marketing, especially benefiting social media, environmental business and resource efficiency, and in benefiting information technology and systems.
The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council has granted support for the project from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and it is implemented 1 January 2015 – 31 December 2016. The project is coordinated by Brahea Development at the Brahea Centre at the University of Turku and the cooperation partners are Humak University of Applied Sciences, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku Science Park Oy and the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku.