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Opening a Startup High School in Finland

Opening a Startup High School in Finland

There are several program-specific high schools in Finland which specialize in subjects such as visual arts, music, sports and drama. During the course of Fall 2017 a new high school will be established specializing in startup culture. The founders of the idea consist of the founders of startup event Slush, HundrED and educational provider Otava Academy.

“Regardless of the name, the main focus of the high school is not only in the startup culture. It’s more about wanting to evoke the interest of students and giving them the opportunity of doings great things within a variety of fields. It can be charity, science or art, you name it,” explains Marianne Vikkula, the CEO of Slush.

One interesting feature of Startup High School is that it isn’t an actual physical building that you attend lectures at. All of the teaching will take place either online or in different learning environments beyond the school gates.

“Our goal is that every Finnish high school could become a Startup High School in the future. We want every student to be able to attend the lectures at Startup High School despite their physical location,” says Saku Tuominen, the Creative Director of HundrED.

In the beginning the high school’s syllabuses will consist of three courses. All of the syllabuses will incorporate the theory and fundamentals of entrepreneurship, different kinds of creative thinking and problem-solving tasks and practices. The principal of the high school is Pekka Peura, a widely respected teacher in Finland. In addition, two online pedagogy experts, Iida-Maria Peltomaa and Aki Luostarinen from Otava Academy, will help Mr. Peura in building the concept of the school beyond boundaries.

“We decided to start off with three courses because we want to guarantee high-level quality teaching for our students. The plan is to add more courses to the syllabuses in the future,” Pekka Peura clarifies.

The following experts of startup culture have already agreed to give keynote speeches at Startup High School: Marianne Vikkula from Slush, Miki Kuusi from Wolt, Tuuli Kaskinen from Demos, Ilkka Paananen from Supercell, Linda Liukas from Hello Ruby, the CEO of Helsinki Design Week Kari Korkman and the founder of Sudden Coffee Kalle Freese. Keynote speeches will also be given by show business experts Jukka Hildén and Jarno Laasala from the Dudesons and Arman Alizad. The expertise of music business will be shared by the rappers Jare and Ville Galle from the rap duo JVG.

“We wanted to bring in people with a rigorous knowledge of the startup culture but it is equally important to us that all of the teaching is based on a strong pedagogical background,” Iida-Maria Peltomaa explains.

Startup High School will be launched with a pilot experiment in Fall 2017. Ten high schools and 100 students will be selected as part of the pilot experiment but the plan is to get every Finnish high school to become a Startup High School in future.

The project is non-profit and the implementation of the pilot experiment has been enabled by our partners OP and Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation.

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