Winners of the Citycontest entrepreneurship contest now declared!

Citycontest

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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Sulje

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.

Sulje

Citycontest winner Remarket combines style with responsibility

Remarket offers an easy and reliable channel for selling or buying high-quality second-hand clothing in a stylish environment. The business idea of the young entrepreneurs, siblings Sara and Laura Nyyssölä, and Sara’s fellow student, Marta Jaakkola, started some time ago based on their own needs. They participated in Citycontest in the hopes of raising the company to a new level and a new environment.

The specialisations of the three young entrepreneurs support one another. Laura Nyyssölä, 26, has studied marketing, which is also the largest part of her present job. Sara Nyyssölä, 24, has studied international business and fashion marketing, and her responsibilities include things such as the product assortment and webpage maintenance. Marta Jaakkola, 25, is also an expert in international business, and her present role is to “keep everything together” and be responsible for customer service. The three young ladies share an uncompromising attitude toward work, a wish to try new things and similar values as far as sustainable development goes. Laura Nyyssölä describe the trio’s common entrepreneurial character in the words Creativity Meets Business.

-We have many other business ideas, but we decided to participate in Citycon’s contest with an idea that combines the digital world and a physical store environment. Our product is high-quality second-hand clothing, which we sell online ourselves, and now also in the physical store made available by Citycon, Ms Nyyssölä says about Remarket.

-We missed a service like this ourselves, but no website existed that was sufficiently stylish and reliable, which we felt was quite illogical. That’s why we decided to set one up ourselves.

The entrepreneurs started the WST.fi online store as early as November 2013. Remarket expands the business idea into a shopping centre. -In a shopping centre, the operation can come out of the margins. When you combine it with online presence, we have an opportunity to do really big things, Ms Nyyssölä enthuses. She adds that there are still many big sustainability issues within the fashion and clothing industry, which are close to impossible to change at an individual level.

Working as a company, however, allows you to change the system from within through its own operation and be an example to others. -It feels really good that Citycon has the courage to look into the future and be a pioneer for this issue, Ms Nyyssölä says. Jussi Vyyryläinen, Citycon’s Leasing Director, justifies the selection of the winner using the same points: - “The winning pitch brilliantly brings together online sales and a more traditional retail environment, combining them with recycling, which is a strong trend in Finland and internationally right now. I believe this team will add something new and exciting to our shopping centres,” Citycon Leasing Director Jussi Vyyryläinen commented.

Of course, it feels good to win the contest. -I think I let out a small cry on the telephone when I heard about it. We celebrated the occasion with hamburgers and bubbly among the team, Laura Nyyssönen says. Expectations for the three-month experiment at a shopping centre are high. The entrepreneurs hope that many new people find the service and provide lots of feedback. Customer experiences are essential for the further development of their operation.