I was very happy when reading the post “Walkbase Takes Location Tracking Indoors“ at Arcticstartup as the company has been founded by students from our Department. When I look back at the entrepreneurial climate here in Turku during my 10 year stay here, there has been a huge change in the last 3-4 years. This change has been gradual but can now be clearly identified. Students do not see working for a large company or the state as the only career option. This is in large contrast to my generation, for which getting a job at the state was the best thing, or then you wanted to work for one of the very big state owned companies. Instead young people believe in themselves and their capacity to make it on their own. Other companies that involve current or former students of ours includeTribeflame and Bambuser (which has a nice article in todays Åbo Underrättelser). I have not looked at the statistics from our neighbours University of Turku and Turku University of Applied Sciences, but I would expect that a similar phenomenon could be seen.
Its always difficult to pinpoint one source for the change of the climate but I do believe our project course and the ICT-Showroom event, together with the activities of Boost Turku have had a strong influence. ICT-Showroom is a yearly event where students get to demonstrate their projects, and where the projects are judged by a panel with members from the local industry in Turku. Every year the level of the competition is increasing, and every year at least one project is made into a product and a company is formed.
The challenge for us as faculty is how to support this trend in teaching and other support activities, and how to benefit from it when when developing curricula.