Foxes Spotted at Startup Sauna

Do you know what an accelerator is? Something speeding things up, sure, but who are they really for, and what happens in one? International Fox Agency tried one in the autumn of 2018. And it put a real big grin on each fox’s face!


Sometime last autumn Kirsi heard about something called Kiuas Start (Pre-)Accelerator. We knew that there were some accelerators in Finland and that they were intense workshops for tech ideas, but that’s about it. After a discussion with a more experienced person on our grand plan for IFA, we thought it might be worthwhile to try this accelerator thing ourselves too. The only challenge was to get into one of them. Luckily Kiuas Start’s application period was still ongoing, so we did what anyone does on a Saturday night over a glass of wine and applied for it.

To our positive surprise, we got into the interview! In the interview, we got excited about our grand plan, as we always do, and that might have just been the thing to get us in. Since we did get in, and suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of the startup hustle and bustle, tech talk and business hype. Our backgrounds seemed somewhat different to many of the other participants but luckily we don’t lack courage, and bravely went where few MA’s have gone before.

Again, to our positive surprise and encouragement, we found a lot of like-minded people at Kiuas Start. All of us participants were there to realise some goal. Many of us had a product to develop and the three-week programme certainly made all our plans go forward leaps and bounds. We went through the whole process of product development and got lots of useful feedback from our peers. We gained a lot of experience and valuable tips from mentors such as Pia Erkinheimo, Tomi Kaukinen, Risto Siilasmaa and Jari Jaanto.  Every session gave food for thought and practical ideas for service development.

Kiuas hommia_2

Photo: Matti Lehti gives Tanja valuable tips on website building.

The whole programme was very well structured. The three weeks were intense, full of talks, interactive sessions, workshops, even a hackathon, and of course, fun times. The organisers put in a lot of effort and facilitated a great programme for all of us. And we were all expected to deliver. too All participants were expected to come to the weekly meetings and all other sessions, deliver on their weekly goals, present their products and much more. The group was really supportive and our time together was very well spent.  We want to thank everyone in the program again for everything, the support, the cheer and the spirit.

It was a great privilege for us to participate in this program and we truly appreciate having this opportunity. We made many good connections and continue to keep in touch with our peers and mentors. In addition to learning more about business, strategy and our products, networking was the greatest advantage for us. We also had a private plan of using our own networks to help others and were happy to share some connections with 2/3 of the teams.

Junction guys_2

Photo: Networking with Hack Junction’s Aleksi and Iiro

We wanted to share our experience at Kiuas Start Accelerator to encourage others to join too. If you have an idea about a service/product etc. and you find a suitable accelerator in your area, try it! It might be just the boost you need to get started! It’ll definitely give you confidence, great networks and good experiences to build on.

The application period for the next Kiuas Start is now open. Check out what’s in store and apply here. And if you want to hear more about our experiences, just send us a message (contact details here).

Oh, and our service that we wanted to develop? Well it’s just about ready, so keep watching this space. 😉

All the best,

Kirsi & Tanja

your partners in internationalisation


About Kirsi Korhonen

Internationalist by heart and profession. Owner and founder of International Fox Agency

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