The Young Researcher Entrepreneur of the Year award can be awarded to a full-time entrepreneur under the age of 40 who has a new research-based business idea. The business must be in its start-up phase (less than five years of activity and a turnover of less than 10 million euros) and must employ at least one person in addition to the owner. Nominations for the 2020 prize can be submitted by any interested person or entity. The winner of the award will be chosen by a jury consisting of three members: Mikael Pentikäinen, president and CEO of Suomen Yrittäjät, Timo Saranpää, chairman of the Finnish Business School Graduates, and Virpi Muhonen, PhD, founder and CEO of Askel Healthcare Oy and the 2017 winner of the award.
“With the award, we want to encourage young researchers to pursue entrepreneurial careers. Entrepreneurship is an effective way to apply research results for the benefit of society as a whole. At the same time, new jobs will be created,” says Tuomas Olkku, executive director at KAUTE.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises play a significant role in maintaining the Finnish welfare society. This award acknowledges companies and entrepreneurs who have successfully put their research into practice and are solving global challenges while creating new growth in Finland,” says Timo Saranpää, chairman of both the Finnish Business School Graduates and AKY – Akavalaiset Yrittäjät.
The KAUTE Foundation, which supports research in economics and technical sciences, has awarded the Young Researcher Entrepreneur of the Year award since 2013. Last year, the award was won by computational technology researcher Jere Heikkinen, who with his company Finnos aims to modernize the Finnish sawmill industry with artificial intelligence. In 2018, the award was given to Kunal Garg, a doctoral student in cell and molecular biology, who introduced a new way to diagnose tick-borne diseases with his company Tezted.
Nominations for the Young Research Entrepreneur of 2020 can be submitted until 31.12.2020. The winner will be announced in early spring 2021.