On Wednesday night, we kicked off Slush 2019 at Epicenter Helsinki with a great pair of partners, La French Tech and Arctic Startup. Huge thanks to our speakers, everyone who came out to the event, and the Epicenter staff for a lovely evening!
Before two days of Slush excitement (and madness), we brought together people across the European ecosystem to mingle, listen to a few short-but-sweet talks and panels, eat some tasty Nordic bites, and raise a glass.
The evening began with Jean-Eric Paquet, the European Commission’s director-general for research and innovation, who welcomed the crowd and gave some encouraging words about the power and potential of European tech. One of his goals at the Commission is to support entrepreneurs as they scale up from Europe. The new European Innovation Council, currently in pilot mode, is proof that.
The rest of the evening revolved around the topics of sustainability and impact-led businesses, which seem simultaneously trendy and seriously urgent. Our Editor-in-Chief, Robin Wauters, chatted with entrepreneurs and investors about their bold ideas to transform aspects of how we live. Barbara Belvis launched Interstellar Lab to help combat climate change by bringing space science to earth. The technology required to settle human life on the moon or on Mars, where resources would need to be created and recycled, could be used right here on our planet today. Belvis talked us through her plan to create a 100-percent sustainable village, where 100 people could comfortably experience a new way of life. Next came a fireside chat with Valeria Vlasenko of ArcticStartup and Sarah Drinkwater, the Director of Beneficial Technology from Omidyar Network. She helps technologists prevent, mitigate, and correct societal downsides of technology — and maximize positive impact. In her view, the rabid appetite for hyper-growth is not a sustainable business model (for business itself or for the environment), and that we might see it die out in the next ten years.
Finally, a panel of three young entrepreneurs represented the energy and variety of mission-led sustainable tech in Europe.
Marija Rucevska explained the philosophy behind her startup Kora, a new currency that rewards sustainable action and eco-friendly behavior. Her belief is that if we change collectively, and change how society is incentivized, then we can save the environment.
Gaston Gyrst represented EcoTree, a company that allows everyday people to invest in forestry, in tree planting and rehabilitating poorly-kept forests. Investors would own trees and be paid out eventually with logging revenues. The forest ecosystem would be healthier, and protecting the environment would be financially rewarding.
Valentina Milanova Founder, CEO of Daye, explained how her company has developed the first sustainable tampon. Created with cottonized hemp, which is more eco-friendly than actual cotton and contains zero plastic fibre, the Daye tampon is also infused with hemp extract (CBD) to aid pain relief.
Then we all got to hang out, meet, greet, connect, share stories, make plans. Again, thanks to everyone who joined and made it possible, and hope everyone is having a happy Slush 2019.
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