How do you know that you are creating something new?
During my path in life, I have found one common factor that has followed me. It was there when I was a researcher, entrepreneur, project manager in Business Kitchen and it is here now, when I am heading the Tellus Innovation Arena activities.
It is the fact that one must continuously re-define and re-think. What are those words and sentences that I can use to describe as well as possible, what something is?
When we now think of Business Kitchen and how it started about 5 years ago, it was, in the beginning, a joint development project between the University of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Here today there are people, who remember this phase and on the other hand, there are those, who have come to the Business Kitchen for the first time. History can sometimes be a burden, but at the same time it gives us perspective that we have also been here before and handled many kinds of situations.
If we take a brief look backwords, we can see the path of Business Kitchen that has lead us here today. I have myself started as a project manager in the project funded by the European Union Regional Fund, about five years ago. At that time we were thinking together with the universities and the City of Oulu that we would establish Universities’ entrepreneurship center to the city center of Oulu. We were looking for a name to our “child” and after some intensive brainstorming I said the word “Kitchen”. It felt good right away, since it is a word that describes a cozy plaze and many times the best stories are told in kitchen. After being an entrepreneur, I thought that working in kitchen and starting a business of your own, have a lot in common, since in both you combine different ingredients, add spices, mix and finally, clean up the mess to be able to start all over the next day.
Business Kitchen started to develop radiply and we carried out the activities with a true entrepreunial spirit. Oulu was facing the large lay-offs of big corporate and their sub-contractors and thousands of people become unemployed. We felt it in a very concrete way, since we, for example, got the furnitures from the old Nokia premises. There were not only hundreds, but thousands of free desks and chair. Business Kitchen got bigger than one individual project. We all worked together for a joint goal, to create new beginnings to Oulu so that people could stay and would not have to move away for finding new jobs. At that moment we described Business Kitchen as a community for entrepreunially minded people and a hub where you can develop ideas and build networks. Students participated in company projects and got traineeship positions, teams developed their ideas and we all participated in joint events. Many new companies were established and jobs were found. Some people also found love and stayed longer and longer on the orange coaches of the Business Kitchen <3.
During the five years the entrepreneurial orientation at the universities has grown, both in Finland and around the world. The need to support the entrepreunial culture among students and researchers at the university campus, was growing. Moreover, the decicion was made that the Oulu University of Applied Sciences would move to the Linnanmaa campus.
Therefore, the moving van was ordered in the end of 2016 and Business Kitchen has started its activities in two campuses; at the Kotkantie campus of the Oulu University of Applied Sciences and here in Tellus Innovation Arena, at the University of Oulu.
We have experienced that we are facing something new and there comes – again – the need and difficulties to re-define what Business Kitchen is. What is a Business Kitchen that has no one solid location and space? Is our community strong enough to exist without a physical space? Can we handle it that we are in two physical locations? Or did Business Kitchen die already and we just did not notice? When things are not clear, they are unclear. And therefore we know that we are creating something new again.
Business Kitchen has never been about sitting down to a restaurant and being served. Instead, we all make those portions together. Entrepreneurship, startup culture, development of ideas and business models, building teams, working in company projects and finding your place in this world are the key issues at the Business Kitchen. They have stayed, they are also here today, at the Business Kitchen Tellus. Having a physical location for these, helps us to better understand and participate to these activities that might seem sometimes vague and and unclear. Business Kitchen is the umbrella that gathers all entrepreneurial activities and multidisciplinary company projects together. As a student, entrepreneur or company collaborator, you can remember one name, Business Kitchen, where you will find the different possibilities and activities in this field.
With these words, I am pleased to welcome everyone to Business Kitchen Tellus! Do come again!
The text is welcoming words for the opening of Business Kitchen, Tellus by Johanna Bluemink.
Last updated: 17.9.2017