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Aalto University Launches Free-For-All Online Entrepreneurship Course

Starting Up is co-created by students and the European startup community and is a new contribution to open education by the country that brought Elements of AI to the world.

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Aalto University has opened a new, open-access online course covering the fundamentals of startup entrepreneurship today. The course was initiated by student-led startup accelerator Kiuas, and in the spirit of Nordic collaboration, has been designed together with early-stage VC fund Maki.vc, the university’s entrepreneurship education program Aalto Ventures Program, and technology company Reaktor. Starting Up is the university’s way of equipping a wider pool of prospective entrepreneurs with fundamental skills.

‘For the past decade, the startup community has focused on inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Now the message is clear – there’s enough inspiration. Together with the startup community, we want to offer concrete tools that are accessible to anyone, anywhere,’ Aalto University’s Vice President of Education Petri Suomala explains.

Since its establishment in 2010, Aalto University has worked closely with the student-led startup community and has been an advocate for entrepreneurial education. With Starting Up, Aalto University wants to create a course that is open for all and easy to access beyond the Aalto community.

‘We fear that a lot of the basic information on modern entrepreneurship is difficult to find: scattered online or shared within startup and tech circles. By creating this course, we want to make sure that no great idea goes unpursued due to lack of access to basic knowledge. In the 2020s, launching a startup successfully should not be dependent on who you know,' Suomala says.

The course is a new contribution to open education from the country ranked with the world’s best education system. In spring 2018, Reaktor and the University of Helsinki introduced Elements of AI, a free online course covering the fundamentals of AI. Since its launch, nearly 220 000 students from over 110 countries have signed up for the course.

'Our goal is to introduce Starting Up in every country. To achieve this, we’re building a global network of universities, companies, VC funds and other entrepreneurially minded organizations. We’re happy to already have partners such as UC Berkeley, Supercell and Nokia on board,'Lauri Järvilehto, Aalto University’s Professor of Practice and responsible professor for Starting Up Lauri Järvilehto continues.

Contributors include Supercell CEO, Nokia Chairman and Wolt Co-Founder

The team interviewed 15 European entrepreneurs, investors and tech pioneers to form the course material that covers everything from basic terminology to themes like validating a problem and go-to-market strategy. The final course content is the combined work of students, professors, VCs and entrepreneurs – a testament to the Nordic startup ecosystem, which was last year recognised as the world’s most connected and collaborative.

'Competitiveness has been considered a key element in thriving startup ecosystems, yet collaboration has been a crucial success factor in the Nordics. Our hyper-cooperative culture was once again at play when different organizations pulled together for this initiative. I hope that this course serves as a concrete reminder of this for the next generation of entrepreneurs, Josefina Kotilainen from Maki.vc sums.


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