About one year ago, in September 2012, Business Kitchen opened its doors in the center of Oulu. We asked everyone to join by bringing a cup for drinking coffee or by painting Kitchen Art canvases. We were about to build an entrepreneurship center, which would be a joint effort by the Universities in Oulu; University of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences. The core idea was and is to offer support, space and networking possibilities to all who were developing their ideas and business. From the beginning event on, the idea has been to invite people to make initiatives and take action – we will assist and provide a venue for meetings, events and trainings.
For the university, Business Kitchen has opened a new gateway to interact with companies, other public and private stakeholders and students. The knowhow and networks of the Oulu Business School staff has supported the companies to growth in about 25 different business development cases. For the staff, these collaborations have provided new insights into start-ups and companies growth path. New R & D projects are being initialized, research data has been collected and tens of students have been integrated to take part in the company assignments. Thesis works, traineeships and jobs have emerged while the partnerships have developed. On monthly basis we receive inquiries from companies for suitable students or professionals and I have been happy to add head hunting to my job description!
Through Business Kitchen, the students and staff between the University of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences have grown to know each other and collaborate. Our activities, such as Demola, mix students from both of these organizations, all faculties and 23 nationalities. Already in the first year, 33 companies and organizations have gotten fresh ideas and demos to their assignments seeking new approaches. Overall, the threshold between students and companies has lowered and this can be seen as a great improvement in bringing the university studies closer to working life.
It has been amazing to notice how Business Kitchen has grown into a community over the past year. In practice we work together as equal partners across organizational borders and without too much hierarchy. This has caused that in “Kitchen” terms, our dough has raised so much that it has literally rolled out of the bowl, a long time ago. We have not only grown into upstairs with Business Accelerator, Start-ups, Enterprise Agency, Business Oulu and Venture Capital folks, but also downstairs with Game Lab activities. Our actions have created traction and we hope that in the future even more students, staff and entrepreneurs find their way to the Kitchen. Once we know how to “cook by the book”, we are able to improvise and give space to creativity. That’s the moment where the new stories are created.
Development manager, Business Kitchen
Last updated: 24.10.2013