Monday, May 16, 2011

Service for the Sea – business idea contest.

A sunny Thursday afternoon, around 20 students came to hear boosting speeches at the global launch event of Service for the Sea –idea contest in Turku, Finland. Before Esko Pettay (Biota Tech & Atmosmare) and Mikko Jokinen (Director of Environmental Affairs at the City of Turku, Chairman of the UBC Commission of Environment) gave their presentations on new solutions on among other things bioenergy and environmental actions of the City of Turku, we enjoyed a broadcasted part from Helsinki, where famous Finnish faces expressed their concern towards our sea and motivated fresh young minds to brainstorm freely towards new sustainable solutions for saving the most polluted sea on earth.

The project has been realized in co-operation between Service for the Sea Ltd and the world’s largest international student association AIESEC in Finland. Raising awareness also elsewhere will happen through a Business Idea –contest, awarding best ideas at the end of the year. Through the AIESEC Work Abroad programme, international trainees have been working on the global Launch and one aim is to bring the contest to their home countries as well and spread the idea around the world. The main goal of the contest is to encourage students and young people to think fresh and believe in even crazy ideas. The Service for the Sea crew will continue developing and supporting entrepreneurial individuals during the year, for example through workshops.

The following day Friday 13th, a workshop was organized for bringing ideas to paper. Few students found courage or willingness to spend Friday afternoon pondering over the problematic of our sea, but the few were diverse. The possible future contest entrants came from Check Republic, Finland, France, China and Poland – we share a common issue. After presentations given by Pasi Aaltonen (Clewer Company) and Janne-Valtteri Nisula (Co-founder Service for the Sea Ltd) free discussion rose and the point standing out was: It is possible – just believe in it!

Awareness raising makes an important part of most project agendas the UBC is responsible of disseminating. Awareness is still not at the level one would hope. We “believe” in environmental thinking and sustainable actions, there are great amounts of projects and initiatives working on that. BUT most of the people don’t know WHAT and WHY certain issues are difficult. Exceeding nitrogen and phosphorus shares in the Sea don’t tell the random Finnish or Polish fellow citizen much; he will probably not start a feisty battle against something he doesn’t understand. I’m confident that his concern is huge, especially if he lives on the coast line of the Baltic Sea. But he thinks he can’t do anything, because he doesn’t know what causes it. And everybody has lost hope already, why should he stress about it?

Every innovation starts from an idea flash in someone’s mind. The playground has been built, support will be provided, now it’s time to get creative and act.
• For the one holding the idea – Let it Lose!
• For the one holding the Resources – Give the fresh Idea a chance!
• It’s time to tackle the untouched Wild West of business – Environmental Business.

Mathias Bergman encourages all actors on different fields to take responsibility and work together for the Baltic Sea. He stresses new innovative thinking.

Anna Stenberg

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