Winners of the Citycontest entrepreneurship contest now declared!
The Citycontest competition, opened in November 2014, came to its culmination. The purpose of the contest was to find innovative startup companies to test their business idea in Citycon’s shopping centres. Originally, only one winner was to be declared, but the ideas were so great that the decision was made to award also the second-best contestant. Both young companies receive a free lease at a Citycon shopping centre for three months, as well as some seed money.
The winning company, Remarket, offers an easy and reliable channel for selling or buying high-quality second-hand clothing in a stylish environment. The company works online and will soon open a brick-and-mortar store in one of Citycon’s shopping centres. The business idea of the young entrepreneurs, siblings Sara and Laura Nyyssölä, and Sara’s fellow student, Marta Jaakkola, started some time ago from their own needs. They participated in Citycontest in the hopes of raising the company to a new level and a new environment. Winning the contest feels fabulous, and the entrepreneurs’ expectations for the shopping centre experiment are high. They hope that many new people find the service and provide lots of feedback. Customer experiences are essential for the further development of their operation.
The runner-up, Spiro, introduces an entirely new type of summer delicacy in Finland, the experiential ice-cream. Milk or juice and the mix-ins are imposingly frozen on a cold pan into ice-cream and formed into a roll. The customer can watch the process and will know exactly what goes into her snack. The young entrepreneurs, Emmi Kuortti and Christa Määttänen, believed in their idea so much that neither of them dared to accept any other summer jobs. The three-month period at a shopping centre will tell how the business can best develop and how it can provide its customers the best possible service in future. The entrepreneurs are setting their sights on expanding Spiro into a Europe-wide chain.
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Citycontest runner-up Spiro offers delicious snacks and a good feeling
The runner-up of Citycontest, the innovative ice cream parlour Spiro, promises its customers an experience. The young entrepreneurs, Emmi Kuortti an Christa Määttänen, had such a strong belief in their endeavour that neither of them dared to accept other summer jobs. Taking the risk paid off. Now they are looking forward to a three-month experiment at the Koskikeskus shopping centre.
- When you participate in a contest, you do it for the win. There’s no point in doing anything unless you do it the best you can, both Emmi Kuortti and Christa Määttänen say. They are looking forward to the most fabulous summer in their lives, a real-life entrepreneur experience. The participation in the contest and using their own networks alone have been a great experience.
-Three months at Koskikeskus will tell us how we can develop further and provide the best possible service for our customers in the future. Our plan is to expand and make Spiro a chain that covers the whole of Europe, the entrepreneurs say.
Both young entrepreneurs study business economics at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. They are in the entrepreneurial training programme in Proakatemia, running their team enterprise Kiivisio. It is a cooperative with 17 members that allows the students to try their skills as entrepreneurs through projects. Emmi Kuortti, 22, describes herself as purpose-oriented and bold. She knows what it is like to be an entrepreneur because her family runs a company. Being an entrepreneur comes naturally also to Christa Määttänen, 25, who says she is easily excited and likes to experiment. These traits were clearly seen in their competition entry. “Spiro caught the jury’s attention not just with the strength of their genuinely interesting product but also with their excellent competition submission and their determined, business-minded attitude,” , says Sanna Yliniemi, Commercial Director, Citycon.
It was not simple to find a suitable business idea. —We had talked a lot about business ideas and searched for suitable ones even with a variety of innovation tools. But it’s like finding a man, you probably won’t find a good one by searching on purpose, the ladies grin. Finally, on New Year’s day 2015, an idea popped up that clicked instantly.
-Purely coincidentally, we talked about a fun cold snack that Emmi had first met in Thailand and Christa in Las Vegas. We thought it was something that we absolutely need to have in Finland, too!
In addition to a great taste experience, Spiro offers the customer a touch of art. Milk or juice and the mix-ins are imposingly frozen on a cold pan into ice-cream and formed into a roll. The customer can watch the process and will know exactly what goes into her snack, assured that no additives or colours slip in. Spiro is a totally new summer thing, the entrepreneurs say emphatically.